12:07 25 June 2010
Nearly half of adults are putting their happiness and success at risk by missing out on play time, new research has revealed.
No longer just for kids, the importance of play is increasingly being recognised as an important "pressure valve" for adults, whether in the workplace or at home.
According to the findings, many people feel they are too busy to play, often blaming work getting in the way (19%) or family commitments (23%).
With many of us living the life of all work and no play, one in 12 (8%) of the pollsters admitted they hadn't played a game in over a year, whether with friends, a partner or even their children.
As well as work being the reason for holding us back letting out or inner child, many blamed a lack of energy, not being able to think of what to play or having nowhere to play.
A further 74% of people never play team sports and almost one fifth (18%) of the said they have nobody to play with.
It's not just the experts who see the value of play. The research, which was commissioned by London 2012 sponsors Cadbury, shows over two thirds of people describe play as important.
Despite this, it seems to be something that is falling by the wayside in our hectic lives.
And of those who have played a game in the last year, 30% showed a competitive streak, playing hard to try and win
When asked what their favourite childhood game was, football was one of the most mentioned, followed by Monopoly.
A further quarter of us are quiz lovers, preferring to play them over board games (12%) or computer games (19%).
But if games are just for kids then what is the true value of game time? And how can we find time to cram some games into our busy lives?
Founder of the National Institute for Play and the author of the report, Dr Stuart Brown, advises that not finding time for play poses risks to happiness and success:
"Play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve, and more.
"It is through play that we learn how to resolve conflict and create community. Play is hardwired into our brainsit is the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people.
"With advice and support employers can integrate play into their work environments and benefit not only society but also their profit margin."
So whether it's rolling down a hill, playing a game of tennis or saving the planet from aliens (on the computer of course), let down your hair and have some harmless fun to turn back the clock, boost your health and keep the smile on your face!
To get the British nation playing more games, official treat provider for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics Cadbury has created a series of games for you to enjoy.
But first you have to pick a side, Spots or Stripes. Any game counts, from thumb wrestling to 50-a-side footy.
To join the fun, visit: www.spotsvstripes.com
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