Shropshire family bucking decline in children's activity trend
24th March 2016
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A report by ukactive was released today showing that most British parents are concerned that the rise in the use of tablets and smartphones amongst their young children is contributing to a decline in the overall amount of exercise they do – but a Shropshire family is thrilled to be bucking the trend!

ukactive polled more than 1,000 British parents in order to gauge their opinions on their children’s use of technology and whether this impacts on physical activity levels. The findings suggest that parents believe that regular access to technology is limiting their children’s activity levels.

ukactive advises a broad approach be implemented in order to get children active, including out of school time.

The other key findings suggest that it is more difficult for today’s parents to encourage children to become physically active than any generations that have come before. This is largely due to limited affordable opportunities for children in their local areas and inadequate information from the government about the health risks of excessive time spent sitting around being largely sedentary.

The report also revealed that parents see technology as a barrier to activity and the difficulty in getting children active is due to the sharp increase in the number of children using tablets and ipads in recent years.

However, the Jassel family from Hadnall, near Shrewsbury, has decided to take initiative and make a change! Parents Harmesh and Susie regularly enjoy the chance to exercise alongside their daughters Aaina, 12, and Simran, 10, both pupils at Shrewsbury High School.

Mum Susie said that the family make the most of having a family membership at The Shrewsbury Club in order to lead an active lifestyle. Their membership also stresses to their children the important of an active lifestyle for the future, which the parents believe is crucial to improving the way children see fitness.

Susie added: "Every household seems to have ipads, computers and games, which is brilliant, as it can be great family entertainment, but it's nice for our girls to get out and do something different, to perhaps go on the treadmill in the gym, and they love it.

“They do PE at school but it's nice to come out of that environment and do something together as a family as well, which is what our family membership at The Shrewsbury Club allows us to do.

“The girls also use the holiday camps at the club which means they get to swim, play rounders, football, try cheer leading, all sorts of different things. They're playing games, having fun, and they don't realise they're getting a bit out of breath or having some exercise as it's part and parcel of the way they live.

“They also do cardio fitness now as The Shrewsbury Club run classes for different age groups. The girls have had an induction in the gym, so they can use the treadmills and cross trainers. There is also a family spin class we've been along to on a Sunday, so it's all enjoyable.”

ukactive's recommendations say that as part of the government’s investment into children’s physical activity confirmed in the 2016 budget, some funding should be put aside for an ‘Active Families Premium’ to provide affordable, engaging opportunities for children to be active during times between school such as the holidays, so that parents and children can be encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle during months away from structured physical education.
It adds that the existing ‘PE and Sport Premium’ should be effectively rebranded as the ‘Physical Activity Premium’ in order to ensure that the language and objectives are consistent with a singular focus of getting 60 active minutes throughout the day.

Alvin Ward, manager of The Shrewsbury Club, emphasised how always coming up with new and exciting ways to encourage young children to lead more active lifestyles is so important: “There's a lot of health clubs locally, but not many focus on the whole family like we are proud to do. We think it's important for families to be active together and it's a great way for parents to set an excellent example to their children about the benefits of regular exercise. That's why we introduced family memberships offering a fully dedicated family activity programme.

“We offer 35 different children's activities each week for all different age groups from two up to 15. We provide activities that children can enjoy with the help of our friendly, expert staff while their parents or guardians work out separately. Our family programme includes activities where children and parents can also enjoy playing and exercising together, from parents and toddlers swim time to family spin.”

For more details of the family membership packages on offer at The Shrewsbury Club, please call them on 01743 467755.

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