Getting Children More Mobile
It is frightening to read that The World Health Organisation ranks childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges of the 21st century! According to the Children’s Food Trust in February 2018, “on average across the UK, almost one-quarter of children are overweight or obese by the time they start school. Obese children are at greater risk of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and of heart disease and stroke as they get older. Obesity in childhood can contribute to behavioural and emotional difficulties like depression and reduce educational attainment. Obese children are more likely to need medical care and days off school as a result of illness.”
How much exercise should children do?
Have you ever wondered how much physical exercise children should get on a daily or weekly basis? Or how you can help your children to achieve the recommended levels of daily activity (detailed below), when timetables are already so packed and time is sparse? At Schoolscapes, we believe it’s easy to motivate children to get active while having great fun and developing both physical and social skills, by providing a wide range of outside activities, so there’s something that interests everyone.
Playtimes or break times can easily transport children’s downtime into a hive of activity if the right resources are freely available. At Schoolscapes we feel we have the perfect outside products to inspire your little learners to get not only active but imaginative and interacting socially with each other. It is well publicised that the endorphins that the brain releases during exercise help to improve mood, energy levels and even sleep are essential in helping children to combat the different levels of stress that they meet in their daily lives too. Why not create a tribe of happy, relaxed children by simply making playtimes fun and packed with activity?
One way to develop your dream play space is to use some of your setting’s Sports Premium, as the Government guidelines suggest one effective way to use your Sports Premium is by “embedding physical activity into the school day through active travel to and from school, active playgrounds and active teaching.” By investing in top quality, well-designed playground equipment, you will also be creating a lasting sports legacy for your pupil to enjoy into the future.
The following information from the Department of Health’s Fact Sheets: Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Young People (5–18 YEARS) states clearly that:
- All children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.
- Vigorous intensity activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least three days a week.
- All children and young people should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.
For children under 5, who are capable of walking, the guidance for physical activity levels recommends even longer periods of physical activity:
- Children of pre-school age who are capable of walking unaided should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day.
- All under 5s should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (being restrained or sitting) for extended periods (except time spent sleeping).
So how can we start to change this?
The following are examples of physical activity that they suggest meet the guidelines:
Moderate intensity physical activities will cause children to get warmer and breathe harder and their hearts to beat faster, but they should still be able to carry on a conversation.
We recommend our extensive Treetops Range of unique Play Towers, as they provide many options for developing different climbing and traversing skills and accommodate a high number of children at once. They provide variety, choice and challenge to all children. Our robust Adventure Trails also create an environment where many children can explore and play alongside each other and can also be used for imaginative play. Our colourful Cycle Tracks and Play time Garage allow children to exercise on bikes, trikes and scooters without even realising they are increasing their fitness levels at the same time as learning to share and take turns!
For younger children, our Little Mover’s Range of portable adventure trail equipment is perfect to inspire little ones to climb, balance and develop their motor skills and confidence. Find out more about the benefits in our post: Motivating Little Movers with Movable Mountains.
Vigorous intensity physical activities will cause children to get warmer and breathe much harder and their hearts to beat rapidly, making it more difficult to carry on a conversation. We recommend our Outdoor Gym Equipment Range, which includes a variety of Wooden Multi Gym Training Stations, Step and Dip and Gym Bench as well as both a children’s and Young Adult’s range of Outdoor Gym exercise equipment. The Children’s Air Skier is a real playground hit!
With our Outdoor Gym equipment, we also provide a handy, easy to follow Exercise Guide which provides clear information about the muscle groups being used and includes fun activity ideas ready to use with your children. The key information is provided in a visual format that is easy to share with your children. So your children will be able to hop on and ‘Go, go, go’ in a safe and informed manner!
We also recommend sports like football and netball etc, which can be played in all weathers on a MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) or 3G Sports Surfacing. If you’re interested in creating an amazing sports space, Schoolscapes can make your life easy, as we design and install Sports areas, supplying the Junior Goals, Targets, Sports Fencing, Surfacing and Line Markings! We are a one-stop-shop for creating perfect, low maintenance sports areas! What not read our informative Schoolscapes blogs on Outdoor Play Surfacing Made Simple and Create Future Sports Stars! for more detailed information?
Physical activities that strengthen muscle and bone involve using body weight or working against resistance. Activities like swinging on playground equipment, hopping and skipping and sports such as gymnastics or tennis develop and strengthen muscle and bone. At Schoolscapes we have a wide range of playground equipment that has been designed to develop children’s muscle and bone strength, including our Jungle Swing, Tarzan Traverse, Monkey Ladder, Monkey Bars, Firefighters Pole etc. Quality products like our Rocking Log, Traverse Ropes, Spring Surfer, Wobble Plank, Balance Beams, Balance Twister and Parallel Bars develop co-ordination, balance and other gymnastic skills. For those enthusiastic climbers, our Rocky Split Traverse Wall, Rock Wall Climber, Climbing Wall Panels and range of Climbing Holds sets provide a variety of safe options to create a fun climbing environment suited to your setting.
Reduce Sedentary Behaviour
It is important to help your pupils to minimise their sedentary behaviour, such as watching TV, using the computer or playing video games, by educating them about the negative side effects. If they are taught about the positive effects that exercise has on the body, they will start to understand the relationship between being active and being healthy. Even if a child arrives at school by vehicle, there are ways that they can be encouraged to increase their daily activity whilst travelling to school. See our post: Walk to School Week: 5 Day Challenge for your Pupils! to get more top tips to reduce your children’s sedentary time.
So what are the benefits of being active for at least 60 minutes each day?
As you can see above, there are so many options to easily increase activity levels in your outdoor setting for all children. Why not call our knowledgeable team of Playground experts here at Schoolscapes to discuss the best ways to use your space effectively and to get maximum benefit from your Sports Premium? Active, fun playtimes will reduce behaviour issues during learning sessions and will improve your children’s cardiovascular health and bone health at the same time as increasing their self-confidence and developing their social skills. High quality, well planned, active playground provision will help your pupils to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level, which will, in turn, contribute to making them happier, healthier, more successful and confident learners as they travel ahead into their future lives.