Our Claire has been working with Sanctuary Housing to deliver the What's Your Game project, to bring families and volunteers together to participate in activities and understand the benefits of play leading to increased levels of activity and positivity.
Here's a success story in Claire's words:
How to get active? The million-dollar question! Most people understand activity and exercise are essential for health. Some attend gyms or ride bikes; others walk the dog or take the kids to the park. Yet almost everyone has days, weeks or even months-leading-into-years, where — no matter how good their understanding of health concerns— it simply isn’t enough to inspire them. We’ve all been there, yes? On rainy days, or when we’re busy, going to the park can seem as big a task as rowing to the moon.
This is the story of someone who hated everything about exercise and activity, from team games to individual pursuits, they detested it all. This person disliked the feeling of getting sweaty and out of breath to the point where it scared them. A racing pulse felt to them as if they were having a heart attack. No amount of information made any difference.
When I first heard about this person, they weren’t doing anything active and didn’t wish to work with me. Absolutely not! Their parent kept asking me to try again, so I thought hard about what had been told to me about how the person in question loved to argue and was apparently stubborn. I came up with a plan….
I asked the person what they thought about gaming-type exercise. They loved gaming and computers and would spend many hours glued to the screen. I sent a challenge: Could they prove online exercise was as effective as ‘outside’ exercise. They accepted the challenge.
The person used a headset. They found games which required a high degree of moving. I believe one was a 3D game where you had to bat objects.
Over a period of months, the person exercised in this way for at least twenty minutes per day, sometimes more. They did indeed get fitter and not only them: Their friends also got involved!
They proved exercise can come from a place of passion, and also from a place of motivation which wasn’t love for sport. It was a place of anger, because nobody had believed them or taken their assertion that online exercise can be affective seriously.
To me, this remains a very important learning point. Motivation comes in many forms and everyone is different. Dig into your own motivation and come up with a personal plan. It may not make sense to anyone else, and that doesn’t matter.
Be kind to yourself on those days where exercise seems an impossible ask. Be honest about the reasons why. At the end of the day, you only have yourself to answer to.