THIS YEAR, many children are not attending school due to Covid-19 and they may be missing out on getting in some valuable exercise.
Regular physical activity in children and young people is associated with improved learning, better mental health, healthier weight status and better cardiovascular fitness.
Many children have not been getting enough.
Here, Dr Helen Flaherty, head of health promotion at Heart Research UK, provides some ideas for getting your kids walking more, whether they are currently attending school or not.
Not enough time to walk?
If you tend to drive your child to school because you are short of time in the mornings, you could look at your schedule to see whether getting up earlier, or moving things around in your diary, could help.
If your child is not currently attending school, you could try to squeeze in a short walk at the start of the day.
Too cold and wet to walk?
If you are put off walking because the weather is too cold or damp, try wrapping up warm and making sure you/your kids are protected from the rain with waterproof clothing, umbrellas and wellies.
Younger children can have fun splashing in puddles along the way.
Kids not willing to walk?
If your kids are not willing to walk, you could start by encouraging them to walk two or three times a week and increase it gradually until they are walking every day.
Try having fun during your walks by singing songs, playing games or spotting birds and insects along the way. If your kids are old enough to walk on their own, you could motivate them by asking them to count their steps using a smartwatch or smartphone and set them daily or weekly targets.