Healthy Tip: Play like a heart champion today

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A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity* suggests that having a TV, computer or other screen based media in a child’s bedroom is playing havoc with their physical activity levels and leading to weight gain, which can be problematic for heart health.  National School Sport Week takes place 26-30 June this year and is an effort by the Youth Sport Trust to encourage young people of school age to be more active.

Young people aged up to 18 should be taking part in at least 60 minutes of exercise each day in order to keep their heart healthy.  If that seems like a big leap for your nipper’s current activity levels, don’t be alarmed, this hour of exercise does not need to be in one go.  Doing regular chunks of 10 – 15 minutes of heart pumping activity can be just as effective in keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels healthy.  
Perhaps you, your child or someone you know finds it difficult to engage with sport and exercise or needs that extra push for them to participate in group activities?  
Follow our tips to help them up from the settee, motivated for PE and leaping into National School Sport Week.

New games
There are a huge variety of sports and activities to try, some of which you might never have heard of.  You won’t know what you’re missing unless you dig around for alternative activities such as parkour, clubbercise, a treasure hunt or zombie run. There is something out there for everyone to enjoy and be active.

Be inspired
Why not take inspiration from sports and activities that are currently being played and broadcast on TV?  It will soon be time for Wimbledon; playing tennis is a fantastic way to get the heart racing, maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol and fight that puppy fat.  Racquet sports may have particular strengths in adding life to your years, with less incidence of cardio-vascular related deaths.**

Tech tracking
Whilst fitness trackers can’t up your pace for you, tapping into today’s world of wearable technology is a good way of keeping someone motivated.  Fitness trackers worn around the wrist can be used to measure heart rate as well as calories burned. Many link with a smartphone through an app, letting the user compare and compete with friends.  

Morning movement
Not enough time to exercise? Bored of sitting in traffic or waiting for the school bus? Mixing up a commute and going by bike, foot or scooter is a simple and fun way to add some heart-healthy value to your school run.  What’s more you’ll get down to work feeling much more awake with a greater self-esteem.  

Healthy boosters
Crunching healthily on fibre packed veg keeps you feeling full without packing in the calories;   a great way to steer you away from the vending machine whilst chewing on a difficult topic.  A handful of unsalted hazelnuts or almonds are great for the munchies and will keep your arteries well-oiled with the good fats that support a healthy heart. 

Take your first step today.  Just 10 minutes of fun packed heart rate boosting activity is one step closer to a healthier, happier, longer life. 

You can find out more on the Youth Sport Trust website or follow @YouthSportTrust
* International Journal of Obesity (June 2017) accessed 15/06/17; http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/naam/abs/ijo2017129a.html
** British Journal of sports Medicine (May 2017) accessed 15/06/17; http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/10/81