Anyone who has embarked on a training plan for an event, or just to lose weight, will have felt the huge sense of achievement and internal motivation that is experienced when doing so. This is both a physical and mental change in our body.
Our resident marathon runner at Activate Sport is by no means built for running but is a self-confessed addict to the sense of achievement and well-being throughout the training as well as the race itself. “At first it is hard but then my body and mind crave the exercise and the desire to go out and run is so strong – even after a long day. I love the feeling of having more energy for work, life, my kids and family”.
It is often said that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. So what can we learn from this to help our children? We read this week that 25% of our children in the UK spend less than half an hour (yes – just 30 minutes) playing outside each week. Whilst we understand that our climate is not always conducive to such activity this is still a worrying statistic.
What else has contributed to this decline in activity which can also be linked to the rising levels of child obesity? Some parents are not as comfortable as previous generations in letting children out of their sight or control to play (safety concerns), which restricts the opportunities to play. There are smaller and fewer spaces and we are not all fortunate enough to have large back gardens to play in, all restricting our children from playing outside as much. We can also use television and computer games and a scapegoat in this too.
Research has shown that 1 in 10 children are now obese and 20% have ‘low fitness levels’. So what can we do to turn this around? Is it down to school or parents or government? We all have a responsibility to our children and there is nothing more precious than our own flesh and blood. So why would we not ensure that they are as healthy as they can be if, as stated above, this leads to a happier life?
Gail Emms, Olympic Silver medallist and mother of two says “If our kids are happy, fit and healthy, then this has a huge impact on other areas of their lives and that’s what every parent wants for their child.”
Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray, has warned that children today will be the first generation to grow up less fit and healthy as their parents. She is an advocate (and who are we to argue?!) of giving children PE homework. After all, other subjects give homework so why not PE too?
Judy says “Modern diets and the multitude of sedentary activities that kids are used to certainly do not help, but it is the fact that children are not developing the basic aptitudes for sport and exercise that is the most worrying thing for me,”
“It is vital that parents encourage and foster an environment where activity is considered important, but it is also vital for schools, sports providers and authorities to give parents the tools they need to instigate this process. It should be a national priority to re-embed children’s physical literacy into the consciousness of parents in the same way they would monitor their children’s homework.”
We believe that exercise and activity contributes enormously to having a healthy lifestyle where individuals can achieve anything they want to. Surely this is the attitude that we want our children to have and we should find the solutions and not the problems that stand in their way?