The importance of keeping your kids active during the summer holidays

Getting your kids involved in physical activity can have life-long benefits. Picture: Getty Images

Getting your kids involved in physical activity can have life-long benefits. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When children participate in sports and activities, they get good exercise and learn life-long habits of keeping mentally and physically fit.

According to experts, the best activities for children are those that encourage their natural curiosity and interests.

In an increasingly complex and pressured world, doing something you enjoy, can be a positive way to cope with stress.

Graham Oatridge, Physical Activity Contracts Manager, YMCA England, says: "As a result of our work with young people we know the importance of physical activity, not just from a physiological standpoint but for the mental health benefits it brings too.

"We often link inactivity to obesity but it's vital for the development of bone health, self-confidence and even the development of new social skills."

Physical activity teaches children to work together, not only through team sports such as football or netball, but also activities like Scouts, Brownies or Guides, as well as drama or dance.

Out-of-school clubs can be fun and entertaining, but as Graham says, they can also teach important life skills, preparing children to become responsible, well-balanced adults.

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Participating in one or more activities can teach a child how to juggle school, homework, family life, and those activities can continue into adulthood, providing lifelong enjoyment.

Graham added: "The Department of Health recommends that all children aged between five and 18 take part in 60 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity every day yet only 32 per cent of boys and 24 per cent of girls achieve this recommendation. The school curriculum alone does not provide this level of participation and so that is why it is vitally important that other avenues are opened up to children whether that be through after school activities or other local opportunities."

The north London YMCA Fitness Centre has a range of activities on offer, including youth gym sessions and a creche. Student summer discounts are also available.

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