Two activities are predominant in childhood. 1) Sleep 2) Play
->Early admission to school (Systemic methodical learning) compromises both.
->Early exposure to TV/Mobile/Screen entertainment compromises both.
->Nuclear family setup (living alone,away from larger family) compromises second.
->Early exposure to talent race (Acting competition, Dancing competition, Memory competition etc) compromises second.
Sleeping and Playing both activates same area of brain. This area is responsible for dynamically stabilizing body and social development. Neurons associated with each other in more complex manner if children spend their time in Sleep and Play more than any other activity. More complex neurons, better ground for adult skills like decision power, creativity, risk taking ability etc.
Btw, majority adults behave childishly because they too are deprived of sleep and play 😉
Age 21 is the pinnacle age as far as our physiological development is concerned. From 21, biological downfall starts, slowly, unnoticed. (Ayurveda prescribed that children should not get involved in heavy endurance exercises. Let them play. There is a correlation. Just a hint. Separate topic) Downfall becomes rapid when you cross 30. More rapid when you cross 40. By the time you reach 50, you start feeling the ‘retiring’ feeling.
21 – This is the time when one should start paying attention to maintain equilibrium of the body balanced food, sleep and exercise. If you are in 30s, still there is a chance, start exercise! Running, swimming, real sports (Not cricket but basketball, football, hockey for 30 minutes at least), hiking, climbing, digging!
Exercise, plays vital role. Especially endurance exercise. Exercise, especially endurance exercise, is known to have beneficial effects on brain health and cognitive function. This improvement in cognitive function with exercise has been most prominently observed in the aging population. Exercise has also been reported to ameliorate outcomes in neurological diseases like depression, epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
As per this research  , endurance exercise induces FNDC5, a muscle protein. This induced protein helps inducing Bdnf (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a secreted protein, a growth factor. BDNF activity is correlated with increased long term potentiation and neurogenesis, which can be induced by physical activity. Long term potentiation is shown to improve learning and memory by strengthening the communication between specific neurons.
If you do not want your brain cells (neurons) to die prematurely, If you have started feeling midlife crisis, started forgetting things; Exercise is your ultimate solution.
Animals that play a lot quickly learn how to navigate the world and adapt it. In short, they are smarter.
Jaak Panksepp (June 5, 1943 – April 18, 2017) was an Estonian-American neuroscientist and psychobiologist who coined the term “affective neuroscience”, the name for the field that studies the neural mechanisms of emotion.
His research suggests that active play selectively stimulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which stimulates nerve growth) in the amygdala (where emotions get processed) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (where executive decisions are processed).
Teens are under depression and committing suicide not because of some game but due to lack of social interaction and play time. And even if teens are engaged in play, they deprive sleep due to excessive screen addiction. Effect of play is nullified due to lack of sleep. If you play, you need sleep (or rather rest). Ever exciting nervous system surrenders and body succumb to unforeseen mental disorders.
Can PLAY Diminish ADHD and Facilitate the Construction of the Social Brain?
The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) has been increasing at an alarming rate, paralleled by the prescription of highly effective psychostimulants whose developmental effects on growing brains remain inadequately characterized. One reason for the increasing incidence of ADHD may be the diminishing availability of opportunities for pre-school children to engage in natural self-generated social play. Pre-clinical work indicates that play can facilitate behavioral inhibition in growing animals, while psychostimulants reduce playfulness. The idea that intensive social play interventions, throughout early childhood, may alleviate ADHD symptoms remains to be evaluated. As an alternative to the use of play-reducing psychostimulants, society could establish play “sanctuaries” for at-risk children in order to facilitate frontal lobe maturation and the healthy development of pro-social minds.
Socially-induced brain ‘fertilization’: play promotes brain derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex in juvenile rats.
Rough and tumble (R&T) play is assumed to have beneficial effects in developing organisms. To evaluate this idea, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression was evaluated in 32-day-old juvenile rats that were allowed to play for 30 min prior to sacrifice. In situ hybridization for BDNF mRNA revealed that the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex had significantly elevated BDNF mRNA expression as a result of play. These effects suggest that play may help program higher brain regions involved in emotional behaviors.
Exercise Induces Hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 Pathway
Exercise can improve cognitive function and has been linked to the increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms driving the elevation of this neurotrophin remain unknown. Here we show that FNDC5, a previously identified muscle protein that is induced in exercise and is cleaved and secreted as irisin, is also elevated by endurance exercise in the hippocampus of mice. Neuronal Fndc5 gene expression is regulated by PGC-1α, and Pgc1a−/− mice show reduced Fndc5expression in the brain. Forced expression of FNDC5 in primary cortical neurons increases Bdnf expression, whereas RNAi-mediated knockdown of FNDC5 reduces Bdnf. Importantly, peripheral delivery of FNDC5 to the liver via adenoviral vectors, resulting in elevated blood irisin, induces expression of Bdnf and other neuroprotective genes in the hippocampus. Taken together, our findings link endurance exercise and the important metabolic mediators, PGC-1α and FNDC5, with BDNF expression in the brain.