Kirsten Patrick on 5-a-day fitness

Yesterday my 6 year old son demonstrated to me one of the daily workouts that he and his classmates do between lessons at school. They use a programme called 5-a-day Fitness. The class follows five minutes of dance or fitness moves demonstrated by an “instructor” projected up on to the white board via laptop. My son’s favourite is “workout,” a pretty complex sequence of dance moves, crossover steps, twirls, star jumps and wiggles. Almost as good he says is “disco.” There’s also “robot,” “hula,” and “march,” and a trio of chill-out options, “stretch,” “balance,” and “breathe”….the latter much less up the street of a six year old!

The kids LOVE doing “5-a-day.” When I asked my son’s teacher to show me the programme one day after school kids who were passing by on their way out (free to go home, you understand) came back in to the classroom so that they could have another go at it.

All classes in the school do a five minute routine every school day, sometimes twice a day. My son’s year 2 teacher says that she finds that it helps to get the kids focussed first thing in the morning and after lunch. Recently the teachers opted to stop getting the kids to line up and file in to class at 9am and to allow them to go straight in to the classroom when they arrive at school instead. To me a short period of dedicated exercise seems a much better way to spend the first five minutes of the day than a short period of shuffling single file to the classroom and hanging up coats. Definitely some inspired thinking going on there.


To read the rest of the review please visit the British Medical Journal Website.