Parents have been encouraged to get their children moving this summer, as promoting sports and being active from a young age will set them up for life.
This is what Wales’ women’s national team coach Gemma Grainger recently said, explaining it is the responsibility of mums and dads to ensure kids are healthy and active as they grow up.
“Introducing sport in a young person’s life at an early age can really start promoting good habits,” she stated, adding: “Whether we’re talking about physical activity or nutrition, the earlier one can start to educate oneself about these habits, the better.”
Ms Grainger was speaking on a panel for World Health Day 2022, alongside Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez, UEFA director of football and social responsibility Michele Uva, and a spokesperson for the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Not only does being active from a young age mean they are more likely to continue exercising when they reach adulthood, physical activities have been shown to help reduce the incidence of mental health issues in adolescents.
WHO’s head of the physical activity unit Dr Fiona Bull said participating in sports can promote friendships, connections, feelings of wellbeing and fun, all of which benefit mental health.
To get your youngsters interested in physical activity, find out what interests them. They might resist traditional sports like football or rugby, but have you suggested trying water sports or skiing instead?
There are plenty of different activities they could have a go at, from surfing to climbing and trampolining to acrobatics. The key is finding one they like, with Sport England saying more than half of children enjoy doing sports and “enjoyment is the biggest driver of participation”.
If you youngster is interested in water sports, don’t forget to get some good-quality children’s swim leggings in the UK.