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The Disaster of Inactive Youngsters – How Can We Assist Youngsters Get Out Extra?


The Crisis of Inactive Kids – We Need To Get Kids More Active

How active are your children? Would they enjoy being part of an international challenge to move more? The Finnish clothing company Reima has launched an ambitious campaign asking families to clock up a million extra hours of physical activity by early January. Incentives include a sensor that links to an interactive game and a prize draw for a family adventure trip to Finland. In this advertising post we bring you news of the challenge, and a giveaway of a ReimaGo jacket and sensor for one lucky reader as our own incentive to get out more…

As still as the winter frost

The hurricanes may have passed yet my children are not rushing into the forests and fields to enjoy the end of autumn. The conkers are staying on the ground. The sheep chew on grass that’s untrampled. And we live in the Lake District, a natural paradise for kids. Sometimes I think there’s a danger of kids staying so still in winter you could mistake them for snowmen. To put this right we marched ours out of the house at the weekend for a treasure hunt to give them some fresh air. It was a great day out and we wondered why we don’t do it more.

Family treasure hunt at Ribble Viaduct

Getting out more with a treasure hunt that took in Ribble Viaduct

As quiet as field mice

It’s not just the fields that are quiet round here. In the courtyard and corridors of secondary school, children stand around and chat. Running is not often encouraged inside and not done much outside. I’m in no doubt our children are safe and warm. But is being safe always the same thing as being healthy?

Camping in bear country with a bear locker and kids

This is how we rolled when they were little but now they huddle in corridors and courtyards

The least active children in history

According to Dr Stephen Mann who is research Director of UKactive, the UK’s largest health body and a regular lobbyist for exercise, inactivity is one of modern society’s most dangerous health risks.

“We have the least active generation in history right now. The fittest child in a class now would be the least fit in a class 30 years ago. This has short term issues in that children don’t develop the kind of moralistic reasoning and language development that comes with play. Their bones aren’t developing properly and they’re not as strong. But more importantly they aren’t developing the physical literacy and key skills that set them up for an active life.”

He says we are standing on a terrifying conveyor belt into the future, “We know an inactive child is an inactive adolescent, an unfit adult and ultimately an inactive older person who is going to have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and everything that goes with it, all those conditions that are bankrupting the NHS right now. Ultimately we have stripped physical activity out of our lives, the way to keep a child happy now is to stick a screen in front of their faces. We need to bring back that love of play and enjoyment of the outdoors that children were born with.”

Another Place Anthony Gormley Crosby Beach

If you aren’t careful your kids could go from inactive toddlers to static teens and then eventually this…?

The statistics say the same

His claims are backed up by NHS England’s latest report; just 22 per cent of children are physically active for at least an hour a day outside of school. In Wales only 62 per cent of 3-7 year olds are active for at least one hour every day including school. And that percentage drops to just half (52 per cent) for children aged 8-12.

The government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy sets out clearly that children should be doing 60 minutes of physical activity during the day. We all know the logic of this. Parents know it. Teachers know it. And yet most of us still fail our children by not tipping them outside. But why? Andrew Denton, the Chief Executive of the Outdoor Industry Association and Secretary General of the ‘It’s Great Out There’ coalition believes it’s a simple malaise. “The world has stopped moving. It’s a phenomenal issue.”

At side of swimming pool

Why do we surf by the pool instead of going for a swim?

Evolved too far..?

He says the statistics are frightening and the costs are enormous. “There are more people dying of inactivity related illnesses than smoking. There are billions of pounds being spent on lifestyle non-communicable diseases. We have evolved to the point that we are unevolving. This potentially is the first generation where kids may die before their parents. The health benefits of modern society are being outweighed by obesity and inactivity.”

In the Buff in Iceland

Are we making the future darker for our kids?

UK lags behind

Some countries have been better than others at managing their children’s activity. In school in Finland there are breaks after every lesson and going outside for them is compulsory up to minus 14 degrees. And while roughly a third of the UK population is considered inactive, in Scandinavia that figure is just 7 per cent.

Studying the map of MoominWorld Finland

Navigating around play areas in MoominWorld, Finland

Get a bit sweaty and dirty

Andrew Denton says the solution to health problems caused by inactivity is simple. “Don’t eat quite so much and do a bit more exercise.” But he does acknowledge that the message is hard to deliver in an exciting and engaging way that doesn’t make parents like me feel guilty. He says the Outdoor Industry Association’s message is that in a busy and complex society, outdoor fun may be the easiest and simplest way to get the kids moving.

“Pick up the kids and go out this weekend. Go on a slug safari, get muddy, get dirty, build a dam, go on the Gruffalo trail, go on a Stickman trail, go to the Forestry Commission, go to a local park or a national park. Or go on junior park run but walk it with the stroller and the dog. Take part in exactly what you are wearing, have fun for an hour, get a bit sweaty and dirty and throw away the heart monitor.”

He says the first step is the most important one. “Just do something with your family. Don’t say I’ll never do 60 minutes, so I won’t do anything.”

Playing with stones by the roadside

Get out with the kids and build a dam

Million Hours of Joy

Reima is a Finnish company that’s been encouraging kids outside with their warm outdoor clothing for many decades. It’s recently been working with the Suunto brand (who produce watches, dive computers and sports monitors) to develop the ReimaGO. This is a sensor that can go anywhere with your child, tiny enough to fit into a pocket and costs £39.99. And if you want to splash out, Reima’s range of warm outdoor clothes are designed with special sealed pockets for the sensors.

The sensors give you information on how much your child is moving around, and this can be fed back into Reima’s Million Hours of Active Joy campaign which is currently encouraging kids from fifteen countries across the globe to get more active. Reima hopes you will join in and says you can participate in different ways:

  • Kit your kids up with one of the smart ReimaGo devices. As they move around, your kids can gather energy points on the sensor. If you download the free ReimaGO app from Apple Store or Google Play and sync the device with the app, a little character gets to move in an interactive game. You can configure your activity to be automatically shared with the campaign.
  • Share your children’s hours of exercise on the campaign site reima.com/kidventure.
  • Publish a picture of your child’s activity on Reima’s Facebook Page or Instagram with the hashtag #millionhoursofjoy.

A Finnish style Kidventure

When the project ends in January, families from each country who participated and left their details with the website will be entered into a draw for a trip to Ruka in March. The Reima Kidventure will be an international active family adventure involving husky riding, a search for the Northern Lights and a visit to Santa Claus.

Kids by the lake in Finland

Our kids enjoyed the great outdoors in Finland – yours could too

Get More Active with ReimaGo Challenge Jacket and Sensor Giveaway

To say thanks for reading this far we are pleased to invite you to take part in our giveaway of a brand new Reima Regor/Roxana jacket* (RRP£115) and ReimaGO sensor £39.99. (*The promoter will endeavour to provide the pictured style of jacket in the size requested by the winner but if stocks are out, a product of a similar value will be substituted.)

Reima Prize

Giveaway Bundle: 1 Roxana or Regor jacket only plus 1 ReimaGo sensor (see terms and conditions)

How to enter

All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. It’s free and simple and with some options you can enter every day if you wish to increase your chances of winning. Entries open Tuesday 31st Oct 2017 at midday and close on Tuesday 14th November 2017 at midday. A winner will be selected at random using Rafflecopter shortly after. There are several ways to enter:

  • Comment: Leave a comment on this blog post giving us a your best tip for getting kids of any age more active. Tell us what works for you. Preferably something you can fit into an hour. Then enter via Rafflecopter with same email address used to comment so we can validate.
  • Follow: @familyonabike on Twitter.Leave your Twitter handle on the Rafflecopter widget so we can validate.
  • Share on Social Media: Share details of this post and giveaway on your social media Twitter account. Submit a link to the tweet you shared on the Rafflecopter widget below so we can validate your entry.

Do check the full terms and conditions below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Terms and Conditions

  1. Acceptance of Terms and Conditions: By taking part in this promotion, you agree to be bound by the giveaway rules and by the decisions of the Administrator and Promoter which are final in all matters relating to the giveaway. We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant and/or winner in our absolute discretion for any reason and without notice in accordance with the competition rules.
  2. Eligibility: This giveaway is open to all residents of the UK except employees of Reima or The Family Adventure Project and their families. No purchase is necessary to enter this competition. You must be 18+ to enter. Entries must be submitted by an individual, and, unless otherwise stated, are limited to one per person. Entries by Agencies or similar are not permitted. There is no charge for entry.
  3. Timing: The giveaway opens 00.01 Wednesday 1st November 2017 and will run until 23.59 Tuesday 14th November 2017. All entries must be received via Rafflecopter during the period in which the competition is open and late or incomplete entries will be disqualified. No responsibility can be accepted for entries which are lost, delayed, misdirected or corrupted during delivery to Rafflecopter for any reason whatsoever.
  4. Prize: There is one prize and there will be one winner receiving one Reima Regor/Roxana jacket* (RRP£115) and ReimaGO sensor £39.99. (*The promoter will endeavour to provide the pictured style of jacket in the size requested by the winner but if stocks are low, a product of a similar value will be substituted.) There is no cash alternatives for prizes. Any images are illustrative and do not necessarily exactly represent the exact contents of the prize.
  5. Winner: A winner will be selected at random shortly after the closing date using Rafflecopter. The winning entry will be checked to ensure it is valid and complies with entry requirements specified in the Rafflecopter entry widget. If the first drawn entry does not meet eligibility or entry requirements, a further entry will be drawn until a valid winner is drawn.
  6. Notification: The winner will be contacted via Twitter, Facebook or email. A reply is required within 7 days or a new winner may be chosen.
  7. Fulfilment: The prize will be delivered to the winner to their postal address in the UK. The Promoter, Reima is responsible for fulfilling the prize.
  8. Administration and Promotion: This giveaway is being administered by The Family Adventure Project, 1 Eastside, The Square, Burton in Kendal. The Promoter is Reima Finland who responsible for fulfilling the prize.
  9. Permissions: By entering this competition you agree that The Family Adventure Project and Reima may use your name and likeness to promote the competition and announce the winner via news channels, on websites and social media.
  10. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Hiking up Skiddaw from Keswick, Cumbria

Hiking up Skiddaw from Keswick, Cumbria

Disclosure Note: Reima compensated us for producing this post to help share their campaign. All hours clocked up on the ReimaGo sensor (three on the treasure hunt and many more over the last week) as well as the opinions and photography are, as ever, all our own.