As we get set and start our new school year, we know that schools often don’t offer enough programming to keep children interested in sports.
With RunningForYourLife.ca where we have locations across The GTA and surrounding areas we are offering tips on how parents can encourage their kids to get fit.
Only half of Ontario schools have gym teachers so where are children getting their necessary physical activity?
We know that kids benefit from physical activity. Not only does it strengthen a child’s muscles and bones, and prevent excessive weight gain, but it also improves brain function and helps maintain emotional and mental wellbeing.”
Additionally, sports, beyond just physical activity, helps kids build hand-eye coordination, increases self-esteem, teaches teamwork and cooperation.
Yet, the 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card shows kids aren’t moving enough – only 35 per cent of 5- to 17-year-olds are achieving the recommended physical activity levels. And, according to the independent charitable organization People for Education, only 53% of elementary schools in Ontario have a specialist health and physical education teacher, many of which are part-time.
So how can parents ensure their kids are physically active and participate in sports?
Parents need to be proactive in ensuring their children are active. “When we were kids, we had daily gym class, and we had before and after-school sports clubs,” RFYL Owner Randy Brookes says.
Brookes adds that times have changed. “Now, school budgets are slashed and many teachers don’t have the resources to stay after school to lead sports clubs.”
The RFYL Team of trainers are often hired by the school boards to help incorporate physical activity and sports in the curriculum. The reality is there is still a gap when it comes to ensuring young people are active. “Especially for those kids who don’t make the soccer team or basketball team, becoming active is a challenge.”
One thing we recommends to parents is cross-country running. “There is no real major skill required for cross-country. Any child can begin running and it doesn’t require a lot of special equipment or access to specific facilities. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and a field.”
We encourage parents to make running fun and focus on completing goals rather than on whether their child placed in a meet or ran a good race. “We see
all the time with the kids who come to us that when running is made to be fun and there is no pressure, they fall in love with it and want to improve themselves. More often than not, you develop a life-long runner who maintains their health long-term.