Keeping Fit

Exercise is fun and good for you – here are some more good reasons to get moving…
Street dance session; dancers jumping

Did you know that one in three children aged 12-15 are either overweight or obese (really overweight)? That is pretty surprising and quite worrying. This is partly because children just are not getting enough exercise, and also because they are not eating healthily. Some children and young people are not interested in playing sports or being active. But they should be. These things not only keep your weight healthy, they also make you feel really good.

Take action: Visit Activities Oxfordshire to find out about activities in your area, get motivational support, find courses, classes and more!

How much exercise is enough?

You should get at least an hour of exercise each day, which should make you hot and at least a bit out of breath. Twice a week (or more if possible) you should also do things that make your bones and muscles stronger and more flexible, like running or other activities where you are on your feet, rather than swimming, or riding a bike.

Take Action: You don't have to get sporty to get fit. Did you know that walking briskly for just 10 continuous minutes counts as exercise? Download the Active 10 app and walk your way to health!

For many kids, these recommendations are not a problem because they are always running around at school or at home, kicking a football with friends, cycling or walking to or from school, swimming and doing other stuff. However, some children stay away from being active for lots of different reasons. These might include:

  • Being embarrassed
  • Being worried about not being good enough at sport
  • Not having the right clothes or equipment

If this is you, then you might want to start on your own. There are lots of exercises you can do at home, using videos, for free!

Why not have a go at being more active now with this Change 4 Life dance video?

Nu Sxool & R5 - Loud dance routine tutorial

But what if ...

I’m the only one in my family that does any exercise? This does not matter. Being active is important for you – and your parents, brothers and sisters and others also need to get moving, so why not set them an example?

I get big muscles? This is something girls and boys might worry about, because they don't want to look big, bulky or too sporty. But unless you’re doing really specific exercises designed to bulk muscle (usually particular kinds of weight lifting) you will build lean muscles that make you look fit, not big. 

I don’t have time? Build exercise into your normal daytime routine: walk or cycle to school, play a team game with friends at lunchtime, stretch or do circuit training in front of your favourite TV programme.

I’m not sporty? If you're not sporty, don't do sports. Fast walking, dancing, running, ice skating, hill walking, skating, conservation volunteering, and horse riding are all ways to get active and still avoid sports.

I’m too embarrassed? Go along to clubs with friends or family, or join in a small group activity. The teacher will make you feel welcome and you might even make some new friends!

I get hurt or injured? Being fit will make it easier for you to recover from injuries in the long term, but when you're starting out, take it easy, build up gradually, go for non-contact sports and don’t over do it!

My opinion: The main reason I play football so much is that you're having fun and not even realizing you're doing yourself a massive favour in keeping fit! But, there is actually a lot more to football than playing it. Football is one of the most popular sports in the world so it is therefore hot in the media, especially television. Watching football on TV in the form of Match Of The Day is almost religion for me every weekend keeping up to date with The Premier League. Also, a big aspect of football is who you support. I support Oxford United and go to a few of their games as well. If you are thinking about playing football in some shape or form, you wont have to look far as you will find opportunities almost everywhere for your skill level and age group. To find some go to Activities Oxfordshire. - James Gild, 14

Why it’s so good for you

Exercise is so great for you because it:

  • Makes the heart stronger and lungs healthier
  • Strengthens bones, tones up muscles, improves flexibility
  • Releases ‘feel good’ chemicals (endorphins) in your brain so you feel happier and less stressed.

Combined with healthy eating, it can also make you feel more energetic and fit, and help you find the energy to do your work and study.

In fact, there’s no good reason NOT to do it!

My opinion: Children and young people should do exercise because it helps achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. You can read more information about this on the ACE website. You can read about facts why children need to do exercise. Obesity has in increased from the ages 6-19 by 15%, almost quadruple what it was in the late 1960s. In my opinion I think that children should do exercise because if they do not, all the kids will get obese and that will make them non-healthy, and it would also decrease self-esteem for all the children. - Murat, Oxford 15

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