The summer holidays are upon us and families are set to enjoy some much-needed downtime together. However, with the summer break often comes a break from activity as school sports and PE lessons cease. With physical inactivity and childhood obesity a major health concern in the UK, parents may well be wondering what they can do to keep everyone active this summer holiday.
“Once schools break up families have more time to enjoy activity and leisure time together,” says Everyone Active Community Development Manager James Tierney. “Unfortunately, many youngsters and families are less active in the holidays than they are during term-term with their routine of swimming lessons, school game and sports club schedules on hold until September.”
Everyone Active operates a total of eight facilities for Southwark Council, including The Castle Centre, Seven Islands Leisure Centre and Camberwell Leisure Centre and advocates that people of all ages are active for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. To help families get their ‘five a week’ Everyone Active has joined forces with Fit For Sport, experts in children’s fitness, to put together these five top tips for an active summer.
- Have an evening walk after dinner: aim for a mile. As you walk, look at the nature around you and let the children gather things along the way to make a collage / collection.
- Set the family a weekly triathlon: on day one have a swim; day two a bike ride and day three a walk or run in the park. Start with a short distance and then add a little each week – see how far you can all go!
- Summer Activity Challenges. During the summer, Fit For Sport will be carrying out its exciting Activity Challenge which involves throwing/catching, jumping and running. Record your scores and look to improve them throughout the six weeks. activitychallenge.co.uk. Parents can also sign up to Fit For Sport’s monthly Fitter Families Newsletter at www.fitforsport.co.uk.
- Every week get everyone active by choosing a new activity at any of the eight leisure centres across Southwark. For instance, you could go swimming at Dulwich Leisure Centre, Camberwell Leisure Centre, Seven Islands Leisure Centre or Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre. You could head down to Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Sport Facility for a game of tennis or visit The Castle Centre for a junior gym session followed by a swim. There’s even the chance to go sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and powerboating at Surrey Docks Fitness & Watersports Centre. Take it in turns to choose what activity you’ll do.
- Play like no-one’s watching – release your inner child and take the family to the park or playground. Take plenty of water and healthy snacks to keep everyone’s energy up. Invite friends to join you and be active together.
“The summer holidays are a great opportunity to get outdoors, head to the leisure centre, try new activities and let off steam a bit” says Dean Horridge, Fit For Sport founder and CEO. “Sadly, ukactive recently revealed that British school children are losing 80% of fitness gained during term time through ‘lazy summer holidays’ so I would urge families to be active and aim for the ‘five a week’ 30-minute activity sessions recommended by Everyone Active.”
In addition to the family activity ideas, The Castle Centre and Seven Islands Leisure Centre run weekday Fit For Sport Activity Camps for children aged five to 12, giving children the chance to be active, make friends and enjoy a raft of activities this summer.
To find more information on family activities happening across Southwark please pop into your local Everyone Active leisure centre or visit www.everyoneactive.com