Much has been said about the importance of physical activity among children. The rate of childhood obesity is rising, urbanisation means kids often have less space to run around in, and our kids seem to have lost interest in the real world outside of their smart phones.
Busy bodies actually help kids to learn better. The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported on a 2016 study by the University of Exeter, which showed that "a single session of moderately energetic physical activity has immediate positive effects on brain function, intellect, and academic performance."
Science Daily quotes Professor Craig Williams, Director of the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences at Exeter. "Over the 30 years we have been researching the health and well-being of young people, we have seen the accumulation of paediatric data across physiological, psychological, environmental and social issues." He stressed the importance of enhanced physical activity, "not just in schools but sports and recreational clubs, with the family, and even for those children with long-term illness. At all levels of society we must ensure that enhanced physical activity is put into practice."
But how do schools get all the kids, including the least sporty ones, to look forward to PT class and even inspire them to get sporty after hours?
Public Health England launched a national programme, Change4Life, to do just that. Partnering with Disney UK, they use Star Wars and its characters to spark excitement among the kids by showing them how to Train Like a Jedi.
Star Wars actor John Boyega visited his former London primary school, alongside double Olympic gold medallist and taekwondo star Jade Jones, and hosted a fun Train Like a Jedi session, leaving John out of breath too!
Perhaps they'll look forward to PT class next week... and who knows, some may even be inspired to see exercise in a different light (saber?) from now.