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5 Health Benefits of Play

Get out there and grab some play time this weekend…

TIME

If you think the benefits of playtime ended shortly after you learned how to tie your shoes, it may be time to channel your inner kindergartner. Playing can improve your health, happiness, and productivity. Here’s why:

Laughter can bust stress.

A good chuckle can lower stress levels, science suggests. In one study, some participants watched funny videos, while others sat quietly. Those who watched the videos had better recall (hello, improved memory!) and showed lower levels of cortisol, the hormone connected with stress. Stress can damage your body by causing all kinds of problems including headaches, anxiety, and sleep problems. In other words, the physical and mental benefits of laughter are no joke.

Play can help your brain grow.

Even well into adulthood, easy memory games may help stimulate brain growth. Learning new names for colors was linked to increased gray matter in the brain, according to one recent

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