Tip of the Week: Outdoor activities
One of the best ways to help someone with Prader-Willi syndrome get more exercise is by not calling it exercise! Getting active and having fun together doesn’t have to be a chore, and once the habit is formed, it will be hard to break. Here are some ideas for you and your child:
1. Have an outdoor scavenger hunt. This can be on a nature walk, the beach, or just during a neighborhood walk. Kids will be more likely to keep moving if they are distracted with the hunt.
2. Get competitive. We have had great success with the use of pedometers. The person with the most steps at the end of the week is the winner. Their competitive nature kicks in and over time, we found that even the prize for the winner was unnecessary. They simply wanted to be the winner.
3. Go to a playground. Most towns have community playgrounds and they are highly underused. Don’t discount the exercise value of climbing, swinging, and many of the upper body building equipment found on playgrounds. One Cape Cod favorite is Luke’s Love Boundless Playground in West Barnstable – it was designed with love for children of all abilities. https://www.facebook.com/lukeslove.org/
4. Impromptu games of catch and tag are wonderful ways to get exercise in and have fun at the same time.
5. Anything that can be turned into a contest; who can get to the mailbox the fastest, who can throw the farthest, who can carry the most books. Literally anything that has a winner will be met with enthusiasm.
Whatever you choose to do, be sure that you are equally as involved and excited. Your child will model after your attitude towards being active.
Pictured: A recent nature walk in Brewster
Patrice Carroll, LICSW, is world-renowned for her Prader-Willi syndrome expertise. As Director of PWS Services at Latham Centers, she works with Latham students and residents and their families, as well as experts in the field, teaching and learning PWS best practices. Patrice also serves on the IPWSO (International Prader-Willi Syndrome Organisation) Caregivers Board, and she co-chairs the PWSA | USA Professional Providers Advisory Board. If you have PWS-related questions, we invite you to email TipTopics@LathamCenters.org.