Are you getting your three a week?
You’ve probably heard of the five a day campaign encouraging us all to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (research suggests we should be aiming for seven!).
But what about your three a week? Three a week isn’t about what you put into your body, it’s about what you do with it.
Medics recommend we each do three types of activity during the course of our week:
- Aerobic (so we feel a little out of breath)
- Strengthening (for muscles and bones)
- Flexibility and balance (to keep us limber).
While many of us associate exercise with running around and burning of energy (which is especially important for children), we often forget about the other aspects of exercise, which are also important for maintaining our health.
Here are our top tips for incorporating some of each type of activity into your week, whatever your age.
Get some daily cardio
The NHS recommends all children and young people should do ‘moderate to vigorous’ intensity exercise for at least an hour a day. Moderate activity means you’ll get your heart pumping faster, be breathing faster and feeling warm, but you’ll still be able to have a conversation.
Activities like cycling, brisk walking or running around in the playground fit the bill. If you’re struggling to get this in every day try these regularly:
- Using the commute to school, work or nursery to get your blood pumping
- Meeting friends in the park after school
- Hide and seek in the woods
- Playing tag
- Playing football
- Going swimming
Do strength exercises three times a week
Strength exercises develop your bones and muscles by using weights or working against resistance. Examples are:
- Using your legs to propel you on a swing in the playground
- Climbing – up a climbing frame or a tree
- Pulling up on monkey bars
Incorporating a trip to the playground or woods into your week regularly will naturally incorporate these exercises into your child’s life, without having to think about formal ‘weight training’ with dumbbells and repetitions.
Improve flexibility and balance
Children tend to be naturally more limber than adults, but it’s still worth thinking about introducing flexibility exercises into everyday life. Gentle stretches are great for calming moods down, as well as preventing injuries before a strength or cardio exercise stint.
Balance, flexibility and strength go hand in hand, as improving balance involves working the major muscles groups. You could try:
- Yoga for children
- Moving like animals (there are lots of fun examples here!)
- Seeing who can balance on one leg the longest.
Getting outside naturally increases our opportunity to do all types of exercise, and means we’re less likely to be sitting around. Long periods of sitting is thought to slow our metabolism, meaning we’re less able to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
So the simple message is to sit less and move more, wherever you are, however you can, whatever your age!
How are you getting your three a week this week? We’d love to hear your stories over on our Facebook page (follow us for the latest offers, too)!