It’s been over a year since we were first confined to our homes as a measure to keep us safe from the health threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over this past year we’ve done some unusual things to keep fit. We’ve jogged km around our front lawns. We’ve jumped about the living room doing PE with Joe. We’ve signed up to online yoga, done weights on the balcony and danced around the house to 80s tunes.
But beyond the confines of our four walls, it’s the great outdoors that has really taken on new significance during this pandemic. With no shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants or any indoor venues open to us, we’ve explored the beauty in our forests, parks, neighbourhood streets and beaches instead.
Because of this, sports like mountain biking and trail running have risen in popularity, as friends and families get some exercise outdoors together. Here are four more reasons why these sports are great to do with your kids:
- A new way of socialising and connecting: These sports not only keep us fit, they also give us a way to socialise and connect in a safe way. Where we used to enjoy long Sunday lunches together at a restaurant or someone’s home, we now plan to meet at a park to do a family walk or run together.
A great idea is to enter organised events such as the Fedhealth Magalies Monster MTB & Platinum Trail Run, which is being held on 5th and 6th of June in the scenic surrounds of the Magaliesburg, and has distances for all skills, ages and fitness levels. Stringent Covid-compliant measures will be in place at both events to ensure everyone’s safety, such as sanitising stations and temperature checks.
- Less screen time: Having to teach and entertain our kids all day (for months on end) over lockdown, along with trying to get some work done ourselves, has certainly increased their daily consumption of screen time and hey – no one’s judging. We all did what we could to survive over this challenging time. That’s why getting the kids out the house and into nature on their bikes (or on their little feet) is a great balm for any parenting guilt we may feel over the time they’ve spent on screens recently.
- Coordination, balance and problem solving: It might be tough with younger kids at the beginning but once they get the hang of mastering their bikes or figuring out the best way to descend that hill on foot, they’ll learn all sorts of skills that will help elsewhere in their lives. Life isn’t easy and the little challenges that these two sports introduce to young kids can make them more resilient and resourceful out in the wider world.
- Mental health: Our modern children are becoming “an indoor generation”, all exacerbated by Xbox, iPads and laptop screens, and this is having detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. Getting them into the outdoors has a hugely beneficial impact on their overall happiness and we owe it to them to give them exposure to all the wonders and benefits the natural world can supply them with.
We’ve never fully appreciated our health like we do after the past year – adding these two sports into your weekly family activities will only contribute to helping your children achieve a more active, healthier lifestyle in the long run.