With leisure parks closed and activities such as grassroots football cancelled, it is of utmost importance that children get a good amount of exercise at school, one of the only places which has remained open during the UK’s second lockdown.
The UK government has stated that physical education and school sport should continue and the World Health Organisation have recommended that children aged between 5 and 17 should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis.
Regular exercise is vital because of the many physical and mental health benefits it provides for young people. Allowing children to exercise at school gives them the opportunity to build up their social skills. It helps to develop key skills such as cooperation with peers, leadership and conflict resolution. Children who exercise regularly are also proven to have increased concentration and to achieve better academic scores. Regular exercise also helps in building a stronger heart, bones and muscles, and improves overall fitness. It encourages healthy growth and development, creating life-long habits. Giving young people the opportunity to exercise is essential in boosting self-esteem.
One of the mental health benefits of exercise that is extremely relevant in our current situation is that it lowers stress.
So how can schools integrate fun and innovate outdoor exercise into their daily schedules. One option which is growing in popularity is installing outdoor gym equipment
Outdoor Gym Equipment for schools
Education secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that primary schools will continue to receive £320 million in PE and Sport Premium during the next academic year. The grant, worth on average around £18,000 per school, helps schools to engage pupils in regular physical activity.
An outdoor gym meets the PE and Sport premium criteria perfectly. It instantly provides schools with an additional and sustainable improvement to the quality of their physical education programme, physical activity and sport offering. This funding allows schools to invest in an outdoor gym without having to raise funds themselves.
What are the benefits of outdoor gym equipment?
Outdoor gyms offer a combination of equipment similar to an indoor gym but designed and specifically sized to suit children.
Equipment focuses on fun and the four main pillars of physical fitness: strength, cardio, balance and flexibility. Popular pieces of equipment for cardio are the air skier or elliptical cross trainer. The monkey bars will always be a firm favourite with primary age children.
Introducing outdoor gym equipment makes a playground or area of unused space look exciting and inviting. When an outdoor gym is integrated into play times, after school clubs and PE lessons, children benefit in many ways. It improves communication skills. Improves problem solving, offers a non-competitive way to enjoy fitness, reduces tension and boosts the immune system. Being outdoors also increases the intake of vitamin D and creates space and fresh air between children while they have fun and learn something new.