Ditch screen time for green time this October

ECU beach volleyball competitors

ECU beach volleyball competitors

Andrew Fewster, ECU Reporter

Outdoors WA is encouraging West Australians to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of the state’s landscape this month for Outdoors October. There are a variety of activities and events being organised for people to enjoy such as bush walks, camping, boating and many more.

Jamie Bennett, the Executive Officer of Outdoors WA, said: “Outdoors October is about getting more West Australians active and outdoors. We all know the amazing benefits to our health and well-being that getting into nature brings. Outdoors WA, supported by the WA Department of Sport and Recreation is leading the collaboration of outdoor leaders, clubs, organisations, schools and companies that make up the outdoor sector to bring an exciting calendar of events to the community.”

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray expressed his support for the scheme, and encouraged people to look into local clubs if they are interested in taking up an activity.

He said: “Getting out and about into the great outdoors is one of life’s simple joys. For me, there is nowhere I would rather be than going for a fish or a dive with friends and family. There is so much variety in outdoor pursuits – there really is something for everyone. Some people like active recreation like mountain-biking or rock climbing in the State’s rugged terrain, others prefer to amble down one of our pristine waterways in a canoe or a dinghy. There is so much on offer.”

Bennett also talked about the need for people to take the opportunity to get outdoors, with modern urbanised lifestyles making it easy to get stuck indoors.

He said: “The physical and mental benefits of time in the great outdoors are well documented. It can clear the head, alleviate stress and anxiety, boost your mental health and improve fitness. There are numerous rewards to being active in nature: enjoyment of the great WA lifestyle of sand, sun, paddling, swimming, cycling, climbing…connecting with family and friends, sharing time and building memories.”

Dr Lisa Barnett, a senior lecturer at Deakin University, said that getting children to try different activities is an important way to build their confidence and encourage them to exercise.

She said: “These initiatives are very important. Many children are actually involved in organised sport, which is great, but we need children to also be involved in non-structured outdoor play. Children need to develop strength and an understanding of their capabilities, so outdoor activities which incorporate a chance to test these skills and involve some element of risk which children can negotiate is really important. Not only will this develop their physical skills and strength but also their confidence.”

There are events running all over WA throughout October, so check out the page and see what is on near you.