4 Ways to Get More Play in Your Day

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Your coworker tosses a football in his cubicle while reviewing reports. At the midday meeting your boss shows a clip of a friend wakeboarding. And during your commute, you daydream about pulling your bike out of the garage.

But getting more outdoor recreation in your life shouldn’t be a seemingly impossible dream. According to BYU recreation management professor Patti Freeman, adding more play to your day boils down to four simple guidelines. So put down the iPad, forget about your busy schedule, and get moving.

Protect time for play.

Time is one of our most precious resources. But we shouldn’t be so quick to exaggerate how little time we have available for play. “Simply put, we need to make [recreation] a priority and protect time for it. If we believe it matters, we will do it,” Freeman says.

Minimize distractions from media and technology.

We need to fill time with meaningful interactions and that often can’t happen when we are distracted. “It is easy to use TV and movies as a crutch when children need something to do. For example, movies while riding in vehicles provide the illusion that we all love traveling in a car,” Freeman says. “But movies (or earbuds) replace real communication requiring listening and responding, the opportunity for ingenuity, and the chance to learn to get along.”

Think of recreation as a state of mind.

Recreation is much more than physical activity; it is a way to help us connect to the world. On days when Freeman gets home and feels stressed, she walks down her driveway to rub her horses. “I take a few deep breathes, often express thanks to my Father in Heaven for this beautiful world and truly feel rejuvenated by those short moments,” Freeman says.

Simplify your life.

A life less cluttered with material goods can help us focus on recreation. While visiting Ghana to adopt their boys, Freeman and her husband saw happy children playing soccer on an uneven field. To those children, happiness was not found in a perfect pitch but in the game itself. “A simpler, less hectic, less material-based life will not leave us feeling less happy or less fulfilled,” Freeman says. “As we simplify, there will be more time and money for things that matter most.”

Read more in “Recreation and the Things that Matter Most” from the Winter 2013 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine.