Shropshire youngsters buck exercise trend

[gallery] Parents in Shropshire say their kids are always on the go, despite research claiming just over half of all seven-year-olds do not get enough exercise.

Amber Heath said her energetic son Ben, seven, is always on the move
Amber Heath said her energetic son Ben, seven, is always on the move

Experts say

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And half of this age group is sitting or lying about for an average of 6.4 hours or more every day, according to research, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

But strolling through Shrewsbury town centre with his mum Amber Heath, seven-year-old Ben said he got far more than one hour of exercise a day.

"I do 50 press ups a day," he boasted, flexing his muscles. "I do football, swimming and karate."

Mum Amber confirmed her energetic son was always on the move.

"He gets up, gets his football and I would say he's outside for an hour a day," she said.

"We go swimming at least once a week and he has an hour of karate after school and that's on top of PE and the general running around they naturally do at his age.

"I think an hour a day is a good guideline if you can get children to do it and make it so it's fun.

"It's really important that they enjoy it."

Meanwhile, Jake Evans and his seven-year-old friends from Ellesmere have not been wasting their summer holidays sat in front of the TV or on computer games.

They have been running relay races, clambering under cargo nets and negotiating obstacle courses.

And while he is having fun keeping fit, mum Danni Evans and her friend Laura Edwards are helping other youngsters in north Shropshire to do the same.

Laura runs a Cardio Fit for Kids session at the Base Camp fitness studio in Ellesmere run by Danni and The Venue at Park Hall, Oswestry.

"The cardio fit classes are held on Tuesdays after school and we have also been having extra sessions on Wednesdays in the holidays," she said.

"They are for children for the age of four upwards and the idea is to have some fun while keeping fit. We also have a teen fit class for the teenagers in term time which is also very popular."

Danni said while Jake and her other children, Emily and Josh, enjoyed the keep fit sessions they also enjoyed general sport and fun.

"Jake has just spent a few days at rugby camp and he is always out playing with his friends.

"They have spent the summer riding their bikes, playing in the fields, climbing trees – it's a wonderful place to bring up children."

Dave and Vickey Jones, of Shrewsbury, said their son Ben, seven, and his sister Emma, 10, enjoyed a number of different activities and easily whiled away the hours.

Dave said: "I think the guidelines should be more than an hour a day. There are too many computer games. Children need to be kept busy. Our kids like playing outside, climbing trees, swimming, trampolining, riding their bikes and walking the dog."

The latest research, by experts including from the University College London's Institute of Child Health showed girls to be far less active than boys. Just 38 per cent of girls got their hour a day, compared with 63 per cent of boys, figures showed.

But Marie White, 40, of Eardington, Bridgnorth, believes that although her seven-year-old daughter Claudia does not take part in formal activity sessions she still gets more than enough exercise.

"Claudia, doesn't exercise that regularly, she probably does a couple of hours a day but it's mostly playful exercise such as trampolining, riding her scooter around the garden, climbing running and dog walking."

But not all parents believe their children get an hour a day. John Stevenson, 57, of Bronington, Whitchurch, said: "I don't really think my seven-year-old son, James, does get the recommended amount of exercise. The only exercise he really does is bike riding, walking and playing tennis on the yard. We'll usually be out for about three to four hours a week, or half an hour a day."

  • How do your youngsters get their exercise? Let us know in the comment box below.

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