As well as favourites, such as Tai Chi and Zumba, some more unusual activities took place this summer in a handful of ParkLives parks.
Up and down the country, ParkLives from
1. Open water swimming
Jump straight in! You have to be brave to go swimming in Britain at the best of times, but in a lake? First thing in the morning? On a damp June day? You must be mad. Not so, says Alex from Nottingham “It’s exhilarating!” he says. “We have wetsuits so it’s not too cold getting in and once you get moving it’s so much fun. All the swimmers have been saying they want to come back again.”
2. Hula hooping
If you haven’t touched a hula hoop since primary school, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Hula hooping is ridiculously fun, especially when you’re outdoors in the sunshine. As ‘hooper’, Bisi says: “There was lots of laughter and smiling faces at New Beckton Park hula hooping today.”
And Janet in Betley says there’s no reason why you have to hula with your hoop, “We had fun skipping with the hula hoops instead!”
3. SUP yoga
SUP yoga, or Stand Up Paddle yoga, is yoga with a twist. Balancing on a paddleboard in the middle of a lake, you can practise your downward dog while serenely floating.
“There’s a lot of laughing, a spot of physical activity and a dash of vitamin D. It’s the perfect way to spend the evening.” - Cassie, SUP yoga instructor
SUP yoga instructor Cassie from Nottingham says that despite the likelihood of getting wet, everyone loves it and has a good old giggle while taking part. “Our SUP yoga sessions with ParkLives are amazing,” says Cassie. “They’re honestly so much fun! We’re getting people outdoors in our beautiful parks and open spaces. There’s a lot of laughing, spot of physical activity, a dash of vitamin D. It’s the perfect way to spend the evening.”
Parkour, or freerunning, takes its name from the French word ‘parcours’ – literally translated as ‘course’. Partipants learn to use the park safely and effectively, to challenge themselves, overcome obstacles, increase their strength and fitness, as well as becoming more confident in their own abilities.
As Kirsty from Southend-on-Sea says: “Fantastic ParkLives Southend launch – great to see young people taking part in activities in our local parks – the ‘Parkour at the Park’ session was certainly a winner... I even wanted to give it a go!”
And it’s also helped many young people meet new friends and get outside trying a more unusual sport. One mum from Newham said her son really enjoyed the experience. “This is his second session, it’s been great to see him mix with other kids and the difference this has made to his confidence.”
5. Laughter yoga
Is laughter really the best medicine? ParkLives participants in Birmingham thought so. Based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same health benefits as spontaneous laughter, groups of ParkLivers got together for a good old-fashioned chortle. It may seem silly, but that’s half the fun. “Fantastic first laughter yoga session in Perry Park, Birmingham – everyone joined in,” said session leader Gaynor. “When you’re looking into each others eyes and smirking, you still start laughing. It’s incredibly contagious!”
Have you tried out any of these activites? Let us know by tweeting @CocaCola_GB and #ParkLives
Take a look at the ParkLives activities near you