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The Coaches Say Relax

October 3, 2012

This Gwinnett Girls on the Run team began the day by sharing what they were grateful for from their weekend, such as winning a soccer team, attending a birthday party, and running with parents. After their positive start, the team dove into a lesson about relaxation. The coaches prompted a discussion about relaxation and the importance of setting aside time to unwind. Some girls noted that a lack of rest results in stress and is unhealthy, while another girl suggested that “If you don’t get rest, you’ll be grumpy, and when you’re grumpy you get in trouble.”

When asked what they did to relax, the 3rd-5th grade girls answered with a variety of suggestions, ranging from spa treatments and swimming, to reading books and listening to music. Next, the coaches encouraged the girls to close their eyes and picture a comforting environment. In turn, the girls let their imaginations run wild. Some of their minds traveled to “dream worlds” with ponies, marshmallows, and chocolate, while others journeyed to Saturn or the magical land in The Lorax. Overall, regardless of where their minds wandered, the girls began to understand the simple, soothing effects of relaxation.

The day’s lesson continued with more consoling concentration, as the girls were challenged to run in silence while imagining serene settings, recounting their days, or thinking about the future. The normally talkative group accepted the task, and the girls jogged around the track while simultaneously exercising both their bodies and brains. In order to cheer on their temporarily quiet team, the coaches awarded a silent thumbs up or high five to each passing girl.

After the thought-provoking activity, the coaches continued the calming lesson through further discussion and breathing exercises. The team discussed the importance of slowing down in today’s fast-paced society and setting aside time to relax. In the end, the GOTR girls learned that inactivity can be a good thing when its used for recuperation and relaxation purposes.

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”             –Jane Austen  


Article and images by Darlene Vincent, GOTR Atlanta’s fall intern from Georgia Gwinnett College

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