Scheme helps kids stay fit in school holiday

Rye Leisure Centre is challenging local children to stay fit and healthy this summer. Junior Summer Fitness Challenge is a new regional scheme, which aims to motivate children to increase their levels of physical activity during the summer school holidays.

Freedom Leisure, who run the centre in Rye, say the holidays are a perfect opportunity for children to emulate the athletes they will watch during London 2012. The Challenge, which runs from July 20 to September 5, is completely free to all participants between the ages of 4 – 14.

Each child participating in the challenge receives a free fitness diary and is encouraged to record as much activity as possible during their school holidays. Everything counts - from cycling and swimming to a game of football or tennis in the park, even walking the dog!

For every ten activities they complete, Freedom Leisure gives them a reward. The aim is to complete 30 physical activities over the summer collecting rewards as they go. On the scheme children can collect vouchers for free activities including family swimming and racket sports which can be used at Freedom Leisure Centres across Hastings and Rother.

Freedom Leisure Chief Executive, Jeff Hart is clear about the benefits of the Challenge: “With child obesity a growing national concern, the Freedom Junior Summer Fitness Challenge is a really positive way that we can help promote and support a healthier lifestyle for young people.

“Exercise should be fun, rewarding and a great way to stay healthy; this scheme is an excellent way of combining all three! I hope lots of children take the Challenge and have a really active summer.”

Freedom Leisure hopes the challenge will encourage more children to build fitness into their lives across the south-east of England. With one in five boys and one in four girls now officially obese, the Challenge helps support parents by making exercise fun at a time when all school and extracurricular sports classes stop. Organisers anticipate that over 6,000 children will benefit from involvement this summer.