Physical health is defined as the condition of your body, taking into consideration everything from the absence of disease to fitness level. Physical health is critical for overall well-being, and can be affected by: Lifestyle: diet, level of physical activity, and behaviour (for instance, smoking);
Increasingly health care professionals discuss physical and mental health in partnership as poor physical health can impact on our mental health and poor mental health often impacts on our physical health.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Physical Activity (Exercise)
How much physical activity should children and young people aged 5 to 18 do to keep healthy?
Children and young people need to do 2 types of physical activity each week:
- aerobic exercise
- exercises to strengthen their muscles and bones
Children and young people aged 5 to 18 should:
- aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day across the week
- take part in a variety of types and intensities of physical activity across the week to develop movement skills, muscles and bones
- reduce the time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity. Aim to spread activity throughout the day. All activities should make you breathe faster and feel warmer
Good sleep is important for your child's physical and mental wellbeing.
A relaxing bedtime routine is one important way to help your child get a good night's sleep.
Relaxation tips to help sleep
Doing the same relaxing things in the same order and at the same time each night helps promote good sleep:
- A warm (not hot) bath will help your child relax and get ready for sleep.
- Keeping lights dim encourages your child's body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Once they're in bed, encourage your child to read quietly or listen to some relaxing music, or read a story together.
- You could also suggest your child tries this relaxing breathing exercise before bed.
Know how much sleep your child needs
The amount of sleep your child needs changes as they get older.
A 5-year-old needs about 11 hours a night, for example, while a 9-year-old needs roughly 10 hours.
This should not be confused with body size or shape. It is important to understand that we are all different and focussing on expectations and images on tv, magazines or social media can be very unhealthy and unrealistic. Children's body composition will change as they grow or hit puberty.
It can be unhealthy to be underweight or overweight. This will occur when calorie consumption or an imbalanced diet are not proportionate to physical activity.
If you are worried about weight you can check using a Body Mass Index calculator. A body mass between the 2nd centile and 91 centiles is generally considered healthy in children. There will always be exceptions to this and if you have any concerns you should speak to your GP.
The school supports physical health in our children through our taught curriculum and through a programme of special events, assemblies and visitors. The school works with health professionals such as the school nursing team and with the catering company who provide school meals.Examples of our provision:
- Healthy diet and the impact of exercise is taught in EYFS and through the science curriculum.
- Healthy Schools Week.
- Promoting walking, scooting and riding to school.
- 2 hours of weekly PE which includes a range of activities including dance and gymnastics.
- Cooking sessions.
- Flu vaccinations.
- Gold PE Mark for the number of children who take part in additional organised sport.
- Swimming sessions at Parish Wharf.
- Specific sessions of PE that promote inclusion e.g. wheelchair basket ball and boccia
- Encouraging and rewarding health snacks at break times and packed lunches at lunchtimes.
- Gardening club.
- Walk to school week.
The school nursing website has lots of tips and info on different topics. You will also find links to parent webinars that are updated monthly here. Various topics covered including mental health and tips and ideas for parents (and school) to support this.