(and Why It’s Important…)
Written by Annette Rose
It’s no secret that in 2019 we are all trying to fit more in – technology has given rise to an era of ‘always on’ affecting us and our families in ways that are not all positive.
I can work from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed courtesy of Steve Jobs and some days I fear that evolution will affect our kids in a single generation - giving rise to a new breed of humans, hunchbacks that cannot stand daylight and have hyper-extended thumbs for scrolling!
We all see the memes on Facebook about how back in our day (I’m 45!) we were kicked out by our parents to play outside all day – only returning home at dark for dinner. Outdoor play was everything when we were kids with no other entertainment really offered other than a book, a board game or the occasional family program (as an Aussie that was usually Cricket or the iconic Home & Away).
There really was no other choice – our parents didn’t have the same challenge to try and find ways to tear us away from technology and get us out doing something healthy and just as importantly, together.
At this point I could get technical about why exercise, fresh air and the occasional ray of sunshine are important for humans but let’s face it – we already know all of that.
About how the human body was made to move – and how living a long healthy life is linked to getting regular exercise. How exercise improves our mental state and certainly how connection and creating memories together is key to happiness and healthy relationships. I can assure you that in 15 years-time you will NOT regret having taking steps today to do more together as a family.
So, here’s the challenge – what can you do as a family on a regular basis to get more active and that produces minimal eye rolling while managing to get everyone up and out of the house?
To make it that little bit easier for you, I’ve come up with 3 unique activities for you to consider doing regularly with your family to get active together. Think of it as a family date once a week – where it’s not optional – where participation is key to getting technology privileges for the rest of the week. YOU ALL HAVE TO COMMIT. And yes, that includes YOU the parent or carer.
1. Geocaching (Fun Ways)
Who wants to go on a treasure hunt? When I first heard about Geocaching, I couldn’t believe it – a worldwide treasure hunt – all ready to go that I need to do nothing to setup? Where do I sign up?
According to Wikipedia, Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a GPS or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name and dates it, in order to prove that they found the cache. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, usually of more sentimental worth than financial. Find out more at geocaching
2. Indoor Rock Climbing (Fun Ways)
This is a personal favourite of our family. There are so many awesome indoor rock-climbing facilities worldwide that it shouldn’t be too hard to find one close to you.
They have walls for most abilities and ages and each time you go, you can build up to trying the next more difficult wall.
Working together or competing against each other, it’s a huge amount of fun and a great way to spend time together as a family.
A quick google search will reveal what’s close to you.
3. Tourist in your own town (Fun Ways)
This is one that everyone can get involved in planning. Each week a different member of the family is in charge of choosing somewhere locally to go ‘as if you were tourists’.
Pretend you have just arrived in town on holiday – almost every place has its own history, legends, places of beauty – go to the information centre to find out all the places to go.
Think about parks, beaches, churches, cemeteries, local museums – depending on where you decide to go, you may find that you can hire bicycles, or a canoe – for example in Sydney there is a gorgeous place just inside the national park where you can hire pedal boats or canoes, bring a picnic along and that’s a super fun and active day out.
Whatever you decide to do, I very much hope that this article inspires you to take a few steps to organizing a regular outing for you and the family to get more active together (google is an amazing resource!) – to become more healthy, create memories and to spend more time together deepening your relationships – away from technology (and that goes for mums, dads and other carers too)!