How to Have a Seriously Healthy Summer with Amaven
It was recently revealed most adults in the UK are unaware of advised physical activity levels for children. According to a survey conducted by the Youth Sport Trust, just 32% know young people should exercise for a minimum of one hour per day to stay healthy. A whopping 68% of adults surveyed claimed not to know this or suggested a lower timeframe (46 mins, on average).
It's alarming news for a country in the grip of a child obesity crisis. Currently, just 17.5% of children meet the 60 minute target with any consistency. Statistics suggest those doing the least physical activity are from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds. It's a complex problem: one that's fuelled by a national malaise about movement and it's importance for wellbeing.
Though it has lost its status in many schools - it's common practice to cut PE lessons in favour of exam prep or as a form of punishment - physical activity remains the cornerstone of good health. Children who stay active during school holidays have stronger bones, muscles and organs. They are at less risk from everyday sicknesses (like fevers and flus). As part of an active family, it's significantly easier for them to maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some of the ways parents/carers can help children get active for at least one hour per day during the summer break:
1. Turn Off the Telly
Child development experts advise parents to limit a child's television time to two hours per day. Where possible, time should be spent engaging in physical activity instead. It doesn't need to be rigidly structured or based around a specific type of exercise - the vast majority of activities are more dynamic than watching television. Don't be afraid to let your child get bored. It's the first step on the road to tag tournaments, water fights and long evenings outdoors playing fantastical games with friends.
Top Tip: Click the link to try our Activate Your Name activity from the Healthy Schools Programme. It's a unique and fun way to get your child moving - just spell out a name or letter using the corresponding challenges on the poster!
2. Make It a Family Adventure
Studies show families who get active together are not only healthier, they find it easier to stay that way. The secret to getting maximum value from physical activities - whatever your age - is to integrate them with home and family routines. When movement is a consistent part of every week, it's easier for children to understand its importance. Whether you enjoy walking the dog or playing football, it's important your child sees you benefiting from a healthy, active lifestyle.
Top Tip: Parent Resources from the Healthy Schools Programme are designed to help parents/carers engage with school led health and wellbeing curriculums. Click the link to get our Bumper Breakfast Activity Pack and find out how to build a balanced breakfast every day of the week.
3. Always Be Consistent
Younger children, especially, benefit most from creative, unstructured forms of physical activity. However, consistency is still key to a healthy lifestyle. If your child needs a nudge to get outdoors or switch the TV off, make part of your day 'active time.' They could keep themselves entertained or join you for a family activity - the important thing is for them to spend time moving. If they come to expect it, they can start to plan for it and pursue new, more active ways to spend time.
Top Tip: Check out our Movement Skills videos for a more traditional workout (strength, cardio and conditioning) that's suitable for younger children. Click the link to view an example video created in conjunction with child development, fundamental movement and strength and conditioning coaches.
4. Try New Things
One of the best things about physical activities is their endless variety. Strictly speaking, any activity which raises the heart rate counts as 'exercise' and contributes to that all important 60 minute target for children. It means your family can keep trying different games and challenges until you find the ones that excite you. If your child doesn't like to run, perhaps they'd prefer to dance? They may not be a sporty type but yoga, geocaching and even gardening can be fun and interesting ways to move.