7 active ways to reconnect for R U OK? Day

Reconnecting over physical activity is a great excuse to catch-up with those you may have lost touch with and ask that all important question – R U OK?


The national suicide prevention campaign R U OK? Day is a reminder for all Australians to make more time for the people in their lives who matter most and in the process help create a more connected world for all of us.

Whether it’s getting outdoor and active or engaging in some more creative ways to move, reconnecting over physical activity is a great excuse to catch-up with those you may have lost touch with and could make more of a difference than you know.

We asked Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Alex Lawrence, to help us out with some creative ideas for catching up with friends or even yourself for R U OK? Day that you may not have thought of. This is what he shared with us.


Why should you organise an active hang out for R U OK? Day?


Over the past few decades, a range of studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity is associated with better

mental health and emotional well-being. For conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve the mood of patients.

Why not take a friend high-roping on your next catch-up? Surrounded by nature, exercising both your body and mind, and having fun while doing it!

Why not take a friend high-roping on your next catch-up? Surrounded by nature, exercising both your body and mind, and having fun while doing it!

Exercise does not necessarily need to be strenuous to provide a benefit either, with something as simple as a brisk walk each day able to make a difference. Most importantly however, it has to be something that you actually want to do.

Finding an energetic activity that you actually like means that you will not see it as a chore that you have to do, but instead something you genuinely want to do.



Top 8 active ways to reconnect with friends for R U OK? Day



A simple run: Aside from the physical benefits there is mounting evidence to show the strong connection between exercise and a healthy mind. Running can reduce anxiety symptoms and reduce the symptoms of clinical depression. Running is linked with greater self-esteem and can also improve the quality of our sleep, poor sleep quality can affect our mental health. Run as a pair and try and achieve different distance challenges or discover new locations!  Need help getting started with running? Download the free Nike Run Club app which gives you simple guided run to get you started!


Take a yoga or meditation class with a mate: We live in a society where there is so much external stimulus and noise that it can be really beneficial to take some time out. Meditation is a way to allow people to focus on the present.


Hit the local trails for a bushwalk: Bush walking and walking in general is a low cost, and highly accessible activity that most people can engage with. It is also an activity that you are able to have a great deal of control over: you choose how hard/fast you walk, and you can easily engage in conversation while working up a slight sweat. Studies have shown that people can achieve improvements in their blood pressure walking as little as 20 minutes per day.


Bouncing at a trampoline park: Trampoline parks have gained popularity in recent years, and have started popping up in most major cities. Bouncing is a fun and non-traditional way to work up a sweat. In addition to improvements in cardiovascular fitness, the unpredictable nature of trampolining is great for improving co-ordination and agility.


Strike up a conversation at the bowling alley: One of the benefits of bowling is that the fundamental skills are easy to learn and the activity is really adaptable, meaning that almost anyone can get involved.  Bowling is a great activity for building long lasting social relationships.


A friendly game of tennis: Depending on one’s ability and goals, people can play tennis just for fun or challenge themselves with the more competitive nature of the sport. Tennis is a high impact sport, which can help promote bone health, as well as improve cardiovascular fitness and co-ordination. Just be careful to not overdo it when you’re starting out, otherwise you’re at an increased risk of developing an injury.


Take a trip down memory lane with a game of laser tag: If you and your friends are not necessarily interested in the more traditional activities, why not revisit your younger years and go for a game of laser tag? Having fun is the overall aim of the game, but with added health benefits, such as cardiovascular fitness and improve mental well-being.


Chase the adrenaline rush at a high ropes course: Remember that high ropes course you did at a school camp years ago? Well high roping is officially a thing again. High rope courses may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ways to get active, but it is an incredible experience to share with a friend. Showing somebody something they have never attempted before and are perhaps fearful of at the beginning of a day, who then overcomes the obstacle by the end of the day, can provide a fantastic boost to self-esteem. It’s also a great activity to improve cardiovascular fitness, build core strength, work on your balance and improve your flexibility. Your body will get a full workout, and your mind will thank you for it too.


For more information, visit ruok.org.au, or get in touch with your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) who can create a customised exercise program for you and your family.


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