Tag Archives: exercise

How To Keep Your Kids Busy And Motivated During The Lockdown

While it is a somewhat strange time in the UK at the moment, there is one constant challenge that so many of us face: how to keep our children busy and motivated indoors. To help you keep your kids busy during the lockdown, we’ve brought together some ideas and activities which we’ll share with you in this blog post!

Staying as active as possible is essential during this period of uncertainty, so we definitely recommend allocating your (one) exercise session for the day when the sun is out, the air is fresh and you can find an area where maintaining at least 6-10 feet from other people out and about is achievable.

However, for the rest of the time, why not:

Join In Virtual Read-alongs 

If you don’t have access to many books, or want something a bit more social than all your kids reading separately, why not make reading a social exercise?

Storyline Online is an award-winning children’s literacy website, which streams videos featuring a whole host of celebrities reading children’s stories, alongside creative illustrations. 

You can listen and read along with some well-loved children’s stories, read aloud by famous celebrities including Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Betty White and so many more. All these celebrities make it great for adults too, even if you’re hearing the same stories on repeat… We love the ‘Tale of Peter Rabbit’ read by Rose Byrne!

We love this particular activity, because Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day. So no matter where you are around the world, it’s ready to bring you fun, engaging stories.

We think that reading is a great skill for children of all ages to have, not only to boost not only to boost imagination skills and work on vital cognitive abilities, but reading is something that keeps on giving. 

It’s great for bringing imagination to daily tasks, which is essential at the moment!

You can encourage them to come up with characters in play, or create tasks inspired by the plot that encourage your children to sit down and think about why they enjoyed the story. 

Turn Your (One) Exercise Session Into a Game

Who said that walking had to be a chore? Why not incorporate some of the games and activities from inside the house, and take them with you when you get some fresh air?

Of course, it’s crucial that everyone sticks to the strict measures that are in place at the moment for all our safety – staying 6 – 10 feet away from other people, and only going out once a day to restrict the possibility of passing anything along to anyone who is vulnerable. 

However, while you’re out, and abiding by the rules, have fun! 

Why not bring the games that you might have played on car journeys to the paths and fields? Play Eye-Spy to keep them entertained and paying attention to their surroundings; bring along their favourite songs and turn the walk into a dance off. 

Or, turn the walk into a jog, cycle or roll and get them outside on a set of wheels if you have them – making the most of the outdoor time will not only bring freshness and excitement to the day, but it’s great for burning off that energy…

Explore Your Favourite Museums And Landmarks Virtually

There are actually many UK based tourist destinations that you can explore virtually – so why not bring the UK to your living room and show your children some of the best loved places in the country! You can see the artefacts and history at the British Museum, or do some of the learning activities from the Science Museum

Have a look at this list of the 10 best museums around the world to visit, and this selection of family-friendly virtual tours from museums that provide fun and education for all ages.

Museums are hearts of world information, packed full of great educational resources that you can easily access and turn into interactive, fun sessions that keep your kids busy while they learn about the world.

What’s more, some of the most gorgeous and awe-inspiring landmarks around the globe have virtual tours. You can explore the Taj Mahal from the sofa! Have a look at these amazing landmarks that are all open for virtual tours.

Keep Up With The Wildlife

Zoos around the UK have opened up their exhibits to people who want to enjoy all the benefits of seeing the wildlife, from the comfort of your own home! 

From seeing what the penguins are doing at Edinburgh Zoo, to some of the animals at Marwell Zoo or the meerkats at Newquay Zoo there are many wildlife exhibits that you can watch live footage from and learn about the animals while doing so. 

Why not turn the virtual tours into a wildlife lesson? See how much information about the species they can learn, or give them tasks to develop their interest and education about our natural world!

Have a look at this list of 12 animal webcams from around the world that might just make social distancing bearable…

Ditch The Screens

Making sure that we don’t rely on screens and technology to keep our children entertained is crucial, so this doesn’t become a crux or habit later in life! Taking a break from social media, virtual games, and screens in general is great for everyone.

Encouraging activities like colouring, crafting, and making with physical materials is hugely beneficial for developing creativity, and it’s always fun! What child doesn’t enjoy getting a little messy?

We’ll be posting printable sheets of our loveable Swimming Nature characters onto our Facebook page that your kids can colour in! So take a look, print them off and get crafty.

Also, why not have a look at this list of creative, crafting ideas that your children can easily try for themselves while they’re at home. We particularly love these ideas:

Print Off Worksheets For Brain Training

Home schooling is going to be critical now more than ever, with a lot of children at home for a few weeks and many parents, guardians and carers still working or working from home.

Luckily, there are thousands of free and educational resources for children of all ages! 

Free, printable worksheets for children of all ages keeps their minds and hands busy, encouraging the skills that normal classes would explore during the day so that your child isn’t missing out on any basic schooling. Plus they make learning fun!

Do you have any other ideas on how to keep your little one entertained which you think are worth sharing? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, we hope you keep safe and healthy, and most importantly, stay at home if you can.

Why Swimmers Have a Higher Self-Esteem

There has never been a better time to get into swimming. Really.

In a world of constant distraction, screen-gazing and information fatigue, it’s no wonder that our psychological health is under threat. Body image is currently at an all-time low, with 80% of women admitting that they don’t like how they look, whilst 34% of men are dissatisfied with their physical appearance. Combine that with the fact that rates of anxiety and depression in children and young people have reportedly risen by 70% in the last 25 years. Our self-esteem, or ‘a person’s overall sense of their value or worth’, clearly needs attention – and one solution is swimming.

So why do swimmers have a higher self-esteem?

There’s proof that the natural change in hormones which occurs during swimming has a major effect on both body and mind. Swimmer’s bodies start to release more endorphins, because swimming is one of the best all-round exercise regimes. Many of our instructors report getting out of the pool with big grins on their faces, having done a mere thirty minutes of exercise! So, if you can commit to swimming a few times a week, just imagine how you will feel all the time – AMAZING. This natural endorphin high leads to a more positive mental attitude, as well as happiness.

However, this isn’t the only link between swimming’s improvement of the body and a raise in self-worth. A regular swim not only builds endurance, it also tones muscles, improves strength and provides an all-over body workout. By making swimming the basis of your fitness or exercise regime, you’ll see your body shape change naturally. This will do wonders for self-confidence – when you feel you look good, you’ll automatically feel great at the same time.

Aside from the link between body and mind, those that swim also gain a sense of achievement. This particularly applies to children, as swimming races encourage a natural sense of competitiveness, which will stay with them for life. Soon, you can guarantee that medal after medal will be won, as swimmers find themselves standing on the podium after all their hard work. This leads to far more natural, rather than enforced optimism, as a strong sense of self-belief becomes the norm. This goes hand-in-hand with a shift to being more self-assured, which will positively impact on other facets of life, including the achievement of goals and dreams.

Swimming can help distance us from the stresses and strains of daily life that can prevent self-reflection, as it creates more independence and a self-starting mentality. As swimming isn’t always a group activity, a session in the pool gives you the ability to spend time processing your individual thoughts.

It’s a fact that being taught, and subsequently mastering any skill, builds confidence. However, swimming in particular provides the added bonus of learning to be in control of an environment which can potentially be unsafe. Once grasped, this makes every swimmer feel as though they can achieve anything! For children, this new found confidence translates into the classroom, the playground, the football pitch and almost any other part of their lives. Who wouldn’t want this for their little one?

If you or any of your children struggle with low self-confidence or self-esteem, why not give swimming a try? Your mental and physical health will thank you for taking just thirty minutes out of your busy week to visit your local swimming pool. If you’d like to find out more about self-esteem and its link to swimming, please click here, or here.

Have you felt swimming raise your self-esteem? Let us know in the comments.

The Ultimate Guide to Swimming: Every Stroke Explained By Eight-Times World Record Holder Mark Foster

Eight-times World Record holder Mark Foster explains the physical benefits of swimming. If you’ve ever wondered what muscles you work when you swim, or what happens to your body as you race through the water, read on to get up to speed on the impact of this super-sport. 

There’s no denying swimming is a seriously energetic sport. It uses just about every muscle in your body and increases your aerobic fitness, too. Even better, it burns energy while supporting your joints making it a great way to get in shape.

Yet despite all these benefits according to the Amateur Swimming Association, a staggering 50% of 7 to 11 year olds can’t swim the length of a 25m pool and as many as 9 million adults in the UK can’t swim at all.

Naturally, I’m all for swimming and it’s great to know that despite these figures, 2.13 million Brits are keen to learn to swim. But I’m not sure everyone knows just how good swimming can be for your health and fitness. So here’s a breakdown of exactly what happens to your body when you go swimming.

What muscles will I work when I go swimming?

All strokes

Before we get into the detail, whichever stroke you choose, you’ll be working all of these muscles:

  • Core abdominal (stomach) muscles
  • Lower back muscles

These muscles work together to keep your body steady and streamline in the water

  • Deltoid (forms the rounded contour of the shoulder) and other shoulder muscles

These muscles help the hands have proper entry into the water and extend your reach

  • Forearm muscles

These help propel you through the water

  • Upper back muscles

These muscles also help to stabilise your torso in the water

  • Glutes and hamstrings

Help move you forward and balance your body

Front Crawl

Front Crawl is the stroke for speed – it moves you fast through the water and generates the most force.

What’s happening?

When you’re using front crawl, your arms are pushing and pulling underwater, your torso is working hard to keep you steady and rotating to give you a longer stroke. Your hip flexors (at the top of your thighs) are engaged too, to maintain a steady kick.

Backstroke

Less intensive than front crawl, backstroke is a great recovery option.

What’s happening?

As the name suggests, it works your back. Your lats are engaged – that’s the wide muscle on either side of your back, beneath your shoulder blade. This muscle is pulling your arm under the water and then back to the surface again. In addition, your hamstrings (back of your thigh) and glutes (bum muscles) are engaged to propel you through the water.

Breaststroke

Synchronisation is key here – having the arms in time with the legs. This stroke will work all your muscle groups equally.

What’s happening?

Your shoulders are working hard to move your arms from behind to in front of you. The chest and your lats then work together lift your chest out of the water as you take a breath. Your legs are doing a frog kick that’s similar to leaping off the floor from a squat, working your glutes, quads (front of thigh), hamstring (back of thigh) and your calves, too.

Butterfly

Butterfly is a super-powerful stroke that will build strength and boost your metabolism.

What’s happening?

Both arms move simultaneously, working your shoulders, lats and arms. Your core and lower back muscles go into overdrive to stabilise your core in the water and lift your body out of the water, and your glutes ensure your legs move as one, like a dolphin.

Phew! It’s energising just thinking about it. As far as an all-over body workout goes, it doesn’t get much better. Add to that increased lung capacity from taking huge breaths frequently and precisely, and swimming helps to improve your aerobic performance, too.

If you’re keen to get in shape by swimming, Swimming Nature offers premium tuition and fast results. Our award-winning technology and bespoke programmes ensure you and your kids develop precision techniques and complete mastery of the water. Whether you’re looking for yourself or your kids, we cater for all abilities from beginners to triathletes, and our exclusive Mark Foster Programme takes advanced swimmers to the next level. For more information, explore our programmes today.