Five ways to get your child up and about
Do your children get the recommended hour of exercise every day? If you're struggling to get them off the sofa, this new advice on getting active could help you shake up your family's routine
How much exercise do your children really get? The Chief Medical Officer recommends that your kids get up and about for 60 minutes a day when they're aged from five to 16. This might sound like a lot – but it's more manageable than you might think if you split it into chunks. The Government's obesity strategy says that the best way to do this is to get in 30 minutes each at school and at home. This means they've got plenty of time for a quick jog around the living room between Octonauts reruns.
A new report, published by the Youth Sport Trust stresses that children who see their parents living an active lifestyle have a better chance of having fewer avoidable health conditions, making healthier lifestyle choices, performing better at school and having stronger emotional wellbeing. But finding time to stay active isn't easy (even if you've got the time, have you got the energy?) so reframing it as a positive step for your kids can help.
Five tips to help your child be more active
1. Exchange screen time for active time
Can you all swap half an hour of physical activity with half an hour of screen time? One of doing this is finding TV programmes, console games and apps (such as the minute shake-up by Disney and Change4Life) that encourage physical activity.
2. Become part of a team
Turn sport into a social activity by joining a sports club, class or team with your children, friends, neighbours or extended family.
3. Involve your child in choosing what to do
When children have some control over what they do, they are more likely to stick at it.
4. Make family time active time
Swap the odd movie night or family meal for something which gets the whole family out and about. This could be walking together, playing outside together in local parks, woodlands, adventure playgrounds or other green spaces – or even growing your own food together. Check out what's on in your area on Mumsnet Local.
5. Stand more, sit less
Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which increases the risk of obesity and type two diabetes. Can you have a family challenge where everyone avoids sitting down for more than 15 minutes at a time?
Parents in Sport Week is running this week (2 – 8 October) and, with the Youth Sport Trust, has published new advice to give parents the tools to help their families get more active.