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Go Well Blog

10 ways to make your virtual meetings more active!

Are you sitting in lots of virtual meetings throughout the day?  We would like to help you to make virtual meetings more active!

We advocate that everyone should integrate physical activity into their daily schedule to benefit their physical and mental health.  

However, did you know that it also boosts your brain power?  

Physical activity boosts the production of a chemical in your brain called BDNF which creates new brain cells and strengthens neural pathways.  It also boosts the production of Norepinephrine, which improves your concentration and alertness.

Hands up who can find it difficult to maintain full concentration during online learning or meetings?  

If you are leading online meetings, it may be helpful to integrate activity in to your delivery/time to maintain or to boost engagement.

Here are a few ideas for integrating activity into your online meetings:

1. Active Quiz/Poll

Link answers to body shapes or movements.  Stand up for Yes, Squat down for No.  Lean left for agree, lean right for disagree.

2. Active Break – Rock, Paper, Scissors!

An active twist on Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Use movements for Rock, Paper and Scissors.  Play in pairs, keep your score to see who wins.  You can also give other roles out like a referee and a score keeper. This works great in breakout rooms.  You can make it into a competition if you like or just play for fun!

Add some twists!:

1. Points for passion – have a judge who can give extra points for how passionate people are when playing.

2. Make it more active by replacing Rock, Paper and Scissors with other more challenging movements e.g Squat, Lunge, One foot balance.

3. Full screen with everyone creating a shape at the same time.  The shape with the most people performing that shape wins that round.

3. Active Break – I went to….

Split your delegates into breakout rooms of groups of 4-6.  The task is to create the longest sequence of movements in the style of the game ‘I went to the supermarket and I bought….’  e.g. Add a movement on each time you move to the next player.  Change the intro to anything you like ‘I went to PE and we did…..’, ‘I went to the gym and we did…..’.  You can work through the alphabet or just freestlyle!

4. Active Break – Dance

Create a dance – Split your delegates into breakout rooms of groups of 4-6.  Ask each room to create a dance to a certain section of a song (all the same song and section).  Bring the groups back together and perform the dance either one group at a time, or all together.

5. Active Break –  1-2-3 

Split your group into breakout rooms in pairs and complete the exercise in the video below.

6. Active Break – Competition

How many times can you catch and throw an object within a minute?  One hand to the other? One hand only?  Off your wall?  Compete against each other or repeat the task and try and beat your own score.

7. Active Break – Workout

Complete a 2, 5 or 10 minute workout together.  You can use this one if you like:

8. Active thinking time

Walk and reflect – set a thinking task but ask participants to go for a 10 minute walk, ideally outside, as they consider the question or questions.

9. Active task – Scavenger hunt

Collect objects from your house/office space that represent a certain thing or answer a question.

10. Active Break –  Mexican Wave!

Team challenge.  Can you create a Mexican wave on your screen in a certain order?

Add some twists:

1. Pick a person and an order (horizontal wave/vertical wave).  The wave has to go in that order on that persons screen but they cannot talk during the challenge and the others cannot ask them questions.  They can only make waves and attempt to create the wave in the right order.  The person can nod, shake their head or do a wave (they are in the screen after all and will need to take their turn in the Mexican wave).   Once an effort to make the wave fails the team needs to start again!

2.  Do a wave and then point (with one hand or two), whoever you point to has to do a wave and so on.

Some of these tasks can be linked to a topic/be part of the content of the meeting and some can just be to have some fun and move!  A quick 5 minute activity of simply moving, having fun and connecting with other people will help to boost brain chemicals in individuals and lift the atmosphere in virtual meetings.  The next ‘serious’ task is then likely to be more productive with delegates more alert and ready to engage.

These are just a few suggestions and as we have been implementing them in our meetings and workshops we have come up with new ideas, which I’m sure you will too!  We would love you to share any new ideas or twists on the above in the comments!

We hope you have found this blog helpful, for more information contact: sarahprice@go-well.org.

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Wellness

What is Wellness?

Health and wellness are very much interlinked.

The World Health Organisation defines health as  “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Wellness can be defined as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health” (www.globalwellnessinstitute.org).

There are many models of wellness, all sharing commonalities and individual differences. However, all models highlight the interconnectedness between different aspects of life and how these dimensions interact with one another to positively impact an individual to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

At Go Well we have adopted the Six Dimensions of Wellness, developed by Dr Bill Hettler, co-founder of The National Wellness Institute (https://nationalwellness.org/resources/six-dimensions-of-wellness/).

This model recognises six areas of wellness;
Occupational

This recognises personal satisfaction through work and following a career path that is rewarding and fulfilling. 

Physical
This recognises the benefits of physical exercise, healthy eating habits and acknowledging  when you require specialist medical care. 
Social
This area is about making positive contributions to the environment and community and developing positive relationships with others. 
Intellectual

This refers to the importance of seeking creative mental activities and sharing knowledge with others.

Spiritual
This area recognises the development of individual beliefs, acceptance of others, being true to yourself in a way that is consistent with personal values and beliefs.
Emotional
This refers to the awareness and acceptance of feelings and the ability to manage these.

We explore how we support our colleagues in these areas, as well as how our programmes support the development of these in the children, adults and partners that we work with.  We will be sharing a series of blog posts that will delve deeper into each area of wellness and expand on how we develop these in ourselves and the people that we work with.

We will measure the number of people that we impact via the Six Dimensions Model in the next 5 years in order to meet our ambitious vision:

‘To have a positive impact on the wellness of 1 million people by 2025’

We hope you found this blog helpful, for more information please contact garethhamblin@go-well.org.

Categories
Go Well Blog

6 ways to integrate physical activity into your school day

There are many benefits to being physically active, regardless of our age. The positive effects on the body are numerous – strengthening our heart and lungs, lowering blood cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure, developing stronger bones, muscles and joints….a pretty impressive list.  Additionally, the mental health benefits enjoyed by those who include some form of physical activity as part of their daily routine – relieving stress, improving memory, boosting their overall mood and positively impacting on depression, proves that physical activity is a winner!
Is it possible in a busy school environment to include and provide opportunities for physical activity every day? Yes!
 Creative thinking, coupled with the desire to be a positive role model will enable school staff to provide an exciting physical activity menu for children, where everyone can reap the benefits.
Here are 6 simple ways you could use, to integrate physical activity in to your school day:

1. Planned Daily Activities

The daily mile may work for your school, a daily dance may work just as well or a daily workout.  We advise a vibrant and varied menu – offer something different every day or every half term.  This could also go some way to help all children find an activity they enjoy and hopefully would want to pursue.  Today, it is possible to find lots of interactive online activities to encourage movement and dance, yoga and functional fitness – search, search and search some more.  Involve the children in creating a weekly menu and give them some ownership – excite them in the planning stage and they will be a captive audience when taking part.

2. Active Curriculum

Physical activity isn’t just for PE lessons! Active lessons across the busy Primary Curriculum can help not only with academic learning but can increase motivation and enthusiasm, address different styles of learning that children may have, by focusing on the kinaesthetic, bringing learning to life in a fun and exciting way, using the creativity Primary teachers possess in bucket loads! Can you teach your maths topic through physical activity? Is there the opportunity to deliver your literacy lesson in a practical way that gets children out of their seats and moving around?

3. Active Playtimes

Opportunities to develop leadership coupled with the provision of activities at playtime is a win – win situation. The less sporty can sometimes be the most amazing leaders, showing empathy and understanding to the less active and promoting regular physical activity through fun games on a daily basis. Two baller, skipping with a long rope, hula hooping and What Time is It Mr Wolf – can you remember the joy they all brought?!  Training of lunchtime supervisors or employing a PE Apprentice can really support active playtimes!

4. Travel to and from school

How do the children travel to school? Walking trains, scooting and cycling are all options to consider – as are incentives in school for doing it.  Promoting this even once a week as a focus day and celebrating participation across school is a possible approach to help develop a healthy habit.  An active start to the day will have children entering school ready to learn! 

5. Regular Brain Breaks

During the school-day, regular brain breaks in the classroom are a positive way of ensuring learning is productive. Brain breaks can be energising, fun, stimulating and effective.  If you implement just 6 x 5 minutes opportunities in a day = 30 minutes of physical activity achieved!

6. The PE lessons count

EVERY SINGLE PE LESSON COUNTS.  Maths doesn’t get cancelled to practise the Christmas play – so why should PE?  A subject which brings so much to our pupils socially, benefits their physical health and fitness as well as their mental health and well-being, develops communication, leadership skills and problem solving surely deserves our full attention!  Sticking with the recommended 2 hours of PE per week, in 2x1hr lessons will cover Active 30 for 2 days (Just 3 days left to plan for)!  Although, we would still advise regular brain breaks and active playtimes, even on a PE day!

A commitment to value PE lessons needs to be a staff culture – something worth nurturing for the benefits it will reap physically, socially and cognitively!

 Is it possible in a busy school environment to include and provide opportunities for physical activity every day? Yes!

More practical ideas:

Schools can access some amazing resources on the free to access County Durham Active 30 Hub –  https://activedurham.org.uk/active30durham

Our Fit for Life programme is designed to support schools to implement Active 30 with 10 minute moderate to vigorous workouts and a series of classroom brain breaks – www.fitforlifeschools.org.uk

Our Active Ted resource pack can help you to track and reward participation as well as inspire activity at home – https://www.go-well.org/product/active-ted-pack/

 

We hope this blog was helpful.  For any further information please contact Annalisa Hopkins – annalisahopkins@go-well.org.