U12 Hockey team.
Croydon High School for Girls. G.P.D.S.T. London, UK. 1979.
I suppose I am incredibly lucky. I love to move, I always have. Ever since Junior High School, I played sport and was selected for most of my school teams. Playing and being fit was a big part of my life back then and it is now as a running coach. Playing sport gave me confidence, boosted my self esteem and keep me busy. All good things, particularly as my school was known for high achieving academic girls.
So when I hear about girls or boys not enjoying or participating in sports or even being active, it does sadden me.
Research shows if students play or participate in a sport:
- are 24% more likely to eat breakfast.
- are 23% more likely to get seven hours of sleep.
- are 21% more likely to rate themselves successful in school.
- Girls who play sports are more likely to do better at school. Even if sports take up valuable study time, those girls who participate actually do better at school than those girls who do not.
- Self esteem, which influences so much during adolescence, increases by about 10% with sport participation.
- Exercise reduces stress and pressure. Pressure is a big part of life and playing sports can help deal with it. Exercise is a natural mood lifter and a great way to relieve stress and fight depression.
- Playing sport or being active helps improve confidence, self esteem, maintaining a healthy weight, emotionally, improves learning, memory and concentration to name just a few.
It is so important to move. Our bodies were designed to move. We feel so much better when we are active than when we sit all day.
So what can we do to support our students to be more active and actually enjoy themselves?
I have thought about this for quite a while and here are a few of my ideas.
- We need as adults/parents/teachers to be role models for our students.
- We as adults/parents/teachers need to show that being active is fun and cool.
- We need to start at elementary school and teach children from a young age the importance and benefits of being active.
- Running a Golden Mile first thing in the morning could help Elementary students to kick start their learning.
- We need to encourage running in the students Happy Place which is an easy steady run.
- We need to have lessons outside more often or have outdoor class rooms so students gain the benefits from being outside.
- Playing in team sports needs to be seen as cool and healthy.
- Being active needs to be seen as being cool and healthy.
- Skinny models need to be be seen as uncool and unhealthy.
- Being inactive needs to be seen as uncool and unhealthy.
So whatever it is you do, just keep moving. Do not stop.
If you are looking to start being more active, begin slowly and do not give up. Your journey has just started.