PLAYING TO GET FIT
KEEPING fit has become a major topic of conversation since lockdown, with both adults and kids turning to online exercise classes. But keeping it up now that we have more chance to get out and about is harder.
As schools reopen, PE may be more difficult if social distancing has to be kept up. Other places where we can exercise, such as swimming pools, are still a worry for some people. But now researchers have found that the solution to a healthy lifestyle may be only a couple of streets away.
The University of Southern Denmark recently published a report on what works to encourage children to be active in playgrounds. The researchers looked at new playgrounds in three schools that showed that a mixture of courts, swings, marked-out games, climbing bars, trails and balancing equipment resulted in more activity from both girls and boys. As children play in different ways, it was important to have different areas and a range of objects to encourage play. Dance areas, mirrors, loudspeakers and video screens also offered more chances of each child finding something to get them involved. The researchers believe they can now suggest better ways to design playgrounds so more children will get the benefit of activity.
The World Health Organization recommends that 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day will help to keep kids healthy and reduce the risk of obesity. It also helps to improve learning and is a mood booster. Better designed playgrounds may not be the complete answer, but as a way of getting children more active they are much more fun.