What is the Active School Flag?
The Active School Flag (ASF) is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The process aims to get more schools, more active, more often.
Why get active?
Did you know that four out of five children in the Republic of Ireland are still not getting enough exercise, posing serious risks to their health and wellbeing? We know that the effects of inactivity are frightening but there is no doubt that regular physical activity has huge physical and mental benefits for our younger generation. The benefits of being active for physical and mental health are huge. Being active helps release chemicals in your brain (endorphins), which have a positive effect on your mood, not to mention the benefits to your heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Getting out and being active is also a great way to manage stress.
10 Health Benefits of physical Activity
Physical activity helps a child to…
- Improve agility, balance and co-ordination.
- Feel more energised - endorphins are released into their bloodstream during activity.
- Feel happier, by reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Burn and generate more energy.
- Improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
- Maintain healthy weight.
- Prevents sickness and illness because physical activity can help build a healthy heart, develop strong muscles and bones and may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that may occur in later life.
- Improve concentration.
- Improve self-esteem and helps them feel good about themselves.
- Develop friendships.
Guidelines for children and young people (aged 2 -18 years)
All children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Moderate activity explained: This is when your breathing and heart rate increase and you are still able to carry on a conversation. You should feel warm and develop a slight sweat. Your pace feels comfortable.
Vigorous activity explained: This is when your breathing becomes heavy, your heart rate becomes faster and it is difficult to keep a conversation going. Your body temperature also increases causing you to sweat.
Remember: Some activity is better than none. Short bouts of activity count; you can reach your 60 minutes by doing short bouts of 10 minutes at a time.
Always include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening exercises at least 2-3 times per week. All major muscle groups should be worked. These are the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
- Some activity is better than none.
- Short activity bouts count. Children can reach their 60 minutes 10 minutes at a time.
- Choose activities appropriate to the child's ability.
- Spread activities throughout the week.
- Add activities which increase muscular strength and endurance on two to three days per week.