National School Sport Week was introduced in 2008 by the Youth Sports Trust. Since then, the initiative has gained many supporters and increased the level of pupil fitness in schools.
This year, the campaign’s focus is “celebrating the role of play and sport in education”. That’s why we at Sunshine Gym are looking at ways to promote fitness activities in a school setting.
Why should we encourage fitness through play and sport?
Children who are overweight or drastically unfit could also develop a range of health issues.
If you improve your BMI, you lessen your chance of developing serious, weight-related illnesses. In addition to effecting long-term health, many such illnesses result in time missed from school, thus hindering pupils academically.
Participation in exercise at school will reduce this risk; pupils who get involved will be more physically fit than those who don’t.
It is also clear that children who practice regular exercise when at school are much more likely to carry this on into adulthood. On the other hand, 40% of obese children will carry on to become obese adults. Worryingly, Public Health England state that obesity can reduce a person’s life expectancy by up to 10 years.
It’s clear that something must be done to encourage a healthy lifestyle. But what about pupils who simply don’t enjoy traditional sport?
It’s vital to provide opportunities to play sports at every level of ability. Otherwise, some pupils will feel they don’t have the necessary skills to join in. Furthermore, you should consider incorporating lots of exercise into lessons – it’s important not to exclude children with pre-existing extra-curricular commitments.
With School Sport Week celebrating ‘play’ as well as sport, we’re exploring broader options for including exercise in education. That’s because added incentives are sometimes necessary to get children active!
The new face of fitness in schools?
At Sunshine Gym we have seen an increase in the popularity of outdoor gym equipment for schools. However, that’s not simply due to the popularity of the same equipment in grownups. In fact, educators are starting to see the ways that fitness equipment benefits children specifically.
Installing equipment on the school grounds normalises traditional, effective exercise as an aspect of play. Pupils enjoy the challenge and the novelty of equipment which we have specially designed to improve child fitness and coordination.
Not only this, but children can incorporate fitness equipment into imaginative play! This is an important aspect of child development as well as a means of encouraging activity in less-sporty children.
To introduce pupils to the new world of fitness in schools, we also encourage teaching about exercise techniques. For example, PE intersects with biology when it comes to muscle movement and effective exercise. You could even look at physics in relation to air resistance and at maths in relation to repetition statistics.
Remember, we learn better when we’re actively completing a hands-on task. Therefore, whatever way you incorporate exercise in your lessons make sure it is practical; there’s little point teaching fitness in schools if there’s no opportunity to put it into action!