SPORT RE­LIEF

McFly’s Danny Jones tells LISA SALMON how be­ing part of a sports team helped him cope with bul­ly­ing as a child, and why he’s be­hind a new cam­paign to get school kids more ac­tive

Llanelli Star - - FAMILY MATTERS -

McFLY front­man Danny Jones loves be­ing part of a team. Whether that’s on TV, with the group of tal­ented chil­dren he’s built as a coach on The Voice Kids, play­ing foot­ball for team Eng­land in last month’s Soc­cer Aid, or par­ent­ing his young son with his wife, team­work is an im­por­tant part of the mu­si­cian’s busy life.

And he ad­mits be­ing in a team is what helped him through one of his ear­li­est chal­lenges, when he was bul­lied as a child. He says: “I was foot­ball mad when I was younger, but what I loved most about play­ing foot­ball as a kid was how much it made me feel part of a team. Be­ing ac­tive also helped me get through the tough times at school – when I was bul­lied, be­ing part of a team re­ally helped with my con­fi­dence and self-es­teem.”

Be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive has al­ways been an im­por­tant part of Danny’s life too, and he’s keen to make sure his 18-month-old son Cooper, and chil­dren through­out the UK, get plenty of ex­er­cise too.

He’s teamed up with the pub­lic health cam­paign Change4Lif­e and Dis­ney UK to en­cour­age kids to get

ac­tive for 60 min­utes a day through ‘10 Minute Shake Up’ (10MSU) games in­spired by their favourite Dis­ney char­ac­ters.

Here Danny, 33, talks about his own love of physical ac­tiv­ity, and how he hopes to help get more of the na­tion’s kids mov­ing.

Were you ac­tive as a child?

WHEN I was a kid, I loved be­ing out­side and be­ing ac­tive, whether it was play­ing foot­ball or go­ing on bike rides with my fam­ily. I didn’t re­alise at the time, but be­ing ac­tive was re­ally im­por­tant for more than just my physical health – it helped me to make friends and feel part of a group.

I’d en­cour­age chil­dren to try dif­fer­ent things and keep go­ing even if you’re not the best at it. En­joy­ing your­self is the most im­por­tant thing. As I got older, I be­gan to re­alise that it also helped me to cope with anx­i­ety and now it’s a huge part of my routine.

Will you make sure your son’s ac­tive when he’s old enough?

DEF­I­NITELY, al­though I don’t think he needs any help get­ting ac­tive – I

feel like I’m al­ways run­ning af­ter him!

His new favourite ac­tiv­ity is scoot­ing, so we try to scoot down to the park most days and play a bit of foot­ball. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to keep kids ac­tive as it helps with self-con­fi­dence and self-es­teem.

What ex­er­cise do you do now?

I’VE al­ways loved be­ing ac­tive and it’s about try­ing dif­fer­ent things and find­ing what you en­joy. I go to the gym a lot these days, but I still love kick­ing about a foot­ball and box­ing from time to time. Find­ing ac­tiv­i­ties you love makes it eas­ier to con­tinue be­ing ac­tive.

As I’ve got older, I’ve started to re­alise just how im­por­tant be­ing ac­tive is. For my­self, I know that if I’m feel­ing down or anx­ious, do­ing a work­out or go­ing for a run around the park will make me feel so much bet­ter.

I’m also con­scious that I want to be a good role model for my son, so he sees all the ben­e­fits of be­ing ac­tive. Al­though, don’t get me wrong, I do also love re­lax­ing and watch­ing a film with the fam­ily. It’s all about bal­ance.

You’ve just taken part in a pri­mary school PE les­son as part of the 10MSU cam­paign. Was it fun?

I VIS­ITED a pri­mary school to find out how be­ing ac­tive helps school chil­dren feel more con­fi­dent, less stressed and boosts their so­cial skills – at­tributes that can help them deal with the chal­lenges and knocks they face in daily life. It was great to talk to the kids about the kinds of ac­tiv­ity they en­joy and how it makes them feel.

I joined the chil­dren in one of their PE lessons to help them learn some new 10 Minute Shake Up games, and it was so much fun! It’s amaz­ing to see how adding some of the kids’ favourite Dis­ney char­ac­ters to the games and ac­tiv­i­ties gets them so ex­cited to get ac­tive.

My per­sonal favourite was Simba’s Mighty Roar Jumps – jump­ing up and down and roar­ing as loud as you can def­i­nitely gets the heart rate go­ing!

Why do you think be­ing ac­tive is so im­por­tant for chil­dren?

I’M re­ally sur­prised that physical ac­tiv­ity lev­els among chil­dren are so low these days and I hate to think some chil­dren aren’t ben­e­fit­ing from the life skills that be­ing ac­tive helps you de­velop.

Be­ing a first-time dad, I feel re­ally pas­sion­ate about mak­ing sure chil­dren are get­ting out­side and en­joy­ing be­ing ac­tive.

I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced first hand how be­ing more ac­tive can help you deal with the chal­lenges in ev­ery­day life, so I re­ally want to en­cour­age fam­i­lies this sum­mer to get ac­tive us­ing the 10 Minute Shake Up games.

Danny Jones at the Voice Kids 2019 pho­to­call held at The Royal So­ci­ety of Arts, London

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