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Family fitness tips from a gold medalist

In this interview we talk to former British Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell about her campaign to promote family fitness. Includes some great tips for exercising with the family.

Former British Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell popped in for a chat talk to us about her campaign to promote family fitness.

Sally is mum to three boys - Finley, Luca and Marley. Read on to find out how she inspires her own children to do more physical activity at a time when many parents are afraid to let their kids play outside.

In the past kids used to play for hours on end but now we're getting told they're not doing enough. Is obesity a growing problem Sally?

It is. A third of our kids are overweight and it is a worry. It's a worry for a lot of parents because they don't want their kids to be unhealthy and unfit. We can do something about it. Lifestyles have just changed over the past 10-15 years. People don't live as close to schools and we all lead stressful lives. Kids have much more choice of television and computer games. It's down to us to think what we can do about it.

I really believe it's about making it a way of life...yes they all love eating their crisps and biscuits. Lets do exercise as a family. Let's go for a walk, do treasure hunts - make it fun.

You are a former athlete, you exercise and eat healthily have you passed this on to your own children?

I believe that if they see you being active then I think they are going to do it. My kids love sitting there and the oldest one will watch television or sit on the computer. So I do have to say let's go out but once we're out and we've made it fun then he does enjoy it. He loves football but he will sit on that computer.

How much physical activity do kids get today?

They should be having an hour a day - it's very unlikely that any of them are getting that. Maybe they're getting one hour or two a week.You can count walking to school, you can count playing in the playground....but you have to do more as well.

Why is it that some kids aren't getting enough physical activity?

Schools have had a bit of a change around. They are bringing PE back into the curriculum and trying to build it up but you can't just rely on that. We do have to do more activities. Kids can find a sport that they enjoy. Kids can do dance, judo whatever it may be. So try different things and find what your kids are good at.

It is hard for parents, many are worried about their children playing outside.

I'm the first to say you can't let kids go out and play like they used to. We all live very busy lives, lots of us have to work. It's about quality time with your kids, maybe some of this quality time can be spent doing exercise together. They get to see you, you all get active. It can be fun at the same time. Go back to the basicsComputer Technology Articles, play tag. Go down to the park and throw a frisbee around.

What are the benefits you can?

The physical side is raising your heart rate but also the concentration levels are so much better. We want our kids to do well at school and it's shown that with physical activity they're more likely to sit down and concentrate. There's nothing like going out and doing an activity. Kids have got great imagination and if you do something physical they are much more likely to use their imagination.

Article Tags: Physical Activity

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Peter Gallacher from My Baby Radio has more interviews just like this one, why not visit the site, at

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