Children’s Fitness Academy: Ditch the computer games and get moving!

According to research by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). 8 out of 10 of parents say their children spend up to four hours a day playing games on hand held devices, games consoles and computers and are concerned about how it affects their health and wellbeing, especially poor posture, headaches, back problems and a lack of concentration, which is why International Alexander Awareness Week (8-14 October) will this year focus on children, encouraging and supporting their parents and teachers to help children and pupils be ‘Poised for Life’.

According to the STAT survey;

  • 85% of children (who are allowed to play games on such devices) spend up to four hours a day doing so. Yes FOUR hours!
  • 78% of parents are concerned about their child’s posture while playing such games. What child sits up straight when playing games? 
  • Parents are concerned that gaming and computer use affects their child’s wellbeing with lack of concentration (32.4%), back ache (30.9%), neck ache (26.2%) and head ache (31%) all highlighted.

Angela East, of STAT, says: “Bad habits can be formed from a very young age which later lead to posture, mobility and other health problems in later life. The Alexander Technique is a great tool – it teaches you how to use yourself correctly so that you benefit from less stress and back pain and improved posture and wellbeing.

“The key is to encourage good posture and sitting among our children and young people and the Alexander Technique helps prevent bad habits, such as hunching and slouching, from creeping in and affecting their health.”

One of my top tips for posture is getting your child to sit on a gym ball when playing games.   Without knowing they will be building strength in their core because of the instability of the ball. Automatically they will have to sit up straighter and use their core section to stablize themselves – otherwise they will fall off!

The balls come in all sorts of colours to make them more appealing to you child and all different sizes (choose a size that they can sit on comfortably with their feet firmly on the ground.) They aren’t expensive either – cheaper than a computer game anyway! 

 

Active children get better grades!

BBC News has reported that there is “strong evidence of a link between exercise and academic performance”. The news service says that a review of previous research found a link, which could be due to exercise increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.

Giving us even more reasons to get our kids moving and grooving!! x

Children’s Fitness Academy; Ways To Get Fit With Your Kids In 2012

This year, make sure your New Year’s fitness resolution includes your kids. Doing so could make working out and losing weight a lot more fun!

Top get them and you in the swing of things, my advice is to engage them with fun things and even make exercise a little unusual to get them excited about working out.

For example, if you say, we’re going to take the kids out for a walk this evening, most kids are going to say, ‘Wait, we have to leave the playstation?” so you need to make the activity fun while making it something that is sports-oriented or game-oriented!

Children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, including muscle-strengthening exercises. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. See the lights. Around Christmas and Halloween, there are plenty of interesting light displays to see in your neighbourhood – go to the areas that can’t be seen from the road and surprise them.

2. Aim for two to three activities a week, tol help you reach your daily fitness goal of 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week.

3. Walk to school. That burst of activity in the morning can change their day and boost their concentration levels!

4. Replace pizza and a movie night with family fitness night at least once a month.Have a match using the Wii, do a dance off using a Zumba DVD or play golf, by putting the ball in a teacup. Get the kids excited about it.

5. Check out the fitness attractions your city offers. How about Kid’s bootcamp classes like mine or a running group or rock-climbing?

6. Make a fitness wish list with the kids. Write down every physical activity they’d like to do, and let them choose a few every month.

7. Play like a kid. A half-hour of IT, British ball dog or Traffic Lights is good exercise for you and your children. Ask them to teach you a new game that they might play at school!

8. Take it outside.  Go to a park or nature preserve and climb muddy hills, climb over stilies or feed the horses carrots in the local field.

9. Make eating out or after-dinner treats a physical activity. Walk to the restaurant or shop from home

10. Join a running club or event like Park Run, or a netball or football group. They all offer opportunities for you and your kids to have fun getting fit. 

Children’s Fitness Academy; Let children play in the street to prevent them getting fat,

Over-protective parents must let their children play in the street to save them from obesity, Labour’s Diane Abbott recently the Standard (thisislondon.co.uk).

Ms Abbott, the shadow public health minister, said: “I think London kids are especially at risk because so many mums and dads are fearful about letting them play in the streets. I think parents need to be tougher on their kids’ diets to save them from ill-health. Carrying on with the chips and PlayStation 3 culture is not an option.”

NHS figures have revealed that more than one in five children in London are obese by the time they leave primary school. The problem is worse in the capital than in any other UK region.

Ms Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said Londoners needed a “revolution” in their approach to children’s lifestyles.

“Schools should be on the front line in the battle against obesity. Healthy school dinners and the teaching of domestic science are crucial tools in improving health.

“It is important that we develop an environment where people can make healthy choices – and that we understand the significance of issues like safe play areas for kids, physical activity and also of the advertising of junk food, sugary soft drinks and alcohol.

Childhood obesity costs the capital £7.1 million a year to treat, and the National Child Measurement Programme found that 21.9 per cent of London children were obese when they left primary school, compared with 19 per cent nationally and 16.5 per cent in the South Central region, which includes Oxfordshire and Hampshire.

Children raised in towns and cities were more likely to be overweight, suggesting that outdoor play and exercise could be a factor.

Scary figures eh?

I think we do have to be very careful of letting our kids run around in the streets. But if you have a big back garden why not encourage them to get outside and play. Playstations and computer games are really not as fun as old-fashioned games like IT or tag. Why not take advantage of parks too? Swinging and climbing and swinging all use far more muscles that pressing a remote control, which burns calories and helps fight this obesity crisis affecting us. Come on parents, its time we took charge of getting our children fighting fit and in the best shape for their future!

 

 

Get Your Children Moving With These Children’s Books

Happy to Be Girls – In this book, author, Sarah Davies celebrates that it’s cool for girls to be strong, adventurous, and athletic, whether they want to be girly or tom boyish. The energetic rhymes and delicate illustrations depict young girls unicycling, skateboarding, climbing trees, and inspires them to use their bodies to explore their world. Plus it has a sweet ending: “Loud girls, Proud girls, Stand out in the crowd girls. Being just themselves — Just girls!!”
Hop a Little, Jump a Little – This board book will inspire movement for the little ones in your lives. It shows girls and boys skipping, patting a knee, bending, stretching, and moving as they explore the world around them. I love that it ends with a yawn and a nap, showing tots how exercise can help them sleep.

Children’s Fitness Academy: Diabetes could be prevented by just one minute of exercise a day

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this……according to researchers just one minute of exercise a day could prevent diabetes!

Basically

Scientists at the University of Bath asked volunteers to perform two 20-second cycle sprints on exercise bikes, three times per weeks and after six weeks, researchers in the university’s Department of Health saw a 28% improvement in their insulin function!

It couldn’t be easier – why not play catch and get your child to run as fast as he or she can to get the ball or set out some cones so you sprint to one cone, then walk to the other and visa versa. Exercise can be fun and creative and as the study suggests, you don’t need to spend hours doing it to reap the benefits.

If you would like some more ideas – drop me an email or send me a message – my brain is bursting with them!

Children’s fitness Academy: Children’s fitness and weight a concern for teachers

Wow – news just in reports that 87% of early years professionals are concerned that under- fives are not getting enough physical activity.  And 84% of respondents believe that more children are becoming overweight,   highlighting concerns that many of the toddlers in their care are becoming ‘couch potatoes’.  Not good!

I’ve said it many a-times, so sorry for harping on but it’s sooooooooo important for children to raise their heartbeats to ‘faster than normal’ for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. This will  prevent fat storage,  which can lead to later life health problems resulting from obesity including diabetes and cancer.   Making physical activity enjoyable from a young age encourages children that it’s fun to be fit and helps them to meet these guidelines naturally and it’s easy too! Keep reading my blog for some fun tips!