welcome back and apologies for the title, I feel like I started on a path with the last title and as excruciating as it is I am going to see it through! as promised in my last post I will try to explain a little about what active souls is and why we are trying to reintroduce play back to adults lives.
so, what do we actually do? well, in a nutshell, we play! using old school activities and playground games adapted from months of research and years of experience we gather with likeminded souls and we play for an hour a couple of times a week. we use local green spaces so that our players can reconnect with the beautiful outdoors and sessions are lead from within, with the active souls dictating how games play out and progress. my role is not that of an instructor, referee or dictator...I like to see myself more of a "facilitator of fun" haha after re-reading that i kinda feel like david cretney after he declared himself the minister of fun (hand over face emoji).
how we plan to reintroduce play to the world is an open book right now. just last week we had an entire netball team joining us for a private group session, we created some miniature active souls as part of one primary schools health week and we continue to grow our weekly sessions, last week offering a classic BOGOF deal to spread the word even further #tipyoureIT.
two weeks in to the active souls journey and already the lessons are coming in thick and fast. for me this first couple of months is all about trial and error. I am under no illusions that the concept of using play as an alternative to exercise goes against the grain and will take some time for people to really get it but the potential of play benefits to our health and wellbeing is near endless and not just in the physical sense either. play has a role to play in our mental health and wellbeing too.
sure, play is fun, it always has been and just because we can put our shoes on without banana feet and tie our own laces doesn't mean we have to stop playing and having fun! but play is also a form of exercise, during one 40 minute session (he was late of course), Jamie, of LewisLewis fame smashed out almost 500 calories! on that day in question we also played one of my all time fave games "dragons den" where the knights must capture as much treasure whilst avoiding the tag of the "dragons". balance, coordination and agility skills are key throughout the game with heaps of multidirectional movement, repeated short sprints and at least 20 lunges a game and the core workout of laughing so hard you need to lie down...try squeezing all of that in to a gym workout without realising!!
play also inherently social and breaks down barriers outrageously fast. awkward meeting new people? well now you and this stranger are a team and have to capture the flag from those other strangers over there and its incredible how quickly allies become friends and social awkwardness is just a series of words that sound confusing like "tidy darts" or "milk before teabag". teamwork is massive when we play and it also allows us to think creatively, craftily even with so many play personalities to discover and potential relationships to build, it begs the question why aren't we playing all the time?
from a mental health perspective, play is an exceptional vehicle to better our mental state, we all understand that exercise brings with it that warm post exercise glow with endorphins running around our insides like happy little motorcycles of joy, but play takes it one step further. whether you had a really crappy day at work, a silly argument with your partner or your beautiful angel child scrawled crayon up the freshly painted kitchen wall, all of your worries evaporate with the first dodge of a projectile or catch of a ball and finally you get to do all of that knowing one thing...NOBODY CARES!
when we are playing we are so consumed by our own game, objectives and movements that we are oblivious to what any one else is doing, that means that nobody is watching!! so play, run fast, walk, skip, dance, be silly, cheat, create your own story line, create your own rules, tired? take a breather, it literally doesn't matter because nobody is paying attention, apart from the camera, the camera is always watching...
talking of the camera...heres a particularly beautiful shot of my little sister, an active soul original and big supporter in recent months...this is apparently how I choose to repay her?! sorry steph!
so once again, it is time for me to step down off my soapbox and go back to what I'm good at, creating fun games and playing them with friends.
peace out and tip you're IT...no backsies!