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Choosing the right physical activity

How important is it that children do the right type of physical activity for their age and developmental stage?

Making sure children have positive experiences at an early age can help build the foundations for an active life. Choosing the right activity for your class’s developmental stage can be the difference between your pupils thriving and developing a lifelong love of being active or turning
their back on sport and physical activity forever.

At Go Well, we focus on making sure a child’s experience of physical activity is fun, positive and confidence building, whether that is within the school PE curriculum or in extra-curricular sessions. This means they’re more likely to want to be active in the future.

As teachers, you understand the profound impact physical activity can have on a child’s health and wellbeing. However, it’s not just about keeping them moving, it’s about ensuring they take part in activities that align with their developmental and growth stage.

Choosing the right activity to develop a life long love of being active

Different activities and sports call on different capabilities and understanding. Participating in well pitched, differentiated sessions that provide appropriate challenge and need to make independent decisions allows children to develop these skills. It also keeps them engaged and interested, and reduces the risk of injury or burnout. And, as said above, it sets a good foundation for a lifelong love of physical activity.

Children’s bodies and brains are constantly changing and growing. Different children hit different developmental milestones at different ages. An activity that might be appropriate for a ten-year-old could be too advanced or even harmful for a five-year-old. An activity suitable for one ten-year-old may not be appropriate for another ten year old. As a teacher, you play a vital role in assessing your class’ physical abilities and steering them towards activities that develop their bodies, minds and motor skills appropriately.

Prevent overwhelm and disengagement

Physical activity can be hugely beneficial for cognitive and emotional development. However, if a child is overwhelmed by the demands of a sport, or can’t understand the rules involved, it can lead to frustration or anxiety. If the child struggles to keep up or feels out of place, it will make it harder for them to connect with peers and develop positive social relationships. This is why we advocate a core task based curriculum in Primary, with a holistic approach to Physical Education; developing transferable skills to prepare for learning specific sports as they approach and transition into Secondary education.

Encouraging children to take part in activities that match their developmental stage leads to children feeling a sense of achievement. When children feel successful and competent in an activity, they are more likely to stick with it over time and enjoy being active. By guiding children towards appropriate activities you will help your pupils to excel and lay the foundation for a lifelong love of movement and healthy living.

Three things to think about when selecting activities for your PESSPA programme:

  1. When selecting an activity area think about the cognitive and emotional demands involved. Matching children with activities that challenge them appropriately can develop resilience, problem-solving skills and emotional regulation.
  2. Help children find activities where they feel supported and included, a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This will build their social skills and enhance their self-esteem.
  3. Recognise and celebrate the diversity of your pupils – their different interests and abilities – by offering a wide range of sports and activities that cater to different developmental stages, skill levels and interests. This will create a supportive and empowering environment where every child can thrive.

Get support

At Go Well offer a broad and balanced programme of activities for schools. The different sports and activities that we have carefully selected for each age group give your pupils the greatest chance of experiencing success and, most importantly, are fun for them to take part in.

We help teachers develop a staged whole-school approach to PE, school sport and physical activity, ensuring their pupils are introduced to new activities when they are physically, cognitively and emotionally ready. This means children discover a love of being active which is so important to long-lasting health and wellness.

Further information

Find out more about our different programmes and services

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    How can PE help children manage their emotions?

    Young children feel a range of emotions but often find it difficult to interpret, process or know how to express them. This can lead to challenging behaviour in class, it can also affect a child’s confidence and control, their sense of self and their resilience.

    PE lessons and physical activities are valuable tools to help children learn how to manage their emotions. During PE lessons or sport, children can also learn how to set simple goals and see how they are making progress which builds their confidence in their abilities.

    Here are seven ways you can use PE to help children learn how to understand and manage their emotions.

    Using PE lessons to reduce stress

    Endorphins are your body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. You produce them to block pain or stress, which puts you in a positive state of mind. Physical activity helps children to release stress hormones. Running around, throwing balls, jumping and skipping – any physical activity that makes children work hard and increases their heart rate in a safe and enjoyable environment gives children the chance to let off steam, release tension and flood their bodies with the happy chemical, endorphin.

    Building social skills through PE 

    PE, team sports and group activities help children learn how to work together, how to communicate effectively and help to develop their social skills. This can help build a sense of connection and belonging. Skills such as negotiation, co-operation, appreciating strengths of those around you, making positive contributions within a team, all build positive self esteem and empathy, allowing a better chance of coping with big emotions in a positive and confident way.

    PE lessons can help to regulate emotions

    Mindfulness activities such as yoga allow children to connect with their bodies and become more aware of how physical activity can affect their emotions. It can also help to calm their mind and regulate their emotions.

    Building confidence through PE

    Success – whether it is mastering a new skill, improving their own performance, achieving a goal or working as part of a team – can boost confidence and self-esteem by providing opportunities for children to experience a sense of accomplishment and pride.

    Coping with challenges

    Taking part in PE lessons, sports or physical activities often involves facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. Learning how to persevere increases resilience and makes a child better able to deal with and respond to wider life challenges.

    Using PE to teach emotional intelligence

    Sports and games provide opportunities to teach values such as sportsmanship, fair play and respect for others. Learning to manage emotions when taking part in a competition or event, and cooperating with others also helps children develop emotional intelligence.

    Don’t forget to play

    Having fun is so important, don’t forget to include time for play in the school day. As well as giving children a break from academic learning, play is an essential part of their development and supports emotional wellbeing whilst also contributing to a positive balanced mood.

    Creating a warm, positive and inclusive environment where children feel safe and supported, is crucial to enabling children to learn and understand their own feelings and those of others. 

    More information

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    Leaders aren’t born, they’re made

    We believe that with the right training and support, and by being given the opportunity, every child has the potential to be a leader. We also believe that PE lessons can be a valuable tool in helping children to develop leadership skills.

    Why is it important for children to develop leadership skills?

    Being a leader isn’t just about motivating a team on a pitch; children with strong leadership skills are more likely to be successful in other areas at school, within their chosen career and in personal relationships.

    When children are given opportunities to lead, they learn to trust their judgment and make decisions. It helps a child to find their voice and build their confidence.

    This confidence and self-belief is carried across into other areas of school and home life. Studies have shown that children with strong leadership skills tend to perform better academically as they are more engaged in their learning and are more likely to seek help when needed.

    Leadership skills can also help children to develop important social-emotional skills such as teamwork, communication and conflict resolution. They learn how to work together to achieve a common goal and how to communicate effectively.

    Using PE lessons to develop leadership skills

    PE lessons provide a myriad of opportunities for pupils to take on leadership roles, to practise teamwork and collaboration, to support each other and resolve conflicts. Here are our top three tips on how to effectively use PE lessons to develop leadership skills in your pupils:

    Incorporate different activity types – The flexible nature of PE lessons means you can incorporate different activities or challenges so children learn how to think critically and make decisions on the spot – how can you get a piece of equipment from one end of the room to the other? or what is the best way to defend against an opponent?

    Assign roles – With warm-ups, cool-downs and team activities, there are a plethora of ways for pupils to take on a leadership role and for them to build their confidence in their ability to lead others. Other roles such as equipment monitors, team captain, timekeeper can develop a sense of collective responsibility and respect for others.

    Provide training and support – creating a positive and supportive environment where children feel comfortable taking on a leadership role or practising their skills is vital. This includes giving children the right training so they develop the knowledge and the insight to be successful in the role. 

    By encouraging children to be PE leaders, you are helping them to develop important life skills. They will also be positive role models promoting physical activity and encouraging their peers to join in, and they will create a more inclusive and positive environment for everyone.

    More information:

    Try Go Well’s Leadership Package – Children will learn the vital skills of leadership and access a programme of tasks to put those skills into action. They can gain awards throughout the year for tasks completed and hours volunteered. Get in touch to find out more.

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    Boosting the quality of PE in your school

    Ofsted’s latest report on the quality of PE in primary and secondary schools recognised the importance of PE for children in helping them to build a healthy, active lifestyle. However, it concluded that ‘many schools are failing to meet the breadth and depth of the national curriculum’ and that only a small number of schools have a clearly defined and broad PE curriculum.

    What does this mean?

    In its research, Ofsted found that schools were focused on providing activities and sports rather than looking at how they could develop the skills pupils need over time to achieve the ambitious goals of the National Curriculum.

    If a school has a strong focus on a specific activity area or sport, its pupils are potentially missing out on opportunities to practise and refine their skills and build their competence and confidence, before moving on to more complex skills. It also highlighted that a large number of teachers were unable to identify these gaps and adapt content to help children to embed knowledge and competence.

    Why is it important to have a clearly defined and broad PE curriculum?

    By setting a clear objective, considering the needs and abilities of the class then choosing the most appropriate activities and sports, you can ensure all pupils are supported, have a positive experience of PE and the opportunity to achieve their goals. 

    Putting in a plan where specific sports and activities work together and follow on from each other will also help your pupils to progress and develop their skills, understanding and experience as they move through the curriculum. Sequenced curriculums with clear intent are key.

    What can you do to increase the breadth and depth of PE in your school?

    Start off with reviewing your PE curriculum. Is it clear, comprehensive and well-defined? Does it meet the needs of the national curriculum? Is it well sequenced across a key stage? Does it allow the children to be continually developing key skills?

    What is your plan for introducing different activities and sports? How will you do this and when? Is there a planned sequence that allows for development and progression as well as enabling pupils to experience different sports so they can find something they enjoy and do well in?

    Are you providing opportunities for pupils to learn about the importance of being active and the wider benefits of PE?

    You can make a start on developing PE in your school by working your way through these questions. However, given lack of confidence was cited as a reason why many schools weren’t achieving their potential when it came to PE, bringing in some external support could help to kick start the process. 

    We can help

    Trainee teachers receive just six hours of PE training. Additional professional development is therefore essential to ensuring pupils get to experience and enjoy high quality PE in your school. 

    This is where Go Well can help. Gareth and Annalisa, our curriculum experts work with schools to help PE leads to develop a well-constructed, needs-driven curriculum that matches the aims of the national curriculum and supports pupils to lead healthy active lives.

    We can audit your provision, work with you to develop a strategic plan, advise on implementation, look at your action planning and develop assessment opportunities. These sessions can be 1-2-1 or with small groups. 

    It is our mission to inspire more children to lead active, healthy lives. We would be delighted to work with you to develop and enhance PE in your schools. Get in touch to talk about how we can help you move PE in your school forward.

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    4 ways to boost concentration skills with physical activity

    A survey has found that most primary school teachers think children’s attention spans are getting shorter and classroom behaviour has deteriorated since before the Covid pandemic. 

    So, what can you do to help your pupils to build up their attention spans?

    Use physical activity to boost concentration

    Studies have shown that children who are physically active have better attention spans than those who are not. 

    Researchers discovered that students who took part in moderate physical exercise before taking a test that measured their attention spans performed better than those students who didn’t exercise.

    Young people with higher levels of fitness also demonstrate superior concentration when compared with less fit children.

    How does exercise improve attention span?

    Having a regular physical activity routine helps build the brain’s ability to ignore distractions. Exercise also helps to increase blood flow to the brain. This in turn fires up your neurones and promotes cell growth, particularly in the hippocampus. Being active releases endorphins too, which have mood-boosting effects and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. All these factors can help boost attention spans.

    A good night’s sleep is also essential for cognitive function. Exercise and being active improves sleep quality, meaning children are more likely to arrive at school rested and refreshed. 

    How active do children need to be to improve attention span?

    The amount of physical activity needed to improve attention span varies from child to child. However, most experts, including the Chief Medical Officer, recommend that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to- vigorous physical activity each day. This doesn’t need to be completed all in one go. Breaking it down to short active bursts throughout the day and encouraging children to be active outside of school makes this goal achievable. 

    Just 20 minutes of exercise before studying can improve concentration and help children focus on learning. 

    4 ways to improve attention span:

    • Add active bursts to the day. Short bouts of moderate physical activity have been proved to boost concentration and mood immediately following the exercise. 
    • Shake up the timetable. Consider adjusting the timetable so subjects requiring more thought or greater concentration levels take place after a break period and encourage active play during playtime so children arrive back in class reinvigorated and ready to learn.
    • Join a team. As well as building teamworking skills, there is some evidence that exercise which requires decision making can have added benefits in terms of building concentration as the brain is engaged during these kinds of activities. So team games like football and netball could be particularly beneficial.
    • Try mindfulness. Researchers have found that just 10 minutes of meditation a day can help improve focus and extend attention span and you can see improvements after just four days.

    More information

    Add active bursts to the school day with Fit for Life

    Try out Team Up to help children manage their wellbeing

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    10 steps for sports day success 

    Sports day…eagerly looked forward to by many, it can also be dreaded by others, including you. How can you make sure it is a day to remember for everyone, for all the right reasons?

    A break from the usual school day, sports days can be a really rewarding experience. By choosing the activities carefully, you can help to build teamwork and cooperation, with children supporting and encouraging each other. It can boost confidence and provide an opportunity to develop social skills. Bringing the whole school together also helps foster school spirit and pride, and, of course it is a great way to promote and encourage physical activity.  

    However, organising the event can feel daunting – being responsible for delivering an event involving multiple classes and possibly parents and teachers…Here we outline our 10 steps for success.

    10 steps for a successful sports day

    1. Set the date and time well in advance. Check the school calendar to make sure there are no clashes and the date works for everyone involved – teachers, pupils and parents. Decide how long it will last and what role your colleagues and parents will play – will they participate, supervise, spectate only?
    2. Decide on what you want to achieve from the event. Is it a celebration of physical activity and personal achievement or do you want to unite your school and encourage pupils to work together? Setting an objective will help you organise your plan for the day.
    3. Decide on the activities. Reflect on your objective for the day and choose activities that will best help you achieve your goal. Consider involving pupils in choosing a theme and/or deciding on what activities to include. 
    4. Decide how teams will be formed. Will you divide pupils into teams or will you allocate that task to a student group, perhaps with some guidance? Make sure each team has a mix of abilities and talents.
    5. Consider how you will recognise success. Is it first past the post or are there rewards for effort, contribution, teamwork, creativity? Who will decide on the winners? How will you recognise success – certificates, medals?
    6. Assign responsibilities. Who will be present – teachers, parents, volunteers? Who will be able to assist and how? Could they help to set up the venue or activity stations? What about managing the different activities so the event works in carousel form? Who will provide first aid or supervise groups/teams as they move between activity stations or wait for their turn?
    7. Plan the day. What will happen when? What is the order of activities? How long do you need to allow for each event? By setting out your timings you will ensure you allow sufficient time, children won’t be hanging around getting bored and you (and they) won’t be rushing.
    8. Plan for safety. Ensure you have a nominated first aider, and that everyone knows who this is and where they will be during the event. If you are allowing parents on site for the event, make sure they know where they need to stand/sit and if there are any areas that are out of bounds. 
    9. Consider the weather. Do you need a wet weather option – either a scaled back event that takes place in the school hall or fewer/shorter activities outside? If it’s hot, do you have water readily available? Make sure children arrive prepared with sunblock and hats.
    10. Promote the event. Posters in school, announcements in assembly, reminders during classes, practice days…these all help to create excitement and encourage everyone to get involved.

    Sports day is a special moment in the school calendar. As well as being a chance to show that there is more to school life than academic success, it gives children who struggle to achieve elsewhere the chance to shine. But most importantly, it is an opportunity for a school to live out its values.

    Further information

    Your School Games

    Twinkl sports day resources and decoration ideas

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    What does being a PE lead in a Primary School mean?

    You are starting your first teaching job or have been assigned as PE lead for your school – what does being a PE lead mean and how can you make sure you do the best for your children and the school?

    Being the PE lead means you have overall responsibility for the PE, school sport and physical activity (PESSPA) programme in your school. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will deliver every PE lesson or extra curricular activity, but  you will be responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the school PESSPA offer. You will also be responsible for supporting staff to deliver a high quality curriculum, assessing children accurately and look at embedding physical activity opportunities into the school day.

    What does a PE lead do?

    One of your responsibilities will be to develop a broad and balanced curriculum that has a clear intent relative to the need of your children. Ensuring that all staff delivering PE lessons are aware of the long term plan and have access to training and support if required to deliver high quality lessons will be key. As a PE lead, your role may be much wider than the requirements of the curriculum – facilitating a well structured programme of physical activities, exercises and sports opportunities to encourage the physical development, fitness, health and wellbeing of children in the school. While the specifics of the role will vary between schools, here are the main areas that you may be responsible for:

    1. Developing and facilitating the schools PESSPA offer in accordance with national guidelines
    2. Working with other teachers to ensure physical education/activity is integrated into the broader school curriculum
    3. Providing professional development and training (directly or indirectly) to other teachers in the school to help them deliver high quality physical education
    4. Monitoring PESSPA sessions to ensure that they are appropriate for the age and ability level of the children
    5. Ensuring the school’s PESSPA programme is inclusive and accessible to all children, regardless of their abilities or background
    6. Organising a programme of extra curricular activities
    7. Developing inter and intra school competitions opportunities
    8. Introducing children to a variety of new activities and sports, widening their experiences
    9. Helping children understand why it is important to be active every day
    10. Developing a positive attitude towards physical activity and sports, and encouraging children to take part in exercise and sport regularly
    11. Managing a budget – identifying the best ways to spend the School Sport Premium funding to have the biggest impact

    Being a PE lead is an immensely rewarding role and often is much bigger than people realise. You have the chance to make a significantly positive difference to the physical, social and mental health and wellbeing of the children in your care. If done well, this will have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of future generations.

    You will have the opportunity to work with colleagues across the school as well as contacts within the local community.

    More information

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    Six top tips to motivate children to be active every day

    While as adults we may struggle to fit regular bouts of physical activity into our lives, children naturally have more energy and typically spend more time in physical activities such as playing and running around so it should follow that they are easily achieving the recommended 60 minutes daily activity goal. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

    Increases in technology and screen time (which can lead to children spending more time indoors), a reduction in time for PE or games in schools, a lack of safe and accessible places to play and fewer opportunities to be active in their community all mean less time moving around. 

    Encouraging children to make physical activity a regular and usual part of their day is important for a number of reasons. It can help children maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity as they get older. It also helps with attention and concentration leading to improved behaviour in class and academic performance. 

    Physical activity can improve a child’s quality of life – helping them to sleep better, feel better and be more independent. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem and provides opportunities to socialise and make friends.

    Importantly, if you are regularly active as a child, you are more likely to be active as an adult. Supporting children to be active in childhood really does set them up for life.

    How can you motivate children to be active?

    Over the last decade, we have worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of children, sharing ideas and supporting children to move more every day. Here are our top six ideas:

    1. Lead by example: Children often look up to adults and are more likely to engage in physical activity if they see the adults around them being active.
    2. Make it fun: Children are more likely to be physically active if it is enjoyable for them. Incorporating games, challenges and other fun elements into your PE sessions can help motivate pupils to take part.
    3. Share details of sports clubs, teams or physical activity classes: Joining a sports team or going to a club can provide a structured environment for children to be active; it can also give them a sense of accomplishment.
    4. Provide positive reinforcement: Create a sense of achievement and reward children when they reach a goal. Setting small, achievable goals and praising them when they reach those goals can help build a sense of accomplishment and can motivate children to continue to being active. Use praise, stickers, or small prizes.
    5. Build on their interests: Children are more likely to be motivated to be active if the activity aligns with their interests. Ask your pupils what they enjoy doing and incorporate these into your PESSPA programme. You could also try running a ‘multi-sport taster session’ where they can try out different activities to discover new interests. 
    6. Vary what you do: Having a varied and vibrant PESSPA programme will prevent it from becoming tired and stale for your pupils and for you. Regularly refresh what you do – include a mix of traditional and more modern sports and games or incorporate challenges to keep children engaged and excited.  

    We have a number of programmes that can help you to motivate your pupils. Our Personal Best Challenge and Active Ted will help encourage children to make being active part of their everyday life while you can use our Coaching Days to give pupils a taster of new sports and activities and help you to understand what appeals to your class and gets them moving.

    Get in touch for a chat about how we can help motivate your pupils to move more.

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    Don’t fear the call – tips to get your PE Ofsted ready

    If your school has a strong PESSPA programme, your headteacher might put it forward for a ‘deep dive’ as part of the inspection visit. While this may cause a sharp intake of breath, you don’t need to be afraid. 

    We have spent many years helping PE leads, teaching staff and head teachers prepare for Ofsted visits and reviewing PE in schools. Here are our top tips to make sure your PE, school sport and physical activity is Ofsted-ready whenever the phone call comes.

    Have a long-term plan 

    Set out your long-term vision for PE, school sport and physical activity within your school. This is a helpful tool to share with an Ofsted inspector and can help guide your discussions. 

    Your plan is also extremely useful within your day-to-day work. It should be a working document, not something gathering dust on the shelf. Review it regularly and track your progress; make amendments as challenges or opportunities arise. This will show inspectors how you are actively monitoring your PESSPA and ensuring it is on track to achieve your vision.

    When putting together your long-term plan make sure you involve all stakeholders – staff, children, parents, and governors. Be ready to talk about how you consulted and involved these groups and incorporated their suggestions and ideas. 

    Some questions to answer when putting your plan together:

    • Why you have designed your curriculum in the way you have (what is it based on)?
    • How are you ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum?
    • How have you used the National Curriculum aims in planning your curriculum?
    • How does your curriculum meet the needs of different pupils – SEND, most able, disadvantaged?
    • What do you want children to know, understand and be able to do by the time they leave in Year 6 and why?
    • How does your curriculum link with your school’s values?

    This vision will demonstrate clear ‘Intent’ and allow you to discuss this in a way that is bespoke to your individual school setting and your children’s needs. Being able to discuss how you construct your curriculum and why, what works well, how adaptable it is will show the “implementation” of your vision.

    Chronicle staff development

    Keeping your skills and knowledge up to date is important in ensuring your pupils enjoy high-quality progressive PE, as is making sure your colleagues are confident to deliver sessions independently. 

    A staff and self-development plan is useful evidence for Ofsted and will mean your PESSPA continues to progress and improve. 

    • Undertake a skills audit of teaching staff in your school, identify what could be improved and how
    • Keep a record of what CPD you and your colleagues have received – this includes INSET training sessions, externally-led CPD, membership of organisations such as AfPE and reading their magazine.
    • Capture what difference training has made – both to teaching staff and to pupils.

    Monitor the impact

    You have a plan but how do you know if it is working? Regular reviews and assessments, formal and informal, will help you understand the impact your plan (and PESSPA) is having on your pupils.

    You need to know where you are starting from and where you would like to get to. Don’t just collect data for the sake of it. Make sure it connects with your vision and will give you meaningful information on which you can base decisions.

    • Set a base, benchmarks for progression and a goal
    • How are lessons differentiated? Is this effective?
    • How do you monitor progression? When do you know that children are ready to move on?
    • How do your results compare to national averages?

    Being able to discuss the ‘Impact’ of the curriculum and wider offer in place and evidence this is key.

    Further help

    We run bespoke training to help schools prepare for a deep dive into PE. Our PE specialists spend half a day working with the subject leader, either virtually or in school, to build confidence and prepare for PE to be an inspection focus. This support ranges from ensuring all paperwork is in place, analysing statistics, a mock Q&A following the trail of a child’s development within the subject or looking at how your PESSPA is impacting other curriculum areas.

    We also offer a supportive visit to audit your PESSPA and identify areas for development. This service includes a one-day visit to your school from one of our Education Team who will talk with your subject leader, Head Teacher and children regarding PE and observe PE taking place. You’ll receive a report detailing the strengths of PE and areas for further development. Our PE Health Check can be used as evidence of Sport Premium impact. 

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    How to encourage children to be active

    It was disheartening to read that just 53% of six-year-olds are doing 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. The figures for girls are even worse – fewer than half of six-year-old girls meet this target.

    The Chief Medical Officers recommend that children are physically active for on average 60 minutes per day across the week. Being active every day provides a foundation for a healthier and happier life. Regular strength and balance activities are as important as cardiovascular activities. Being strong makes all movement easier and increases our ability to perform regular daily tasks. 

    This 60 minutes doesn’t need (and shouldn’t) all be achieved at school. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity in school (Active 30) and encourage your pupils to be active for a further 30 minutes outside of school This approach means being active becomes part of daily life.

    Though it is important for children to minimise the amount of time spent sitting or being sedentary – long periods of not moving should be broken up with at least light physical activity. And children should also take part in a variety of different types of physical activity. This helps to develop movement skills, muscular fitness and bone strength.

    What does moderate to vigorous physical activity mean?

    Being active in any way provides health benefits however the more intense this activity is, the bigger the benefits for the same amount of time. As the intensity of the activity increases our heart rate, breathing rate and energy consumption increase further.

    To understand if an activity is moderate or vigorous, try the ‘talk test’ – if you can talk but not sing whilst doing the activity, it is a moderate-intensity activity. If you have difficulty talking without pausing, this means it is a vigorous activity.

    Moderate activities include walking and cycling. Vigorous activities include playing football, dancing or skipping. Sprinting, weightlifting, and press-ups are classed as very vigorous activities. 

    What can I do to encourage children to be more active?

    As we head into the autumn and winter, with darker nights and colder weather, it can be more challenging to be active every day. Here are five ideas to support and encourage children to move more:

    1. Active travel – encourage pupils to walk, scoot or bike to school (the first week in October is Cycle to School Week). This is an easy way to incorporate more activity into the standard day.
    2. Go for a swim, play football, dance, climb – many pools have fun or social swimming sessions and there are multiple sports clubs and groups in your community, share details of these with your classes or put posters up on your PE noticeboard. 
    3. 10 minute shake-up – Start the day with a Change for Life 10 minute shake-up game or encourage pupils add it to their day when they get home from school. 
    4. Take part in our 10th anniversary Deathlon – try out 10 different sports or activities over the course of a month, spending at least 30 minutes on each activity.
    5. Introduce active bursts – break up the school day with bursts of activity (before lessons, during lessons, at the end of lessons…). We created Fit for Life to give schools everything you need to make being active part of the whole school day.

    Remember, you don’t have to start big. Small changes can make a big difference over time. Help children to gradually increase their activity levels so it becomes something sustainable rather than setting up plans and goals that no one will stick to or reach.

    You always feel better for being active. We want as many people as possible to protect their future health and start their journey to a healthier life now.

    More information on encouraging physical activity:

    6 ways to integrate physical activity into the school day

    Active Ted can help schools and parents achieve Active 30:30

    The benefits of having PESSPA at the heart of the school

    Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity Guidelines