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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pupils urged to skip themselves fit

SKIPPING is being touted as the perfect antidote to Welsh schoolchildren's couch potato lifestyles.

As traditional games begin to find their way back into the school yard, Welsh pupils are being urged to pick up a skipping rope to combat obesity and to help protect their heart health.

The British Heart Foundation wants more children to start skipping when they return to school this month.

The charity, which runs the Jump Rope for Heart scheme, believes skipping can help to reverse the worrying trend which has seen the number of physical inactivity rates double.

It is now looking for volunteers to promote the skipping project in Welsh schools.

All children and teenagers, from the age of five to 18, should be doing at least an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity every day.

But in Wales, statistics reveal that only 55% of boys and 39% of girls are active for at least an hour on five or more days a week.

Glenda Meakin, the BHF's community fundraising and volunteer manager, said, "Skipping is a good way to get kids moving at school.

"It's suitable for all key stages and can be taught to a number of different abilities at the same time.

"It is also non-competitive, which means everyone can succeed in their own way."

And a spokeswoman for the Sports Council of Wales said, "Amid fears of increasing obesity levels, playground games like skipping - both affordable and portable - offer a good aerobic workout, tone the muscles and improve co-ordination, balance and agility.

"A great way of getting active both in school and out, research has shown that skipping burns more calories than jogging and football, and just 10 minutes of skipping offers the same health benefits as a 45-minute hard run."

The Jump Rope For Heart scheme is a sponsored skipping challenge which helps to raise vital funds for heart research, education and patient care, and encourages healthy habits by showing children that keeping fit can be fun.

Read more: Pupils urged to skip themselves fit


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