Five tips for getting your child to be more active

I’m speaking on Talk Radio today about this new study.

Adolescence is thought to be the time when children go off exercise – but a study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests it happens much earlier, around the age of seven.

Sitting is replacing physical activity from the time children start school, the research suggests.

Children should get at least an hour of exercise a day.

Many of the 400 children enrolled in the study did less than this as they got older.

The experts from Glasgow and Newcastle tracked the activity levels of the children over eight years using monitors worn for a week at a time.

The amount of exercise the children did was measured at age seven and then again at age nine, 12 and 15.

Sitting too much

Although the study cannot prove what causes the drop-off in physical activity, Prof John Reilly, study author from the University of Strathclyde, said “something is going wrong in British children” long before adolescence.

He said it coincided with the peak rate of obesity cases in children and the greatest increases in weight gain – which happen around the age of seven.

Different research on the same group of children found that the time lost to exercise was spent sitting instead.

Children aged seven spent half their day sitting, and by the age of 15 this had gone up to three-quarters of their day spent sitting.

“Activity tails off from around the time of going to school, when there’s a change in lifestyle,” Prof Reilly said.

“Schools should be more active environments. There should be more activity breaks to break up long periods of sitting.”

But he emphasised that activities outside school also had an important role to play because children only spent half of their year at school in total.

 So here are five quick & EASY tips for getting your child to be more active 🙂

  • walk or cycle to school as often as you can
  • find time every weekend to do something active with your children
  • take the dog for a walk – if you haven’t got one, borrow one
  • support your child in any sport, club or activity that interests them
  • take part in a fun run or a charity challenge together.