Research suggests that keeping active with regular exercise links to positive effects on pupils’ wellbeing
Evidence suggests that regular physical activity can have a positive impact on pupils’ mental wellbeing1. Increasing activity, both at home and in school, has been shown to make pupils feel better, help improve their performance at school, and develop important skills. Yet over the past year, we’ve seen evidence to suggest children are in need of more support when it comes to their levels of physical activity.
Public Health England have once again teamed up with Disney and for the first time Marvel’s The Avengers, for their latest 10 Minute Shake Up campaign, to encourage the nation’s children to get more active over the summer. Using the power of storytelling, children will be inspired by some of their favourite characters from Disney including Marvel’s The Avengers – Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, Disney’s Frozen and Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story on how to get moving. The programme, which is a key initiative as part of Disney’s ongoing healthy living commitments, will help teachers to empower their pupils to achieve recommended activity levels.
Public Health England, alongside Disney, have developed a bank of new 10 Minute Shake Up resources for 2021. Aimed at pupils aged 4 to 11 the new fun, free and curriculum-linked activities are made up of 10-minute bursts of active fun that pupils can easily fit into the school day and at home. The interactive Shake Ups, adapted in line with COVID-19 restrictions, are freely available to download from the Public Health England School Zone.
COVID-19 has caused a major disruption to the daily habits of pupils, both in and out of the classroom, with recent research from Sport England revealing that less than half are meeting the daily recommended level of physical activity.2 The study highlights that only 44.9% of children and young people were reported to be taking part in physical activity for an average of 60 minutes each day, as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer – down from 46.8% the previous year. The drop in activity, predominantly seen in boys, could be related to the removal of organised sports.
Schools have always worked hard to foster positive attitudes towards physical activity. However, research has shown that pupils return to school in September less fit than when they broke up in July,3 showing there is a need to engage them in physical activity beyond the school gates. The new 10 Minute Shake Up activities are the perfect way for teachers to help parents get children moving over the summer.
Nearly two thirds (64%) of children say they would be inspired to be more physically active if they saw their favourite characters being active.4 By getting pupils, schools, families and carers involved, these flexible Shake Up activities ensure that young people can build long-term active habits.
Dr Helen Duncan, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England says:
“With students navigating a lot of change from the stresses caused by the pandemic, encouraging children to get active with 10 Minute Shake Up’s every day in school will help them reach their recommended level of activity, increasing physical and mental wellbeing in and out of the classroom. By making physical activity enjoyable for children, they will feel more positive towards getting active and confident to try new activities or sports.”
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People says:
“The pandemic has caused widespread disruption to children’s activity levels and helping them recover must now be an absolute priority. With the help of our nation’s brilliant teachers in raising awareness of these resources, the 10 Minute Shake Ups will provide children with activities that they can enjoy with their family and friends over the summer break.”