Keeping your children active…?

I was recently asked to write an article on increasing childrens activity levels, for The Bedfordshire Schools Advertiser and OVL Magazine. I  would like to share with you some  of the practical ideas I included in these articles on how to keep your children active and healthy.

My work as a personal trainer has traditionally focused solely on the health, fitness and active lifestyle needs of adults. More and more frequently I am asked to lead sessions that focus both directly and indirectly on encouraging children to be more active. There has been a rise in the inactivity levels of children, which has lead to a significant increase in childhood obesity in this country. Without doubt childhood obesity is a very real and serious problem and ignored could lead to serious illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Government funding and local authority initiatives are on the increase in an attempt to re educate and re activate children in schools and at home. Permission slips for lunchtime street dance and after school yoga or boxercise are now commonplace. The benefits are obvious for the children that attend these sessions but there is still a very large group of children that are lack confidence, don’t want to look stupid or are just not interested that don’t sign up for these activities. Children need to be active for at least 60 minutes everyday to keep fit and healthy. It’s worth asking yourself how much physical activity your children do in and out of school? How many days a week do they have Physical Education or sports and activity clubs? On the other days of the week they may be sitting at their desk, sitting around at break times or on the sofa for much of the day with very little actual activity. As a personal trainer I know that maintaining consistent small activity and lifestyle changes will lead to much greater long-term health benefits such as lowered blood pressure and necessary weight loss. Some practical and low cost/no cost ways to contribute towards your children’s 60minutes of daily activity could be…

  •  Cutting right back on using the car for small family journeys. Go by foot or bike or both! The small journeys add up daily and you’ll save on petrol costs.


  • Limit TV and Gaming times on a daily basis. Think about how long your children spend sitting around after school and at weekends. A popular time limit to set for this is 2hours a day, then its time to get up and move about.


  •  One family activity a week. This could be taking the dog for a long walk or walking to a local park or lake to feed the ducks. Take a drink and healthy snack for half way as an incentive.


  • Take the stairs as often as you can when you go shopping. Shops generally have escalators and lifts, make an effort to use them as little as possible when you are out and about. 



  • Wash a car a week. With a bucket and sponge some polish and chamois leather, washing and polishing a car can be a vigorously effective activity for siblings to share easily taking any where between 15 and 60 minutes to finish. 

It’s surprising how easy it is to come up with ways to get more active that fit your family lifestyles when you get started. Tired of tripping over stairway clutter one of my clients has a new house rule, don’t leave it…take it immediately!

Get thinking and get active.