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How can children stay active in lockdown?

Are your children getting enough exercise in lockdown? New research reveals how levels of physical exercise for youngsters have fallen in Cambridge and Peterborough through the pandemic.
The Active Lives survey showed that only 45.3 percent of the children in Cambridgeshire are meeting the recommended level of activity

Activity levels for children and young people in the county fell by 2.3% during the 2019-20 academic year, a new study has found. This is a decrease of 1,600 active children.

Living Sport, which promotes physical activity and sport in the county, carried out research into the situation as part of Sport England's annual Active Lives survey.

The study showed that only 45.3% (51,400) of the county’s children and young people are currently meeting the recommended level of activity. This is slightly higher then the national figure, which is 44.9% of children.

Around one in three children in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough do less than the average of 30 minutes a day and more than half are not active enough to benefit their health. This is on par with national statistics.

Levels of children who volunteer to support sport and physical activity are much lower compared to the previous two years, despite 37% of young people volunteering in some capacity.

A spokesperson from Living Sport said: "The latest Active Lives Children and Young People’s survey shows that children’s activity levels reduced in 19/20, however many have embraced new opportunities with the support of their parents, teachers and coaches. 

"Whilst we know that children being physically active supports their physical, social and mental wellbeing, lockdown and wet weather can sometimes make this difficult. Try to get outside when you can even if its just for 15 minutes of walking, running or cycling. 

"Alternatively, if you prefer indoor exercise check out some of the fun online activities designed for children and young people to be active in the comfort of your home. You can find links to lots of ideas and resources to help you and your family have fun and stay active here."

Joe Wicks has, of course, been teaching PE live on YouTube three days a week for people across the UK, but organisations a little closer to home have been encouraging young people to keep moving too.

Luke Kennedy, managing director of Youth Dreams Project (YDP), a Peterborough-based initiative to inspire young people through sport, said: "Research shows that active children are better prepared to learn, perform better academically and are happier. Not only that, but they have a sense of fulfillment which builds and maintains a positive mindset.

"Passion and Positivity are two of YDPs core values and we are so grateful to still be delivering this message via our sports sessions to critical worker and vulnerable children in schools. To help children who are remote learning, we have also launched our YouTube Live channel and have a variety of different sessions to keep children active every single day of this latest lockdown. We would love as many children and parents across Peterborough to join us here every day for a different session.

"We have also launched an inter-school challenge to promote the importance of keeping active and to continue the all important competitive spirit alive. It's heartwarming to see the amazing effort put in by children and parents. It's not too late to enter your school - share the idea with your teacher and tell them you'd like to join in the challenge."

YDP Lockdown 3 TimetableThe lockdown timetable for Youth Dreams Project activity sessions. By Youth Dreams Project

The Active Lives Children and Young People survey was launched in 2017 by Sport England, the Department for Education, the Department for Health and the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport. It was created to gain insight into the physical activity habits of the nation's children and young people aged 5 to 16.

Living Sport manages the survey across the county, with around 40 schools invited to take part each year.