• Play brings us joy and happiness, which in turn is related to longer life. In fact, the U.S. National Library for Medicine reports that the risk of death is 14% higher for those who are not happy (Source: ”Happiness and Longevity in the United States,” E. Lawrence, R. Rodgers, T. Wadsworth, The National Center for Biotechnology Information, Sep 18, 2015, 2018). So, a little happy playtime is starting to look pretty good.

We’re all bound to encounter challenging days at work or some burdensome setback at home. But playfulness can build up our resilience over time, which becomes a bank of resiliency we can draw on in the future to offset the inevitable stressors in life. “Without intentional efforts to play, our busy adult brains would no longer have the time nor white space to get into the mode where they work best,” Hall says.

If you’re surprised by the power of play, well, same here. We used to think healthy aging required a focus on diet and exercise. Of course, taking care of our bodies still matters a lot. Plus, we now know that purpose plays a role, too—pursuing meaningful goals that can keep our minds healthy.

But now we’ve found that play is also crucial. It can facilitate happiness, ward off depression, reduce stress and lower our risk of developing age-related diseases, including dementia (Source: “Participating in Activities You Enjoy,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Oct. 23, 2017).  

Suddenly, a game of Marco, Polo in the pool with the kids makes more sense than getting bent out of shape over some dead grass in the yard.

Fact is, our Play is serious business. And it has now become more important to those planning for and living in retirement. With that, it may be time to build a whole new kind of playbook for your book of business. You won’t want to be the last one in the pool.

Dan Starishevsky is senior vice president of distribution and advisory marketing at Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

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