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Time to get the kids up and running....

WALKING, jogging or running the Flora Women's Mini Marathon is a great fitness goal to set to get in shape for the summer. Having a target to aim for is the best way to stay focused and motivated and there isn't a moment to lose!

Over a quarter (26pc) of Irish children are already overweight and more than two thirds (65pc) of adults are overweight. Specialist chartered physiotherapist Dr Declan O'Hanlon is chairing a new campaign this month from March 25 to 31 to tackle the issue.

"I see first-hand the complications that present in young adults from obesity that stems from childhood," explains Declan.



Titled 'Time To Get Active Together', the campaign, organised by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, is giving parents practical advice on the kinds of activities they need to do with children in the primary school age range, five to 10.

While it is recommended that adults take part in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week and accumulate at least 10,000 steps per day for general health benefits, children require much more. Children need at least 15,000 steps or 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.

This month's campaign will see the Chartered Physiotherapists setting up local information sites in venues around the country where they will give parents free advice on what to do with their children to improve their health and fitness. The campaign will also research two key aspects, perception and barriers.

"You might be sending your child down to the local football club every Saturday, but are they actually running around or on the sideline?," questions Declan, who adds that Chartered Physiotherapists also want to hear from parents about obstacles leading to a fit and healthy lifestyle. "We want to hear from parents if they feel they have access to simple doorstep-to-desk exercise options, such as walking or cycling, or going to places where their children can be active not just one or two days a week but every day of the week, such as playgrounds and schoolyards," Declan added.



So, start planning for the upcoming bank holidays to get the family out moving: have a kick-about in the park, try hill walking over the school holidays or going out for a bike ride.

We are talking about activity that increases your heart rate, gets you breathing more deeply, brings a rosy glow to your cheeks and a little sweating isn't bad either!

Make this the week to start your preparation for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon. The hardest part of any training programme is the first step, but putting your runners on for the first time and getting out of the house is half the battle.

Don't forget to bring the kids and remember that continuity is key after that.

For further personalised training advice or injury prevention tips, contact your local chartered physiotherapist. See also www.iscp.ie