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Blogs

News and updates from Fit For Sport.

National Growing for Wellbeing Week

National Growing for Wellbeing week celebrates the many benefits that growing produce can have on your physical and mental wellbeing. Strong evidence highlights the benefits of gardening on mental health; these include improved confidence, concentration and self-belief, improved mental and physical health, opportunities to communicate and connect with others, and the chance to acquire a new skill.

Children love to be outside, kicking balls around or finding bugs, but how can we get them involved in the gardening? Children will love to get involved with planting fruits, vegetables and herbs. Gardening is great for children as they can watch their plants grow and learn how to take care of them. Once they have grown their produce, they can reap the rewards and help cook something up with what they have grown.

This activity is also great for fussy eaters, as children are more likely to try new foods if they have participated in the growing process. Don’t let this stop you if you do not have a garden! Did you know that you can grow herbs on a windowsill? Save some jam jars, clean them out, fill them an inch from the top with soil, sprinkle the seeds of the herbs you would like to grow on top, add a dusting of more soil, water and watch as they sprout. This is something children can do with little direction too.

Why not make a start this weekend by growing some mint which you can then use in cooking, as well as for creating your own lip scrub!


Jellyfish Breathing Buddy

Jellyfish Breathing Buddy

With this year's theme for Mental Health Awareness Week being Loneliness, we want to ensure that our families and children get talking. That's why, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we'll be delivering a range of feel-good activities at our Extended School Clubs with a focus on building relationships and sharing our feelings.

Supporting Mental Health doesn't stop for us at the end of our clubs! That's why we're sharing an at-home activity that our families can try at home called 'The Jellyfish Breathing Buddy'.

We understand that it can be hard to understand the concept of deep breathing - especially for children. So, creating a visual aid to support this can be extremely beneficial. Once your child has mastered the skill of using the Jellyfish Breathing Buddy, you can use it when your child is upset, feeling anxious or worried and it can even be used as part of your bedtime routine to bring a moment of calm and relaxation, deep breathing before bedtime has also been shown to improve sleep.

What You Will Need:

  • White card
  • Googly Eyes
  • 2 x Coloured Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint (Colour of your choice)
  • PVA Glue
  • Double-sided sticky tape

How to Make It:

  1. Print this template onto white card.
  2. Paint the card using a colour of your choice and leave it to dry.
  3. While the paint is drying, cut the tissue paper into 10cm strips that are around 2 cm wide.
  4. Once the paint is dry, cut out the template. Ask an adult to help you if you need it.
  5. Turn the template over to the non-painted side and place a thin line of PVA glue along the longest edge.
  6. Stick the strips of tissue paper along the bottom of the template where you have placed the glue.
  7. Once the glue is dry, turn the template back over and stick a strip of double-sided tape onto the area marked “stick here. “
  8. Curl the template around until the ends meet and stick together using the strip of tape you have already placed.
  9. Add the googly eyes, draw a smile and any additional decorations you have e.g. gems, glitter, etc...
  10. Place the top of the jellyfish over your mouth
    1. Breathe in through your nose to the count of 5
    2. Then breathe out through your mouth to the count of 5
    3. Try to keep your breath steady and see if you can make the Jellyfish tentacles wiggle for the whole 5 seconds as you exhale.

How to Get into a Healthy Exercise Routine

We should all be trying to move our bodies at every opportunity we get. It doesn’t matter for long for – the main thing is that you gradually build a little more activity into your day. Three 10-minute sessions of exercise produce the same results as one 30-minute one.

Choose an activity and do it as often as you can and for as long as feels comfortable. Then build it up gradually – an extra walk here, an extra swim with the kids there. It’ll challenge your body and you’ll soon get fitter.

How much exercise should we be doing?

Aim to do something active every day. Experts recommend spending 30 minutes doing some kind of activity that makes you breathe faster and your heart beat faster at least five days a week. However, if 10 minutes is all you can manage, that’s a great start too! This then enables you to gradually build up to your 30-minute target.

Getting started

Take it easy to begin with. Exercise should never feel painful or leave you completely puffed out. If you push yourself too hard you risk injuring yourself and you will want to give up. If you can have a leisurely conversation while you exercise, you probably aren’t working hard enough. If you can barely speak a word, slow down! Begin slowly for the first few minutes and build up gradually – this will help protect your muscles and joints from injury. Cool down gradually when you come to the end of your activity.

Choosing your activities

It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit with your lifestyle. It’s no good trying to jog if it leaves you bored senseless, and don’t join a club if it takes too much effort to get there regularly. Be realistic, start gently and build up gradually over a few months.

Walking off calories

If you walk for 30 minutes on the flat, at a moderate 5km/h, you’ll burn around 160 calories. If you walk a bit quicker, at a brisk 6.5km/h, you’ll burn 200 calories. Add some hills and you could burn an extra 100 calories.

The simplest way to get fit is to walk more. Whether it’s taking the kids to school or walking to work, the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is a great way to build activity into your day.

Walk more

You can walk anytime, anywhere. It’s simple, it’s free and it’s one of the best ways to get fit. To turn every day walking into fitness walking, lengthen your stride, quicken your pace, keep going and do it regularly.

At home

If you don’t fancy going out running, you can still get fitter in your own home. There are dozens of ways to get active without leaving the house.

  • Put on some music and dance around the house – it’s a fantastic and fun way to get fit.
  • Get fit while you brush your teeth – stand on your right leg while you brush your teeth with your left hand for a minute. Then swap over. Easy!
  • Make housework into a workout. When you vacuum, dust, clean or scrub, do it a bit faster and work up a sweat.

Top tip

There is no ‘best way’ to get fit. Any movement is good and it doesn’t have to be a gym workout. You can fit lots of physical activity into your life by doing things you enjoy. Dance, ride a bike or take a brisk walk. It all counts. If you’re short of time, break down your daily exercise into ten-minute activities.

Everyone needs to spend more time being active and less time in front of the television. But that doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym. There are loads of activities to do around the house.

While watching TV

You don’t have to give up your favourite programme to exercise. Here are some ways to get fit during those advert breaks.

STEP TO IT

  • Once the adverts start, walk up and down the stairs once before returning to the TV.

PUSH ‘N’ CRUNCH

  • Try to do as many push-ups as you can during one advert. For the next advert try to do as many crunches, or sit-ups, as you can. Keep going until the end of the break.

HAPPY HEARTS

  • Try marching or jogging on the spot. Do some jumping jacks or knee-lifts.

IN THE GARDEN

  • Working in the garden, raking leaves, digging – these activities all burn around 350 calories in an hour. They’re also great for toning the muscles in your arms, legs, back and stomach. An hour of energetic digging and weeding can burn as many as 500 calories.

Changing Habits: Becoming Fitter & Healthier

The reason why some people succeed and others don’t is less to do with talent or luck and more to do with how a person thinks. Making an effort to build more activity into your daily life might seem like hard work, but, it is easier than you think. If you believe you can, you will. If you believe you can’t, you probably won’t.

So, now you are in the right mindset to start on your fitness journey with your family, let’s think about why it is important for you all to keep active. Becoming fitter and healthier not only gives you more confidence in yourself but it will help you feel great too. There are loads of great reasons for getting more active, here are just a few:

  • You will feel less tired and have lots more energy
  • Being fit helps children concentrate
  • Your body will be more able to fight off those pesky germs
  • It helps strengthen your heart and lungs
  • Get stronger muscles
  • To live longer and cut risks of diseases such as heart disease
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Help you feel happier and cope better under stress

FUN FACT:- half an hour of playing frisbee increases your heart rate and burns about 100 calories – equivalent to four squares of chocolate


The Importance of Nutrition

Nutrition for children is based on the same core principles as nutrition for adults. The key to proper nutrition is a healthy and appropriate balance of diet and exercise that complements a healthy lifestyle.

The five main food groups include grains, dairy, protein, vegetables, and fruit, and are generally a good starting point for any child’s diet. The portions of each respective food group will depend heavily on age, genetic makeup, and physical activity. It is important to understand each food group to develop a well-balanced and nutritious diet for your child.As children grow and develop, they need important nutrients to be strong and healthy. Some of the benefits of healthy eating include:

  • Maintain high energy levels
  • Strong bones and teeth
  • Improved mental health: Makes us think clearly and be more alert
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Preventing chronic diseases

As parent and guardians, we understand that mealtimes can sometimes seem daunting because of busy schedules and time constraints. Creating and maintaining a sense of routine in your diet will help you and your child look forward to mealtime. Here are ways to help create healthy mealtimes.

  • Plan weekly meals together, so you can talk about healthy food options.
  • Take your child to the supermarket so they can see healthy options and talk about them. Have them pick foods from each different nutrient to consume throughout the week.
  • Read the labels for nutritious facts with your child.
  • Cook meals together to show them that what they are eating matters.
  • Challenge your child to fill their plate with as many different colors as they can – eat the rainbow!
  • Make it a competition - by having your child try something new they have never tried before. Maybe they will end up loving it!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Supermarket Vouchers

Families whose children are eligible to free school meals are able to claim a £15 supermarket voucher for each week that their child is off for school holidays. So, how can you make the most of this limited budget? We have put together a sample shopping list with prices taken from a mid-range supermarket and have also included some meal ideas using items brought from the list as inspiration.

Sample Shopping List:

  1. Wholemeal bread – £0.60
  2. Baked beans (reduced salt) – £0.30
  3. Block of store-brand cheddar – £1.55
  4. Sweetcorn in water – £0.42
  5. Tuna or salmon chunks in water – £1.00
  6. Couscous – £0.70
  7. Low-fat mayonnaise – £0.69
  8. Shredded lettuce – £0.69
  9. Easy peelers – £0.69
  10. Bag of apples – £0.79
  11. Chopped Tomatoes – £0.45
  12. 6 large eggs – £1.30
  13. Jacket Potatoes – £0.39
  14. 2pt semi-skimmed milk – £0.95
  15. Crunchy peanut butter – £0.89
  16. Loose Bananas x 3 – £0.42
  17. 500g greek yoghurt – £0.49
  18. 240g Sliced chicken – £1.99
  19. Honey – £0.69

Total = £15

*Please note, that this is a sample list only. If you need to swap any items out due to dietary requirements, we recommend researching a nutritional alternative to any of the above. For example, chicken can be substituted for Tofu which can be bought for £1.70.

Shopping done… Tick! Now to put these items into nutritional meals… Please see below some ideas we recommend:

  • Tuna Mayo + sweet corn sandwich
  • Cheese and lettuce sandwich
  • Chicken and Mayo sandwich
  • Egg Mayo Sandwich
  • Scrambled/poached or boiled egg on toast
  • Tomatoes on toast
  • Peanut butter and banana on toast
  • Banana and egg pancakes
  • Tuna mayo and sweetcorn with jacket potato
  • Cheese and beans jacket potato with lettuce
  • Chicken and sweetcorn couscous
  • Tomato couscous

For desserts, use the fruit, greek yoghurt and honey.


Healthy Breakfast Ideas

When Action on Sugar analysed 126 kinds of cereal, 92% of cereals marketed toward children still contain high or medium levels of sugar and more than one in two kinds of cereal are at least medium in salt, with Malt O Meal Marshmallow Mateys containing 0.5g per serve – equivalent to eating 1 ½ bags of ready salted crisps. (actiononsugar.org)

The Government guidance is that children aged:

  • 4-6years shouldn’t have more than 5 cubes of sugar (20g) a day
  • 7-10 years no more than 6 cubes (24g) a day
  • 11years+ no more than 7 cubes (28g) a day

Cereal is often the quickest and easiest choice when we are rushing to get our children out the door or ready to begin the day. Just as a car needs fuel our bodies need food to run, but, some foods can help us become strong and healthy and some do not. So let’s make healthy choices and help our children start their day the right way with some of our healthy breakfast ideas:

  1. Porridge- this will provide children (and ourselves) with loads more energy than a bowl of cereal and not only that but we will not get the big burst of energy followed by a massive dip as the sugary cereal would have given us, this will provide us with a more constant flow of energy. How will you jazz up your bowl of porridge? Banana? Cinnamon? Berries?
  2. Overnight Oats – These jars of oats have become increasingly popular. Remember to do these before you go to bed and make the mornings a breeze. Just mix up the below ingredients (in a bowl or jar) and leave in the fridge overnight. These will then be ready for you to add your favourite fruit to in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups oats (150g)
  • 1.5 cups milk (300ml) – use a dairy alternative if needed
  • 30g milled flaxseeds
  • 30g desiccated coconut (optional)
  • 20g chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (this adds to its antioxidant score!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  1. Quick and easy banana pancakes. These will soon become a family favourite and soon the kids will be making them themselves. It is as simple as mashing up one banana and adding two eggs. Add a pinch of baking powder for extra fluffiness and a teaspoon of vanilla essence for extra flavour. Pour a little mixture into a heated frying pan with a splash of oil and hey presto! Complete with your favourite toppings.

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