Getting Children Active

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Children’s Fitness and health is a hot topic, especially in the aftermath of the Olympics.  Sitting on poolside at a local baths watching my six month old daughter have a swimming lesson got me thinking about at which point our enthusiasm for sport, active play and fitness starts to waiver.  From personal experience throughout the schooling system I was always on the go.

We’re all starting to hear the figures now so I don’t need to over stress the growing concern of child obesity.  The truth is it’s not all about fat, inactivity is also playing a huge role in health problems that occur later on in life.

I can pin point when I started to lose interest.  It was around the age of 17, or just leaving high school, that I had a different perspective on what interested me and what I wanted to spend my time doing.   I went from early morning badminton, skateboarding everyday and playing football regularly to early morning hangovers, sitting on a skateboard and occasionally kicking a ball around.  I think it was a taste of independence that took me away from continuing to live the healthy lifestyle that my parents so passionately promoted.  Now we can blame social media, games consoles, 300 channel TV’s but blaming them entirely is giving up and the battle is certainly not over.

It was 16 for me, it could be 14 for another, what-ever age it is its more relevant to the individual than it is to this blog. So what do we do about it? If you’re a concerned parent or going through what I went through I have a few possible solutions.

Number 1 – Call upon a friend. It took my brothers friend to heave my 19 year old body out of my house and to the local thai boxing gym.  He also taught me bench press, squats and basic weight lifting exercises. Does your child have a friend or do you have a member of your family who uses a gym regularly? Would they be prepared to have a rookie training partner for a few sessions at the local gym? Alot of gyms now except children under the age of 16. They’ll prescribe a detailed program and help to motivate or re-motivate said child back into a healthier more active lifestyle. Check out local gyms through a google search or look up information on your local government’s website.

Number 2 – Set a goal! A weight loss goal isn’t essential and can actually be distracting if not managed correctly. A fitness goal such as a 5km fun run is perfect. Parent and child can train together and run together. I would stress though, follow a plan! Be it one set by an experienced trainer or from a reputable running source. Following this plan will help carve a new routine and once the goal has passed could be all that’s need to help the individual continue with exercise. have a list of all the upcoming runs in your area and a few basic programs to follow.

Number 3 – Pick a sport any sport.  Lots of leisure centres are now receiving funding to offer a variety of different sports after our Olympic success.  Approach leisure centres to see what’s available.  Don’t just leave it there though. Tie this in with healthy eating.  Stress to your child the importance of food as fuel.  Don’t worry so much about eating fewer calories for weight loss but focus more on eating the right calories at the right times to improve performance.  There is plenty of easy to follow information through the NHS.

So there you have it problem solved!?  Ok maybe not but hopefully its helped kick start a few ideas if you’re just starting to think about health and fitness for your child or it’s given you a couple of new ideas if you’re already embarking upon your quest to a healthier family.


Adam Coley is the At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Wolverhampton