Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Creating positive experiences

At CORE NI our ethos is based around positive experiences. For example, our CORE Kids programs’ main aim is to deliver positive experiences of fun physical activity and overall well-being to help guide children towards lifelong healthy active lifestyles.

Whenever anyone comes along to our classes, workshops or events we want to be able to provide as many positive experiences from start to finish.

This can be something as simple as welcoming people with a smile or handshake, to praising them for working hard or encouraging them to keep trying at something they find difficult.


One of my favourite podcast series is called ‘The Way of Champions’, it interviews some of the best youth coaches from around the world and delves into how and what they do to coach the kids they work with. One of their mantras is that ‘no experience is ever neutral’ you will either have a positive or negative experience.

When it comes to sport and physical activity the more positive experiences anyone has, the more likely they are going to keep doing it. On the other hand it only takes one negative experience, especially with children that can put them off something for life. Research also suggests that for every one negative interaction it takes five positives to make it right

Take PE in school for example. You may have been that person who wasn’t into sport but were ‘forced’ to play something you didn’t enjoy.

How did you or would you have felt if this happened?

More than likely you would have hated PE and as a result hated physical activity in general.

Some people who have experienced this at a young age have been fortunate enough to fall back in love with physical activity either through college, going to the gym or joining a club. Unfortunately, others haven’t been so lucky and these people may need to be more active for their own physical and mental health.

Being inactive in school can lead to inactivity in adulthood. It is easy to lay the blame on teachers but if they haven’t been given the skill set and go by the old saying – ‘sure this is the way we always did it’ – then you are setting yourself up for a disaster.


Tackling the PE curriculum and educating teachers, parents and coaches to provide more positive experiences of physical activity and make it fun is a goal of mine.

But what actions can you take to deliver positive experiences? Firstly, let’s look at yourself. What positive experiences are you providing for you own health and well-being? Are you keeping active by doing something you love?

If you don’t enjoy the type of exercise or activity, you are doing then don’t do it. If you are doing it because someone else told you it would be good for you, then stop now and find something you enjoy.

You may have to stick at something for a while before you fall in love or start to really enjoy it but you will soon know after one or two sessions if it’s for you.

Even look at the food you are eating. Food is there to be enjoyed, not something we have to force down us to make us look good. Develop your taste buds by supplying it with fresh, nutritious and delicious food types.

One of the best things I like about food is making it and sitting down to share it with people. For me it’s a great experience and reward for doing something I enjoy and others get to taste the benefits.

Food and exercise are just two areas to look at for yourself. You should think about positive experiences of your sleep, work, family and relationships. What do you love doing and how could you make it more enjoyable?

The next and one of the most rewarding steps is providing positive experiences for other people. Simply asking someone how their day was, telling them they look good in that top or giving your time to help others, can be a positive experience for both of you.

Again the negatives can easily creep in, just from the way you look at someone to the choice of words you use.

Sometimes its instinctive and we just come out with it, but remember the ratio of 5:1. For every one negative it takes five positives. Being more reflective, empathetic and considering what impact your choice of words or action will have.

You may also want to consider the lifelong result of your actions especially for our kids. Spending time with them to become more physically active and being more aware of their and your own food choices can have a positive impact on their overall well-being and lifelong happy healthy lifestyles.


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