Make this half term a happy and a healthy one  

Families are encouraged to try new sporting activities this half term to boost their physical and mental health.  

It’s never too early to start reaping the benefits of making exercise and healthy eating daily habits.  

Did you know: 

  • One to five-year-olds need 180 minutes activity per day 
  • Five to 18-year-olds need an average of 60 mins physical activity a day 

This might sound like a lot but remember it doesn’t have to be done all at once. Instead, the aim is to introduce exercise as part of your day and to make it fun as a family. The council’s new Leader, Councilor Ross Garrod, has pledged to create more opportunities for everyone to get active across the borough. 

It can be tempting to stay indoors and watch TV, play computer games or use social media, rather than go outside to play.  

If you’re struggling to think of ideas, then check out Merton Council’s ‘Try 22 in 2022’ activity sheets which suggest ways to get your children moving, whether that’s learning to ride a bike, playing at the playground in the park or dancing to your own music. For the under-fives, this could mean learning to play catch or walking instead of riding in the pushchair. See how many activities you can tick off. 

Our leisure centres in Morden, Wimbledon and The Canons, Mitcham have plenty of fun activities for all the family this half term. Choose from swimming lessons, gymnastics, junior gym or soft play for the little ones. Find out more about what’s on offer and book here. 

There are also school holiday events across the borough and there is still time to get involved.  

Healthy eating goes hand in hand with physical exercise. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and avoiding foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat and salt can help to protect children from preventable illnesses.  

Help is on hand in the form of the NHS’ Better Health Healthier Families website, where you can find advice on choosing healthy foods and getting more exercise. You can also download the NHS’ Better Health Food Scanner app, which allows you to scan the barcode of your usual food choices and, if necessary, show you a healthier alternative. 

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Peter McCabe, said: “We are committed to improving opportunities for everyone to be active in our great sporting borough and there is plenty to choose from this half term. 

“Taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet has a range of benefits for children’s physical health as well as their mental wellbeing.  

“Exercise does not mean you have to spend hours in the gym. It is about trying lots of different activities until you find some that you enjoy – this means you will be far more likely to stick to them. Team up with friends for a kickabout in your local park, plan a family walk, learn to cycle, dance to your favourite songs or have a swim in one of our leisure centres.  

“Make 2022 the year that you and your family focus on your health and make the changes to live a healthier life.” 

If you’re looking for more inspiration: