As we age, most of us slow down a bit to protect ourselves from injury. Turns out, that may be the opposite of what we should be doing.

Danielle Johnson is a wellness physical therapist with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and said, “We lose the ability to stabilize our core in diagonal and rotational planes, which has big effects on our risk of injury, back injury, hip injury, neck injuries.”

She tells patients to picture a baby who is just learning to crawl. Then asks how many of them are still

able to get on the floor and crawl, even though their bodies were made for such movements.

Johnson says reteaching our bodies to move like children can actually protect us from serious injuries. And one of the best ways to move like kids, she says, is to play. “So things like hanging, jumping, crawling, running, playing actually can be a very fundamental way of move where we’re really incorporating all different elements of movement, from balancing to efficiency of movement, to knowing how to sequence and time a jump,” she explained.

Johnson encourages people to make up games like tossing balls while balancing on beams and constantly moving. She says the fun and laughter, along with the movement, can improve your

health just as much as trudging along on a treadmill.