More than half (51%) of girls say they’re put off exercise at school because of negative experiences. They complain that school sport is too competitive, that being sweaty is not feminine, and that there aren’t enough female role models.
According to a report commissioned by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), almost 9 out of 10 girls aged 14 fail to meet official guidelines for physical activity. For 5 to 18 year olds, this is one hour of aerobic exercise daily and, on three days a week, some muscle-strengthening activity, eg gymnastics.
While many parents may assume that their children’s relationship with sports will just develop naturally at school, they also understand that it’s a two-way street: the children rally the parents, the parents rally the children, and everyone gets their exercise.
We all need cardiovascular exercise to keep our hearts strong. Physically inactive people are twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who do regular activity. Exercise helps ward off obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and is associated with a reduction in the risk of cancer.
And there are the psychological benefits; exercise helps adults and children feel more attractive and more confident – not just through toning and weight loss, but also a sense of control. Fitness is associated with reduced anxiety and depression, and enhanced mood, cognitive functioning and self-worth.
Help your child get fit for a sport, they could find their own identity as well as it being a great social tool. Encourage them to carry it through to university, to join as many teams as possible; it’s a fantastic way of meeting people and bonding. It’s all about having fun. It brings you closer, and then you feel even better.
The point about family fitness is that if you start them young, they grow up with exercise ingrained into their lifestyle. And while the kids are busy being sporty, there’s more hope for a “healthy focus”, pursuing healthy, active lifestyles. If you’re fit, so is your mental state. You can be thin, but you won’t be healthy if you’re not eating much food. It’s about fueling bodies to lead fit, active lives.
IT’S ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN.
IT BRINGS YOU CLOSER,
AND THEN YOU’LL START FEELING BETTER