Get your kids fit…. Kids Fit coming to PMA Fitness
It’s cold and wet – hardly perfect conditions to get your kids off the sofa and exercising.
But with one in three primary schoolchildren overweight, it has never been more important to get them fit.
Three-quarters of children aren’t active enough, according to a Government survey, and unfit kids are six times more likely to show early signs of heart disease.
Professor Peter Helms, from the Department of Child Health at Aberdeen University, claims the health consequences are far-reaching.
“We’ve become a sedentary nation,” he says. “Obesity is an epidemic and we’re going the way of America. For the first time we are seeing mature onset diabetes in obese children.”
So start building exercise into your child’s daily life with our fun ways to get them up and at it…
Ditch the car
Walking with the kids wherever possible is an ideal way to get the 90 minutes of fitness they need each day. You can save petrol, too, on those drives to school and the shops.
A brisk walk for just 20 minutes will give the heart a good workout. Your child is walking at a good pace if they are slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation. Help smaller children along by giving them a rest on a buggy or buggy board, or take a scooter – it makes a short trip more fun.
Fitness trainer Sarah Maxwell says: “Walking is the ideal way to get your child to exercise. Dog walking is a fantastic way to get moving as a dog needs two walks a day. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one!
“You can also motivate the kids with a pedometer, which measures daily steps. Create a progress chart for the family and have a prize for the most steps walked each week.”
Head for the pool
Getting into your swimming costume is probably the last thing you feel like doing in the middle of winter, but it is great exercise.
Swim with the kids and you could be burning 300 calories in half an hour – that’s 10 calories a minute.
Studies show swimming is particularly good for asthmatic children. The water offers support for those with juvenile arthritis and makes it easier for overweight children to exercise, too.
Use floats, balls and toys to make it more fun and encourage older kids to do a few lengths as it works every muscle group in the body.
Sign your child up for lessons. And if they aren’t keen, remind them non-swimmers can’t go to pool parties!
Take it indoors
If you’re put off by a muddy outdoor play park, go to an indoor climbing and assault course, instead.
Indoor walls are great for adventurous older kids, while preschoolers love soft play centres.
Swinging around on indoor equipment will work their arms and core abdominal muscles, and running and bouncing gives kids a good cardio workout.
Contact your local council for details of the nearest centre.
Make family time
It’s no use telling the kids to get active when you’re parked on the sofa yourself – go cycling, walking or swimming together.
Sarah says: “The great thing about exercising with your children is that you enjoy the health benefits, too.
“Active children have less body fat, sleep better and have stronger muscles and bones. They also have increased confidence and a positive outlook.”
Play active video games
Forget Super Mario, choose video games that will get your child moving – even if only around the living room.
Try Nintendo’s Wii Fit tennis, golf, football, snooker, table tennis, aerobics, yoga or dance.
The games work on co-ordination, balance, fitness and flexibility, but for kids it will just feel fun. Best of all, it fits into a busy day, with no ferrying to classes.
Great for any age. Sarah says: “Put on your favourite music, let everyone choose one song each and arrange a dance competition.
“Have a go at dancing statues – dance until the music stops then stand still or on one leg.”
Have a kickabout
Football is good for boys and girls to let off steam and improve co-ordination, so check out after school, weekend and Easter holiday clubs.
“Look at your local leisure centre’s classes, too,” says Sarah. “They are competitively priced and offer concessions if you’re on benefits.”
Join the club
Older kids will be more likely to take part in sports if their friends are joining in. Sign up for after-school clubs, such as netball, tennis, swimming, trampolining and gymnastics.
PMA Fitness will be introducing Kids Fit soon to the timetable. If you are part of a club or group and you think that the club would benefit from more activity for children please contact Kerrie on 07968 357475 to arrange.