Your Leisure: Creating Opportunities for Children to get Active

Too many children and young people miss out on the benefits of engaging in regular physical activity, be it vigorous or moderate, for the recommended 60 minutes each day. This disengagement with an active lifestyle is one of the key drivers of the increase in childhood obesity rates that, if unchecked, will lead to a major future challenge for our health services. More importantly, for the next generation, this lack of activity can lead to lower life expectancy and a lower quality of life with many experiencing issues relating to largely preventable diseases and health issues (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone and joint problems and more), plus, potential mental health issues due to bullying and the pressures of social media.

According to a Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health report from 2018, “Almost 1 in 5 children are [classed as being] overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to 1 in 3 when they start secondary school.” The good news is that the impact of an inactive lifestyle can be combatted, and young people can avoid what are traditionally considered to be health issues associated with later life by being active and social. Getting out and active is not only a great way to develop physical and mental wellbeing through exercise -- improving cardiovascular health, growing strong bones and improving overall health -- they can develop and enhance social/leadership skills through sports and meeting new peers.

At our Leisure Centres, the facilities offer Junior Members and customers a range of spaces and equipment to inspire and get the best out of being active. Your Leisure is proud to be able to provide young people with a nurturing safe space, guided and aided by our experienced Junior Gym Trainers to take advantage of the opportunity to try a variety of activities, using body weight/resistance bands, resistance and/or cardio machines and classes all while having fun.

Our Junior Gym welcomes users from 8-15 years old (plus fun classes for 4-9 year olds) and best of all, families are working out together! One of our members, Clare, who attends with her daughter said: “We both have a muscle condition that affects day to day living and our mobility. We have good & bad days; Katie has had extensive surgeries over the last couple of years and the Gym was recommended by her physio. Her going made me think maybe it can help me too. We do it together, help push each other to keep going. We now use the gym four to five times a week, helping us increase muscle strength & stamina, limiting the effect of our condition. It’s also helping us get a nice figure and more confidence! We’ve met lots of lovely people, the staff are kind, friendly and always very helpful. We cannot recommend the staff and facilities enough, thank you!”

Since launching the Junior Gym, Ramsgate Leisure Centre's usership has grown from 600 active users per year to 4,100; this is a brilliant achievement and has helped so many young people enhance their health.