16 Jul 7 Fun and Easy Ways to Get Active
It’s time to get active! The link between physical inactivity and obesity is well established. What’s also gradually becoming clearer is the link between physical activity and mental wellbeing. So how much exercise should you be doing as a family? And what are some fun and easy ways to start? We’ve put together some statistics, advice and tips to help your family get active this summer.
What does it mean to ‘get active’? Adults should aim to do 150 minutes of physical activity at a moderate intensity each week, and strength exercises on 2 or more days per week.
Moderate activity includes things like hiking, swimming, dancing and cycling. Even smaller tasks like gardening, cleaning and walking to the shops can count as activity. The recommendation for children is 60 minutes each day.
Exercise has a variety of positive benefits. If doctors could bottle it in pill form, it would be prescribed to everyone! Research shows physical activity can reduce your risk of dementia, depression, type two diabetes and heart disease.
And it’s not only about your health. Evidence shows that getting active also has a positive effect on mental wellbeing. It can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. A new survey from Public Health England found being active made 79% of children aged 5-11 years feel happier. 72% felt more confident, and 74% were more sociable, according to their parents.
Time to get active
So get your kids up and moving with you! Now you have all the evidence, summer is the perfect time to get out and about. To help you get active we have put together a few ideas to get you and your family moving!
7 Fun and Easy Ways to Get Active
1. Walking works
Walking counts as moderate exercise. Swap your sweltering car for trainers and breeze and walk to school or work! Get off the bus a stop early. Or for a more structured approach, try joining your local health walk. This great scheme of organised walks lasting 30 to 60 minutes is completely free. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or special shoes to take part. It’s as simple as putting on your shoes and opening the front door! Walking can also be a fun and easy way for children to get active too, while spending time with you and their friends. Find your nearest health walk scheme by clicking HERE.
2. Change4life ‘10 Minute Shake-Ups’
The Change4Life ‘10 Minute Shake-Ups’ get kids moving! This programme offers fun 10 minutes activities, inspired by your favourite Disney characters. These short bursts of fun activity get your kids moving and count towards the 60 active minutes they need every day. Shapeshift with the Incredibles, fly with Buzz Lightyear or train to be a Jedi! Click HERE to get started.
Get on your bike! Cycling through Oxfordshire with the wind in your hair is the perfect way to beat the heat. Hire a bike from Bainton Bikes and go on a self-guided cycle tour around beautiful Oxford from just £2.50. Looking for a bike of your own? Broken Spoke Bike Co-op believe cycling should be accessible to all members of the community and run an ‘Earn-A-Bike’ programme for people who are experiencing financial hardship or social exclusion. The programme provides you with an abandoned bike, then over the course of several sessions at their workshop you can learn, and do the necessary repairs to make the bike safe to ride. At the end of the programme you get to ride the bike away for free complete with a d-lock and light set. Find out more by clicking HERE.
4. Go Active
‘Go Active’ is here to help you get active for free. They provide free passes for local leisure centres, a12 week Step-Watchers walking course and plenty more fun activities. Visit their website or follow them on Facebook for a full list of what’s coming up, including ping-pong and more! Click HERE to be taken to the website.
5. Have a splash!
Swimming is a great form of all-round exercise whatever your age or ability. Swimming as a family can even help children develop skills quicker, whilst playing games and having fun. To make the most of the sunshine head over to Hinksey Outdoor Pool, where children can go for just £4! If you’re a resident of Oxford city then your children can receive free swimming sessions at your local leisure centre. It’s just a short form that lets your kids swim for free! For more details please click HERE.
6. Try yoga
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise focusing on strength and flexibility to boost your physical and mental wellbeing. Tara Yoga Centre in Oxford is a non-profit charity which offers a free yoga course on first come first served basis. Click HERE to find out more.
7. Couch to 5K
This programme allows beginners to gradually build up their running ability until they can run 5K without stopping. The plan is 9 weeks long, however you can always repeat a week until you feel physically ready to move on to the next step. Download the free podcasts by clicking HERE.
For more family-friendly advice on health and nutrition, download our resource pack.
You might also be interested in our advice on helping your family get their 5-a-day recommendation. Click HERE to read more.