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How to Encourage Pupils to Exercise at School.

As a nation we need to encourage our children to exercise more often. With 20% of children leaving primary school, and 25% of high school leavers classed as clinically obese, now is the time to act. Health experts have stated that the childhood obesity epidemic comes from the fact that children spend too much time in front of a screen, and not enough time outdoors engaging in physical activity. Obesity in childhood is not only detrimental to their healthnow, but if allowed to be carried on into adulthood it can cause life threatening diseases such as type two diabetes, certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, in order to take a step in the right direction of tackling childhood obesity we must encourage more children to exercise whilst they are at school. 

Children spend approximately six hours per day at school. The hours spent at school lie between eight and four, which especially in the winter months is the majority of the daylight hours. This means that it is paramount to a child’s health that they use their time at school to get their daily recommended amount of exercise.  Therefore, we have come up with a small list of ways in which children can get their exercise whilst at school, without disturbing the school curriculum. 

Walking or Cycling to and From School. 

The simple act of walking or cycling to and from school can increase a child’s health and fitness levels by a significant amount. Walking and cycling are both low impact using the equipmentexercises which can be enjoyed by all. Walking is also a very sociable form of exercise and can be made more fun for younger children with the introduction of walking games. Games such as ‘I Spy’ are not only fun but are also educational and can encourage independence. Allowing children to explore their surroundings will allow them to gain more from this simplistic exercise.  

Though many working parents may not have enough time in the mornings to walk theiryoung children to school, there are plenty of options available which allow you to add this extra exercise into your child’s day. Many primary schools offer a ‘walking bus’ service. This service is run by adults that work at the school and children are picked up along a traditional bus route. This option not only allows for children to add more exercise into their day but it also encourages social interaction between other children in the school. Children who they may not necessarily normally interact with.  

The Daily Mile.

 key stage 1 playgroundAnother great option available to children, which will increase the amount of exercise that they get throughout the school day, is the Daily Mile. The Daily Mile is a great initiative which encourages all pupils to run, walk or jog for one mile per day. This is a one size fits all activity which means that no matter the child’s age or ability, everyone can get involved. 

This initiative was set up in 2013 in the UK to improve the fitness levels of children in our primary schools. The Daily Mile was set up as a fun, fitness activity which needs no specialist equipment. This means that every pupil from every school can get involved. This is a non-competitive form of exercise which comes with a whole host of health benefits. Not only does it boast to improve a child’s fitness in just four weeks, but it also is proven to boost confidence and have a positive effect on pupils’ behaviour, mood and concentration. 

Active Outdoor Play. 

Young children can often get enough exercise from engaging in active play. Engaging in playground games such as ‘tag’ or ‘chase’ can get pupils’ heart rates elevated childrens horse riderwhich can help to improve a child’s cardiovascular fitness. It is recommended however, that children also use outdoor playground equipment as it encourages a full body workout. Just one hours’ worth of active play on play units or climbing frames during school lunch breaks or play times, will reduce your child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese by a significant amount. 

Use of playground equipment not only aids in improving childhood fitness, and weight loss, it is also lots of fun too.  Encouraging children to exercise is not always easy, however by employing fun and innovative new techniques like exercising through play, helping children to get fit becomes easy. 

Outdoor Gym Equipment.

Another fun way to encourage children to exercise during school hours is to employ the use of an outdoor gym! Outdoor gyms were introduced to the UK in 2011 and have since become a fitness phenomenon. Outdoor gym equipment is not only great for working out and fitness, it is also so much fun too. Children’s Outdoor Fitness equipment is a great way to encourage children to stay fit. These smaller versions of adult gym equipment is suitable for use by children aged four to eleven and is a great way to introduce them to exercise. 

tai chi discsOutdoor Gym Equipment can be placed at both primary and high schools and can be used during play times, as part of a PE lesson or even for use during after school fitness clubs. The equipment works in a similar way to indoor gym equipment, yet gives pupils a fun and safe way to stay fit and healthy without them even realising. 

Not only is outdoor gym equipment for schools a fantastic way to encourage more pupils to improve their fitness at schools, it is also a great way to introduce pupils to a fit and healthy lifestyle. By introducing young children to equipment such as this, they are much more likely to carry on exercising in this way after they have finished school and long into adulthood, thus helping to put a stop to the UK’s obesity epidemic. 

Encouraging children to exercise whilst at school is extremely beneficially to both their health and wellbeing. Children who are fitter and healthier are proven to perform better at school. Children who engage in regular exercise are also proven to have reduced stress,allowing them to concentrate better on classroom work and in tests. 






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