65 per cent of children choose exercise over using a digital device

In response to recent health and obesity statistics, research out today reveals a highly positive attitude to health, exercise and sport amongst children aged 7-11 which improves as they move through primary school.

The research by Start-rite Shoes which gave children the chance to reply to recent reports that one-in-five¹ is leaving primary school obese, reveals that messages around healthy living are cutting through to the people who count.

The most compelling answers came from the 9-11 age range, which showed a marked increase in enjoyment of sport and exercise, with 69 per cent understanding its role in being healthy.

In the 9-11 age bracket:

The research also painted a good picture of health in the home with 88 per cent of 9-11 year olds saying they are encouraged by their parents to be active. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of these girls would like to do more exercise with their parents, however boys are less keen with only 61 per cent agreeing.

Three in ten children aged 9-11 (31 per cent) claim they don’t have enough time to do all the exercise or sport they would like to do. Of those who had to stop doing an exercise they enjoyed, 43 per cent of boys blamed homework and 35 per cent of girls said it cost too much. Busy parents were also a significant factor for over a third (35 per cent) of girls in this older age bracket. This certainly chimes with parents who claim that time and money prohibit their children from meeting the Government guideline of 60 minutes aerobic activity per day³.

Faced with an apparent appetite for exercise at the top of primary school, alongside reports of high levels of obesity in children leaving primary school, Start-rite Shoes tasked health, fitness, and developmental experts Brytespark, to devise a fitness format that challenges the government guidelines and is a solution for children who enjoy exercise but struggle to fit it into their busy lives.

Martin Haines, Biomechanics Coach and Chartered Physiotherapist, who led the Brytespark project explains:  ‘We know that obesity and inactivity have a significant effect on a child’s development and obesity has a substantial financial impact on the UK economy, with current estimates that inactivity costs the UK £8.3 billion a year.² Our solution was to develop routines based on the popular adult HIIT programme where evidence suggests that short bouts of high intensity exercises can have equal benefits to many of the fitness parameters achieved by activities of lower intensity and longer duration. We have applied this logic to create fun interval training routines for children. Our ‘5-4-5’ routines take five minutes to complete and are based on 5 intervals: a warm up, high intensity, low intensity, another high intensity and a warm down. Each routine will deliver many of the benefits of 23 minutes of aerobic activity and have been devised for under 5s, 5-9 year olds and 10+, to benefit teenagers who reduce their exercise as they enter secondary school.’

Start-rite is also calling on schools around the country who might struggle to complete the daily mile initiative within their tight schedule and the confines of their playground. The fun, story-led 5-4-5 routine for 5-9 year olds can be completed during morning assembly, inside or outside and will start each child on an energised, healthy and happy day ahead.

Eve Davies, Brand Director at Start-rite Shoes added: ‘Children’s healthy development has always been at the heart of everything we do, as footwear influences how the child’s whole body develops. The latest reports on childhood obesity are alarming, especially as you consider that children clearly love being active and exercise is such an important factor for growing bodies. We are encouraging children and parents to take 5 minutes in the morning and after school to do a 5-4-5 routine in the comfort of their home together. Doing two routines a day will deliver many of the benefits of 46 minutes of aerobic activity, getting everyone closer to reaching the Government’s 60 minute target.’

To get involved, the Start-rite routines can be found at www.start-rite.co.uk/5-4-5

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