Why Your Children Need To Get Active
A recent international study has found that British children are among the least active in the world, and fitness levels are plummeting. The rankings, produced by a global alliance of health experts, show the UK lagging far behind a host of countries, including Poland, Slovenia, and Venezuela, when it comes to children’s fitness. This report brings to light the desperate need for children in the UK to get active.
Government advice says children should do at least an hour of moderate intensity physical activity per day. However, according to the report, only 15% of girls aged 11 to 15 in England manage this, along with 22% of boys.
Latest figures also show childhood obesity has reached record levels, with one in 10 children obese when they start primary school, and one in five reaching that level by the end of it. The head of the NHS said exercise has been shown to significantly cut a number of health problems. He said, “it requires action by schools, the NHS, parents and the food and drink industry. Get this right and we’ll be sparing the next generation hundreds of thousands of cases of cancer, strokes and dementia, as well as type 2 diabetes.”
So how can you get started?
Surely an hour of moderate activity per day is not so impossible to achieve. But with children these days glued to their computers, televisions and mobile phones, perhaps the worrying figures are not so hard to believe.
Here are 10 top tips from the NHS on how to get active with your children:
- Walk or cycle to and from school with the kids as often as possible.
- Build a den or a tree house with them in the school holidays.
- Go roller skating, rollerblading or skateboarding, indoors or outside. Since it’s winter, try out ice skating.
- Do an activity challenge together, such as working towards a fun run or a walk for charity.
- Take the dog for a walk. If you don’t have one of your own, ask to borrow a neighbour’s or a friend’s dog and take it for a walk.
- Support your kids in sports, clubs or any other activities that may interest them. Joining a weekend club sport ensures commitment to a team and regular exercise.
- Find time every weekend to do something active with your children. Play frisbee or football in the park or go trampolining.
- Fly a kite. The Kite Society of Great Britain can point you to a number of groups that regularly meet for special flying days with experienced members who offer advice and assistance.
- Try an activity-based holiday where the children can exercise all day whilst playing games.
- The National Parks website has lists of events such as guided walks and children’s fun days for fresh ideas for active days out.
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