by Don Zabloski
Now that we’ve settled into the first few months of another school year, this is the perfect time for families to come together for some active family talk/cheer time.
Remember, not every conversation has to be a sit-down one. Walking, running (at a pace where you can talk comfortably), hiking, shooting hoops, kicking a ball or playing catch are all ways that family members can be active and have meaningful discussions at the same time. Covering a variety of age-appropriate personal topics during these active chats will help kids develop socially and emotionally through their childhood, adolescent and young adult years. It’s also an opportunity to talk about why we engage in daily physical play and eat nutritious foods, reinforcing the positive effects on one’s body and mind.
If you’ve attended a Run Club session at your local Running Room, you’ve experienced first-hand how a conversation on the run is enjoyable—and helps the time fly by. Stories are shared, current events are discussed, goals are set and plans are made. Just as you would do with a running buddy, active talks are a great way to give a family member, friend, neighbour or colleague a well-deserved high-five for their positive daily choices. We can all use a little encouragement.
More and more research studies support the importance of regular physical activity as a way to alleviate and even prevent symptoms of mental illness. This is especially relevant for young adults who may be attending university and living on their own for the first time. Years of positive role modelling by Mom and Dad will be carried with them and remembered as they make independent decisions.
Keeping a journal (to log activity sessions or thoughts in general) is a timeless practice that can provide mental and emotional balance. Being a healthy role model includes building healthy self-esteem and self-knowledge, and a journal can be a safe space to express feelings, face up to challenges or celebrate personal accomplishments.
As often as daily, weekly, monthly or at special times throughout the year, plan some active talk time together. There is a power in positive affirmation for oneself, as a family, with friends, in schools, or in the workplace. By changing the way we talk to each other, we can change all kinds of things about how we act, feel and present ourselves. Daily healthy activities are good not only for our own heart and mind, but for the hearts and minds of those around us.
Don Zabloski is a former Physical Education and Health Consultant currently residing in Victoria, B.C. He is also the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.