Sixty minutes of exercise a day is recommended for all children. With this in mind the Public Health Agency (PHA) is highlighting the importance of physical activity this Christmas. In particular the Agency is urging parents to help children reach this target by choosing gifts that encourage physical activity and play.
Being active every day is really important for good health. Taking part in physical activity can bring a range of health improvements which benefit both our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing.
Dr Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, PHA, said: “We would like parents to consider Christmas presents that will encourage greater physical activity for their children this holiday season.Encouraging children to be physically active is important as it can help maintain a normal weight, increase academic performance, increase self-esteem, and generally make them feel better.”
Encouraging children to play more with toys or games which require them to be physically active will help them get the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity they need each day. This does not have to be done all at once, but can be broken up throughout the day into bursts of at least 10 minutes, which add up to the all important 60.
Dr Owen continued: “Why not go back to basics with toys such as skipping ropes, footballs or space hoppers. Bikes, scooters or skateboards will also encourage your children to get active outside while still having fun. Parents can even join in too!
“If technology is firmly at the top of your child’s Christmas list you can balance it with another game which encourages activity or you could opt for games consoles which also require them to be physically active, such as dance, sports and fitness games. They will clock up time being physically active without even realising it.
“Make time to be active and have fun as a family over the Christmas holiday period. These small steps are just a few ways to help children be active and get the 60 minutes or more of physical activity they need a day.”
For further information on how to incorporate physical activity into your family lifestyle visit: www.getalifegetactive.com
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9055 3663.