Being active is important for both our health and wellbeing, no matter what our age.
It helps children grow up to be strong and healthy, ensures adults keep their blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, and helps older adults remain strong and sturdy – not to mention the huge mental health benefits for all.
With this in mind, finding activities that the whole family can take part in is a great idea to ensure all your loved ones are moving as much as they should, as well as having fun as a family together.
Of course, lockdown restrictions have had a huge effect on how we see our families and what we can do, with many grandparents still banned from being within two metres of their grandchildren. That’s why I’ve come up few ideas for activities for ALL where you can maintain the social distancing rules that apply to you!
Kids should be doing around 60 minutes of activity a day while adults should do around 30 minutes – this goes for older adults too! So, games and activities which allow different levels of movement for everyone is a great way to ensure everyone is getting what they need.
With a variety of positions and the ability to slow down or speed up, rounders is a great all-rounder activity you can adapt to each player.
Ensure older adults or those with less mobility take on the roles of bowling and hitting, while the younger members are tasked with running on behalf of the adults.
As well as getting everyone pumping with adrenaline, it’s great to develop the kids’ hand eye coordination and also enable older adults to use muscles which might otherwise get forgotten.
If you have players who struggle with mobility, bring along a stool they can rest on, or slow the game to a walk when it’s their turn.
With social restrictions in place, this is a great activity which makes the whole family feel like they are a team, without getting in too close quarters!
If you don’t have a bat and ball, you can use a balled up sock and your open palm, which is also likely to be gentler on those with ageing bones!
The great thing about assault courses is that they can be built around all your abilities, and don’t just have to involve high energy activities like running up slides or swinging along monkey bars. One idea is to include challenge stations where participants have a challenge depending on their ability, with younger participants encouraged to do star jump or skip, and those with mobility issues challenged to throw bean bags through a hoop or stand on one leg.
When setting out the course, keep in mind that kids benefit from strengthening exercises, which will help them build strong bones and muscles. Including a weight bearing challenge such as monkey bars, performing a hand stand or lifting a heavy box onto a low wall are all great ways of getting their muscles working hard.
Remember, as long as your breathing gets a little heavier and you feel warmer, it will be doing you good. What may get auntie Jean out of breath could be a walk in the park for your teenage son, so adjust the activities to your audience!
Walking is a great way to get the heart pumping and fill your lungs with fresh air, and is another great way to provide something for all the family – socially distanced of course!
If you have small children why not bring along their scooters so they can keep up with the rest of the gang, and try and pick a location where there’s a café or bench the less mobile adults can wait while the rest.
It’s often difficult to get everyone full on board with a ‘walking activity’ so it’s a good idea to come up with a good incentive for those who are a little despondent.
A treasure hunt is great because it challenges everyone mentally as well as physically. You can find lots of treasure hunts online, or you can sign up for an augmented reality game such a Pokemon Go, which challenges participants to ‘catch’ characters as they walk around.
If older adults aren’t keen, one idea could be to encourage them to take a trip down memory lane and enjoy a walk around a village or place they used to live or spent time. This is a great way to get the older adults to set the pace of the activity. Not only will the nostalgia encourage them to get their brains working harder, but they will also have more impetus to move more. Seeing their grandchildren play cricket in the same sports field or swing from the same trees they did in their childhood will be sure to get everyone’s hearts pumping and release those endorphins!
Finding an activity that will engage the whole family is a great way to spend time together, stay fit and healthy and keep your brains active! So don’t be put off by limitations of individuals within the group – there is always a great alternative to ensure everyone can join in the fun!