The POWER of physical activity

Keeping the kids busy over the summer holidays is often a major stress for parents, and now summer is over, it is easy to take your eye off the ball! However, the benefits of keeping the kids physically active cannot be underestimated.

Benefits which can improve almost every aspect of health; it develops coordination; makes you feel happier; improves bone and muscular strength; reduces the risk of chronic disease; helps maintain healthy weight; improves energy levels; and can even improve brain function. Wow!

So just how much physical activity should the kids be doing? We caught up with James McGinn, partnership manager, North Liverpool Sports School Partnership to get his expert opinion. The Chief Medical Officer for England recommends that children and young people aim for at least 60 active minutes per day. Don’t panic! Physical activity can come in many guises and now the kids are back in school, the new Sport and Physical Activity Action Plan means schools have to ensure that all pupils get at least 30 for those 60 minutes during the school day.

At Liverpool School Sports Partnership (LSSP), when thinking about physical activity, they encourage people to use POWER, which stands for Pulse raised; Out of breath; Warm face; Energised; Regularly. Be it simply going for a walk after dinner; playing in the park or street; joining a sports team or club; learning martial arts; riding a bike / scooter to and from school,; dancing; helping in the garden; climbing; skipping or bouncing on the trampoline, they are all great forms of physical activity.

For James with three very different children, the important thing he says is to encourage them to have fun and try to reduce the amount of screen time.

As the list of ideas demonstrates, it doesn’t need to cost you and it shouldn’t always be about winning or losing. Although, he uses healthy sibling rivalry and encourages his to be active and adds that they are great at coming up with their own games, although ‘last hit’ can sometimes get out of hand! James’s children spend hours playing on the trampoline playing their own form of ball tag. They both bounce on the trampoline. One of them puts a ball down. They try to bounce so the ball hits the other (point awarded). If the ball is about to fall off the last one sitting down has to retrieve it. A game full of fun and exercise!

If you are looking for more information / ideas on what to do with the kids James says the Change 4 Life website is worth a look.

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