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The Benefits of an Outdoor Gym for Children

With childhood obesity reaching an all-time high in the UK, as well as educating children on healthy eating, we must find ways to ensure children enjoy physical activity and view exercise as an essential part of everyday life.

It is recommended that children have ‘at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day’ (NHS). The school environment is well placed to help provide a high proportion of this, in fact, schools are expected to deliver at least 30 minutes of the 60 minutes target each day.

The benefits of outdoor exercise for children has been shown to:

1. Increase energy levels

2. Make it easier for children to learn and concentrate during lessons3. Improve overall happiness and wellbeing, enhancing mood and reducing stress.

3. Improves mental health and relaxation. This is true of exercise generally but more so when done outside.

4. Scientists recommend outdoor exercise as a handy way of get your vitamin D through sunlight

5. Helps children to sleep better at night. Research has highlighted the benefits of exercise in improving sleep patterns.

6. Children who enjoy sports and exercise from a young age, tend to stay active throughout their lives. 

7. Staying fit can improve self-esteem, prevent obesity, and decrease the risk of serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.

8. Helps children to acquire healthy habits and teaches them the skills they need to stay healthy.

Specifically, the benefits of children using Fresh Air Fitness outdoor gyms are that they will

1. Improve fitness levels, build muscular and cardiovascular strength and reduce obesity.

2. build balance, agility and co-ordination while developing flexibility, technique, control and balance.

3. use both moderate and vigorous exercise options, for basic health and to increase muscle and bone strength

4. improve hand-eye coordination, improving motor skills

5. help all children to enjoy PE, even those who find it difficult to engage with traditional sports and games

6. be competitive or non-competitive

7. encourage communication, collaboration as they are highly social with a large proportion made for two users or more

8. allow children to compare performances, demonstrate self-improvement to achieve their personal best, allowing them to evaluate and recognise their own success.

9. be used “free form” during breaks and lunchtimes, or as part of structured PE lessons.

10. be of great benefit to SEN children, providing a place for them to regain composure and motivation for learning. Research has found that children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can gain significant relief from their symptoms and can concentrate better if they spend some time outdoors.

11. introduce children to adult style exercises that they will find in gyms, indoor or outdoor, throughout their lives, giving them physical confidence.

And here's what schools think:

“Our new outdoor gym has been a fantastic addition to our physical education lessons.  Installation was quick and simple. The equipment offers the children a challenging workout using very different movement, complimenting their learning greatly” Mr. Sales, Head Teacher, Connaught Junior School

“Outdoor Gym equipment is helping to reduce levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyles of many of our pupils” “To ensure that any improvements become sustainable the equipment is timetabled for every break-time and integrated into PE lessons on a weekly basis” Higher Openshaw Community School

“The children love to use it and we have seen their confidence grow as they develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance while using this adult style equipment” Mr. Hatton, Sports Teacher, Connaught Junior School

“I had been researching and looking at ways of improving wellbeing for our young people. There is strong evidence between the connection of exercise and wellbeing and the outdoor gym was perfect for this. The equipment has been very popular. The outdoor gym has helped the children to get more exercise, more fresh air and to refocus attention ready for learning. Using the equipment alone provides a place for pupils to spend some space to regain composure and motivation for learning” Assistant Head Teacher, Deborah Proudfoot, Carwarden House SEN School

“This new sports facility has been an instant hit with our pupils.  Used during break time, it keeps the children active irrespective of their fitness level, they all want to have a go!” Ms. Johnstone, Business Manager, Connaught Junior School

All points of contact from initial enquiry to final install completion were very helpful and friendly. The area where the equipment is now looks great and is in constant use” Monterne Junior School

 

 

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