Encouraging Music & Movement in National Obesity Week
National Obesity Awareness Week runs from the 8th-14th January 2018. It helps to promote awareness of obesity as a UK health concern, supporting ways to prevent and tackle the problem as a nation.
Obesity can have serious physical implications for children and many obese children will go on to become obese adults. Obesity takes an emotional toll on children. The stigma attached to being overweight can be as damaging to a child as the health conditions which often go hand in hand with obesity. Overweight children are more likely to get bullied and teased by their peers in school, resulting in low self-esteem and mental health problems such as depression.
Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles (sitting still for too long) are the two primary causes of excess weight and obesity in children. A report by Public Health England cited that only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5-15 achieved the recommended levels of physical activity. Because of the way the world has changed, opportunities for children to move have shrunk dramatically from one generation to the next. With less time for running and playing outside and more time spent indoors, these children will grow up acculturated to our modern sedentary lifestyle, and without encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle, children will tend to gravitate toward computer games, television and other activities which keep them immobile.
Early years settings can play an active role in promoting healthy living for children and it’s important that all children are offered plenty of opportunities for movement – even those children who do not naturally gravitate towards sports.
Music evokes movement, and children delight in and require movement for their development and growth
Fun music and movement activities provide children with the chance to learn about themselves, the environment and other people around them. Teachers and early years educators can create wonderful learning environments that encourage their young imaginations. Such activities can help children burn off some of their excess energy while providing exercise, development of motor skills and coordination.
As well as being mentally and creatively stimulating, playing an instrument can also be a great physical experience. Percussion instruments can help children develop coordination and motor skills as they require movement of the hands, arms, and feet. Additionally, whilst gross motor movement is important for development, when kids move and play music, they are getting so much more than just exercise, they’re developing their listening skills, concentration and cognitive abilities.
Being outdoors can be an exciting sensory experience in the early years and outdoor musical instruments on the playground combine all the benefits listed above with the added enrichment of playing in the outdoors - promoting both healthy physical development and wellbeing.
There’s nothing like drumming outdoors and banging the playground drums is quite a workout! Our Conga Drums, Rainbow Sambas, Babel Drum and Cajon Drums allow kids to create some great funky beats with their friends in the great outdoors. Outdoor Drums are a fantastic alternative playground activity, boosting hand to eye co-ordination and encouraging children to begin to grasp the concepts of rhythm and timbre. Drumming can build strength and cardiovascular fitness while producing lots of creative musical energy.
There’re a myriad of health benefits for all children who spend time playing outdoors, including an increased intake of Vitamin D and decreased hyperactivity and depression. The great outdoors, therefore, should not be just considered a playground for those who seek the thrills of extreme sports, but emphasis should be placed on the interests and access for all. One way of doing this is to ensure parks and playgrounds are designed with alternative playground equipment, as well as more open play areas where sports may be played, increasing opportunities for everyone to enjoy the fresh air and exercise.