Parents warned not to rely on schools for exercise

Parents can wrongly believe their children are getting enough exercise at school and are not in need of extra curricular physical activities, Irish rugby star Louise Galvin has warned.

She said curbs on playground games as well as limited or no PE sessions can leave many children at risk of not meeting the recommended 60 minutes’ exercise a day.

“Often it’s the PE hall in school that’s the first to go if there is a concert or exam going on,” said Galvin, who is a former Kerry footballer and Irish basketball international.

Ms Galvin, who is a qualified physiotherapist and is now doing a masters in sports and exercise medicine at the University of Ulster, said parents could think of basic ways to get their children active at home.

“It might involve dancing in front of the television or a game of hide and seek.

“Instead of a trip to the cinema they could make an outing and go indoors to something like trampolining if it’s raining.”

Ms Galvin is an ambassador for the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, which held its annual conference at the weekend.

She said children learn a lot more from sport, especially when it comes to mistakes and dealing with disappointment.

“They learn it’s ok to fail.”

Sport also gives more balance to the young pupil’s life and has huge concentration benefits for study, she added.

“Girls in sport have better self-images and more confidence,” she added.

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