A survey of more than 2000 parents has found that three-quarters of children are not getting enough exercise outside of school. Further, it seems that parents vastly underestimate how much exercise their little ones need.
Public Health England guidelines say that children between the ages of 5 and 18 should be undertaking ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ for at least 60 minutes a day. This latest poll from the British Heart Foundation however reveals that less than 25% of children are meeting this amount. A worrying 14% of parents said their children did no exercise at all.
85% of parents claimed they did not know what the recommendations were when it comes to ensuring their children maintain an active lifestyle, while 75% believed children need just 30 minutes a day. This is a great concern for the next generation, as without the guidance and encouragement from parents to get out and about, there is no motivation to make exercise a long term part of their lifestyle.
85% of parents who earn £15,000 to £20,000 a year said some activities were too expensive, while almost a third blamed the lack of free or cheap facilities nearby. 37% of parents felt it was the school’s responsibility to ensure their children get enough exercise.
In the wake of National Fitness Day, which focused heavily on the encouragement of children into fitness, these results show that the nation needs a shake up if we plan to create a healthy future for our children.
Whilst many kids are active, if they don’t see their parents making fitness a priority, they’ll assume it isn’t one. What’s important to adults naturally becomes important to kids, so it’s up to parents, teachers and trainers to act as the role models they need to get them thinking in a different way.
Something our Kids Fitness Instructors know only too well. Getting young people excited about fitness is not a straight forward task. With the abundance of computer games, technology and the increase in young people owning their own smartphones, exercise can quickly take a back seat to modern technology
However, as childhood obesity continues to grow, many parents don’t have the time or knowledge to guide their children towards a healthier and more active lifestyle, which is where those qualified to do so, step in to make changes for the better. We need to be educating parents on the importance of exercise outside of the school gates. And teaching children creative, fun new ways to get their hearts pumping, in order to create a regime they’ll enjoy enough to stick at.
As with anything we teach our children to do, the more fun and engaging we make it, the more likely they’ll be to continue as they grow older. The longer we leave it, the greater impact this could have on their health in adult life.