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Posts Tagged ‘exercise


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These days it would seem that the Nicky Morgan and Jeremy Hunt make policies without actually talking to each other.  We are given such mixed messages when it comes to developing our children’s minds and bodies.  On the one hand the Education Minister wants to increase the amount of academic work our children do, including dreaded homework. On the other hand,  the Health Minister keeps telling us we are too fat and children don’t get enough exercise.  The amount of opportunities children have to free play and therefore exercise is decreasing with every new target that is added to the OFSTED process.

Tracey Crouch, the Sports Minister, tried to convince us that the Olympic games would make athletes of us all.  There was a little increase in sports participation but nothing to get excited about.  Our medalists didn’t inspire us to exercise more, rather they encouraged us to; open new bank accounts, eat Quorn and watch, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.  All of these activities could be done at home on the sofa and failed miserable to get anyone excited about sport. apparently there is no single reason why people don’t participate in exercise more.

School trim trails, climbing frames, climbing walls and many other pieces of playground equipment adorn our school playgrounds now, yet children are not getting as much time in the school day to play freely. In the late 70’s and early 80’s when I was at school our playground equipment consisted of a dangerous climbing frame, a huge field, crystal draining stones in a filled in stream, grass cuttings and magnifying glasses.  Incidentally the exercise we got from the magnifying glasses was running away from the dinner ladies when we used them to melt black bin bags.  If it was sunny we would go out and play rounders or cricket on the field.  If it was snowing we took our sledges to the nearest hill and didn’t worry that we were missing English or Maths.

These days, unless an activity has got a significant number of learning outcomes and can be incorporated into a success criteria anything that doesn’t have a box to tick doesn’t count as learning.  The notion that exercise has to be formal and that you should achieve some sort of accolade for participating in it is suffocating our love of sport.  My brother and I spent one summer holiday playing in our grandparent’s empty coal bunker, it was great because the adults couldn’t get to us and we got filthy.  The amount of agility and strength required to get in and out of a coal bunker is quite a lot, we slept well at night and fat kids can’t fit into coal bunkers.

We all probably interfere far more in our children’s lives than our parents did in ours.  For some reason we treat children like they are made of fine china and neither their feelings or their bodies should be hurt.  I had bruises and scuffed knees for most of my childhood – I didn’t get upset about it and our parents were caring but accepted that it was part of childhood.  Now I am terrified of my son getting bruised and scuffed simply because I am afraid of being judge as a bad parent.

Play is definitely the secret to getting children to exercise more because it is so flexible and the imagination takes away the boredom of training.  When I watch my son and puppy playing together they are both exercising but because they are playing then don’t realize it.

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I admit that I am pretty lazy at the moment and the thought of walking in the cold and rain doesn’t appeal to me what so ever.  Nine years ago I didn’t have any qualms about putting on wet weather gear and walking everywhere. That was until I finally passed my driving test and now I have become so reliant on my car,  walking seems to be so, ‘yesterday’,  in terms of transport.  It would seem that I am not the only lazy so and so in the land because the country as a whole has become more sedentary and we are all sitting on our backsides more.

Since technology has become more interesting and the internet is user friendly we can explore images and talk to people all over the world.  I have even noticed that I know lots about local Facebook friends lives but don’t actually say more than, hello’, to them when I seem them.  I waste more time now devoting myself to rubbish online than I ever did in the past.  My backside is definitely getting bigger and I need to get into my summer clothes this year.

There are many reasons beside having a huge bum as to why we should exercise more and these include:-

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
  • Source NHS Choices

This information is reinforced by an article by Playdale Playgrounds, ‘How to help your community with a trim trail‘, in it they discuss a study by Oxford university who found that ,‘Forty four per cent admit to not taking part in any moderate exercise meaning that British fitness levels are among the worst in Europe’. This means that nearly five million adults spend the majority of the day sitting down. 10% of adults admitted to not even walking for at least ten minutes a day‘. They also referred to a study by Cambridge University who claimed that sitting down all day was worse for our health than obesity.

As parents it is our responsibility to set a good example to our children, although they seem to pick up our bad habits better than our good ones. (That’s because underneath we are all pretty naughty pretending to be good!). There are some simple ways that we can encourage our children to put down their gadgets and get moving. As the weather gets brighter it will be much easier to go out and reduce the size of our big bums.

 

 

 


Interactive playgrounds aren’t something you see every where yet so when you do find one it can be quite a treat! The mix of traditional play and a new, exciting interactive element gets kids really eager to try it out. Interactive play is both challenging AND fun, and offers another encouraging way to get children fitter!

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Another good aspect of it is that sometimes competitive sport can really only nurture the natural first team players and others can get left out or left behind.  But equipment like this is much more inclusive and gets everybody involved in a more relaxed way. Physical exercise for children is obviously hugely important, especially with the current obesity rates. This is a great way to get kids moving without them even really realising they are exercising.

Hopefully they will make a welcome change to video games. It will be great when more of our playgrounds include some interactive equipment!


The more active a parent, the more active the child.

Makes sense I suppose doesn’t it? Your child’s exercise levels are directly linked to your exercise levels.

I found this article about a yoga buff who does yoga poses with her little daughter. Now I’m not sure if this is a regular thing but those photos are adorable and it looks like they have a lot of fun. However, unfortunately, it may be the case that not all of us can a) get ourselves into those positions b) have a photographer on hand to capture the moments c) have time in the day to slow down and relax enough to do some yoga…and also d) a co-operative child!

Have a look at all the photos below…

http://www.boredpanda.com/mother-4-year-old-daughter-yoga-poses-laura-kasperzak/

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But it’s definitely fair to say that a little bit of exercise can be slotted into a daily routine in some sort of format. Even if it is just a walk to the park, a session running around in the garden playing on the swing or the slide maybe, a quick trip out on the bikes or a dance session in the living room!


…I’m off to get a yoga mat I suppose…


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I have to admit that when it comes to the Christmas holidays I am the laziest person on the planet.  I revel in the luxury of not having to do the school run slalom and motivating my son to hurry up so that we can get to school without crashing into anything.  So yes I confess I spent a lot of time during the holidays lying in bed and wandering around in pyjamas.

One morning I was awakened from my lie in by someone doing a survey about how much exercise I had done during the past couple of weeks.  I was too drowsy to fob her off and she sounded too nice to hang up on so I had to engage in weaving a huge web of  fitness lies.

By the end of the survey I had informed her that I had spent at least an hour walking everyday on a variety of terrains, I had eaten three pieces of fruit and five pieces of vegetables and that I spent a lot of time outside because I lived in the country. The only real element of truth was that I lived in the country – the rest of it was deep black guilty lies.

After feeling ashamed of myself for about five minutes I decided to look for inspiration on how I can improve my family’s health so that maybe I can tell the truth next time I am interrogated on the phone.

I had a look online to see if I could find some inspirational sites that would instruct me on how to live a much healthier approach to life but they were generally too overwhelming, serious  and quite frankly put me off.  The last blog I looked at was from the Playdale Garden site where their advice was much more friendly and I particularly liked the suggestion of having fun at the very bottom.  Yes they mentioned exercising and eating the right types and amounts of food but they didn’t lecture and get me reaching out for the Christmas chocolates.

I think that maybe the first resolution I should make is not to lie to people – but where is the fun in that?


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