This August the RKL team recruited our friends and family to join us in a month-long distance challenge, supporting the balanced health of our team and benefitting KABOOM!, an organization that builds play spaces for children in under-served communities across the country. Here's how we did...
is movement so important?
We asked our Moving Miles Challenge team members why they make a point to exercise. Lets take a look at some of their answers to better understand why having the space to be active is so critical to our well-being.
"I'm keeping fit for U.S. 🏑😊"
"I try to run in community 5Ks most weekends throughout the summer to keep my heart healthy"
Typically we think of exercise as a key component in physical fitness and bodily health and many of the participants in our challenge supported that, saying that their primary reason for moving was fitness-related. Participating in the challenge were several players from the U.S. O-60 Women's Masters Field Hockey Team, two preparing for triathlon events, a marathon runner, and many others who regularly run in local 5Ks and obstacle races.
"During COVID my family and I have started to do daily walks."
"Taking walks gives my husband and I time to catch up and my daughter more space to be active"
About 1/3 of participants had another family member also participating in the challenge or primarily logged miles with someone else in their household. In an interview with the Washington Post Gloria González-López, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, said that family walks are a great way to “trigger different kinds of conversations that encourage family bonding without having to be too intense. This kind of casual interaction is a way to develop, nourish and renew ties between family members. Family walks give us a chance to connect with our family in creative ways.”
"For my mental health! Endorphins help counteract my anxiety/depression 😊"
"Walking is how I get my 'ADHD zoomies' out so my brain isn't ping-ponging all day."
According to healthguide.org, an independent nonprofit focused on creating better access to mental health resources, "Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood." The endorphins released while your body is in motion help with emotional regulation, focus, and mood, while the movement of your muscles helps to release the tension often associated with mood and anxiety disorders. For some individuals, regular exercise has been proven to be as effective as prescription medication.
And then there's our favorite reason: "So I can eat lots of snacks"
The benefits of regular activity to our physical, mental, and social health are crucial to our well-being. To fully reap these benefits it's recommended that children move twice as much as adults, with a full hour of active play each day. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, playtime also allows parents to be fully engaged with their children, creating the supportive, responsive relationships that they need to thrive. Unfortunately, many families do not have access to the safe spaces needed to engage in active, balanced play. Children are exceptionally vulnerable to stressful situations, and experiencing prolonged levels of stress, without support, can lead to impaired healthy development, including mental and physical health consequences. However, positive influences can “stack the scale” to optimize resiliency in kids. By using the challenge to support the efforts of KABOOM! to achieve playspace equity, we were able to help promote the well-rounded health of both our team and of kids across the country who are often denied opportunities to thrive.
KABOOM! is the national nonprofit that works to end playspace inequity for good.
They define playspace inequity as a lack of access to and a sense of belonging in quality playspaces due to the effects of systemic racism in communities across the country.
"We unite with communities to build kid-designed playspaces that can spark joy and foster a sense of belonging for the kids who are often denied opportunities to thrive. Our mission: end playspace inequity for good."