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How do you get the kids more active? Steph Inglis has some cunning plans...

By Contributor

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Mother and daughter practice yoga at home.
Mother and daughter practice yoga at home.

LAST time we chatted about how we adults can find ways to become more active and healthier. But it doesn’t stop there. We must show future generations the same path!

As a former professional athlete I think the most important role for any athlete is to encourage everyone to become more physically fit as the domino effect can positively influence other areas of our lives including our mental health.

“OK Steph, why don’t you try and get ‘Robert’ and ‘DJ’ off the Xbox?”

Or, “'Stacey' is always glued to a small screen – a tablet, my iPhone playing games. Good luck changing that habit!”

The BBC reported children aged 5-16 spend on average 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen. That is a scary statistic, but what’s even scarier is that data was collected in 2015, so I dread to think what the number is now.

This is where we all come in to help break the trend and create new habits.

Last time I spoke about getting out in the outdoors and walking – why not make this a nightly activity after dinner with the whole family?

There are numerous benefits from taking a walk after dinner, helping build strong relationships as we catch up on each other’s day as well as just helping break down our food to help our digestive system do its job!

Here are some ideas to help get children moving if you are struggling to pull them away from their screen:

If Frozen is their favourite film why not allocate a character to the family the next time they watch it. Child 1 = Olaf, Child 2 = Anna, or let them choose who they want, and every time their character’s name is said they have to jump up and do 10 star jumps or 10 press ups or whatever exercise they come up with and agree on. Throughout the film they could accumulate over 100-star jumps. Get them to tally them up and compare at the end.

Another method I find which motivates the whole household to get active is to create an activity tracker. Create a bar chart with everyone’s name at the bottom with the side axis going up in 15 minute increments. Everyone tracks over the week how many active minutes they have, and the winner gets a reward.

Another great way to help get children active and achieve their one hour of physical activity a day can be joining a sports club. Reach out to your school and the active schools co-ordinator (www.highlifehighland.com/sport/find-an-active-schools-co-ordinator/).

They will be able to advise you on clubs running within the school and have good connections with community clubs.

A lot of the active school clubs are led by teachers, parents and club coaches and are mostly free, so finding out more information on this would be beneficial.

As a former active schools’ coordinator, I have experience setting up a variety of clubs in schools including football, netball, running, dodgeball etc and my advice to every pupil is to go and try something.

You don’t have to have any previous experience of a sport or even know the rules, we join something to try and learn. What is the worst thing that could happen?

Best case scenario, you find a club you really enjoy, you make new friends and who knows where that could lead.

Let’s get active Highlands!

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