How are you finding living in lockdown with your family or housemates?

Many of our lives and routines have been dramatically changed by staying home due to coronavirus. This extra time at home with family might be a fun opportunity for you to spend some quality time or you all might be starting to find you are arguing or getting frustrated with each other more… or maybe a bit of both!

Exercising together can be a great way to spend time together and relieve any tensions you and your family might be experiencing!

Exercise is a great way to build relationships and support our relationship skill learning. It can even help to set our brains up for learning if you’re home learning from school or completing uni courses.

Clinical psychologist, Kerry Ashton Shaw tells us:

“Rhythmic, repetitive activities reduce anxiety, so we can understand and regulate our emotions. As well as supporting academic learning, this helps children and young people in their relationships too. Exercising with family allows children [and young people] to develop vital life skills, with adults role modelling empathy, social skills and self-esteem. Skills that will support children and young people long after lockdown.”

Sport Birmingham’s M.A.D Programme used sport and mentoring to support a group of young people in their relationship learning and personal development. Birmingham City University interviewed some of these young people and we think some of this learning could help you exercising in lockdown.

  • Exercise together if you can. This helps to connect with your family and helps you practice communicating with each other in a different way to normal.

  • Remember to have fun! Exercising and laughing together help relieve everyone’s stress!

  • Do it as a team. Acknowledging the strengths and successes of your family and working together to overcome difficulty can help bring you together.

  • Communication is made easier by the calming effects of repetitive actions in exercise so use this opportunity to practise communicating with your family.

  • Be the teammate you want. Practising being empathetic and encouraging with your family helps them to feel good about themselves and to improve their relationship skills!

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Read more about our M.A.D Programme findings here.

For more guidance on keeping healthy and exercising during lockdown, see Sport England’s advice and Sport Birmingham’s tips.

For more tips on keeping healthy during lockdown, check out Young Mind’s tips.