What are the benefits of encouraging an active lifestyle for your kids and what’s the best way to do it?

We kick off the first episode of ‘The Health Wrap: On The Move’ powered by Mediclinic with an important chat about physical fitness for the whole family. With three private sports and exercise medicine practices around Johannesburg, sports and exercise medicine physician, Dr Lervasen Pillay, joins us to share his wealth of knowledge on the subject.

[00:00:00] Ayanda Charlie: Welcome to The Sports Series, powered by Mediclinic. I’m your host Ayanda Charlie. As a multimedia content producer with a love for journalism, I am here to ask all the questions you might have, chatting to the specialists to get real answers! Keep looking out for our future episodes as we have a great line-up of doctors and other experts to support you with all the information you need for your fitness journey, no matter what level of sports you play!

[00:00:26] Ayanda Charlie: Please note that the views shared by any of our guests in this podcast, may not necessarily reflect the views of Mediclinic, so please consult a medical professional if you have concerns.

[00:00:39] Ayanda Charlie: Today we’ll be speaking about an important subject that affects all parents, no matter the age of your children. We’ll be looking at the benefits of encouraging an active lifestyle for your kids, and how best to do that. According to the New York Post, a survey conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Life Time showed that almost four out of five parents want to spend time with their family while doing a physical activity together rather than stay home.

[00:01:05] Ayanda Charlie: 83% of parents said they have more fun getting active with their kids, with 89% rather playing sports and/or heading into the great outdoors. Two-thirds of the respondents also said that they want to see their kids become more active. Today we welcome Dr Lervasen Pillay, to tell us more about fitness as a family. Dr Pillay has three private sports and exercise medicine practices around Johannesburg. So, Dr. Pillay, welcome to the Sports Series.

[00:01:36] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Thank you very much for the invitation to speak on this, uh, topic, and thank you very much to Mediclinic for providing me the opportunity to speak about this.

[00:01:44] Ayanda Charlie: Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?

[00:01:50] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Well, I'm a sports and exercise medicine physician. We do look after the exercising community in general, uh, as well as specific scenarios. And, [00:02:00] uh, I, yeah, I've been in private practice all along and, uh, involved academically as well. And, um, at the moment, uh, busy with a PhD as well, so, oh, it's, wow. Always good to keep myself busy.

[00:02:12] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Yeah. Uh, clinical work and academic work is always the way you move forward and learn more.

[00:02:18] Ayanda Charlie: Mm, that's wonderful. And now you're here to share with us, uh, some of, some of that cutting edge knowledge that you've been acquiring. Can we hear from you what are some of the key principles of maintaining good physical health and fitness?

[00:02:30] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Well, I think the first point that I always tell patients and, uh, general people is that first make that that positive decision to decide that you are going to do exercise once you. Sort of gone over that hurdle, then you can start making more specific decisions on what you're going to, uh, be involved in, whether it be social exercise, whether it's gonna be more very specific routine exercises, whether it's gonna be a specific sport or something of that sort, and [00:03:00] enjoy what you're doing.

[00:03:01] Dr Lervasen Pillay: It's no point trying to do something just for the sake of doing it and not enjoying it. Because that's when you lose the motivation to continue with it. And I think it's, it's, it's important to make sure that you enjoy what you're doing. If you are a runner and you enjoy running, run, don't go and try and play cricket of soccer.

[00:03:15] Dr Lervasen Pillay: If you can't play cricket of soccer, you can't play cricket of soccer. Now, don't be a rugby player if you actually play netball. So enjoy what you're doing. Do whatever's in your interest and whatever is gonna help you go further in that decision of trying to get yourself more involved in physical activity.

[00:03:31] Ayanda Charlie: Mm. And I imagine Dr. Pillay, that you know, as a parent, if you are going to make the decision for the family, the decision would start with you personally, right? As the individual first.

[00:03:39] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Yes. Uh, I mean, I mean, most definitely you'll have to, as a parent, decide what is it that my family would appreciate taking part in. It also comes from each parent's backgrounds, whether they have been physically active people or not in the past.

[00:03:54] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And that would be the most important aspect of things, depending, uh, deciding on what they're going to do. [00:04:00] Uh, the other thing that we don't speak about is, uh, the monetary, uh, concerns when it comes to getting involved in physical activity and, uh, people always think it's expensive to be physically active, but it's actually not expensive at all.

[00:04:16] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So I think as a parent you are the decision maker in the, in the, in the whole, uh, family space. And you can take your family in that direction. Obviously taking your kids' interests at heart as well. Uh, if they are actively involved in sports.

[00:04:28] Ayanda Charlie: And Dr. Pillay, I mean, we all know that when, in those first few weeks when you're trying to get active, it can be, you know, quite a, quite a struggle.

[00:04:37] Ayanda Charlie: And I can imagine that as parents, if you don't have a history of consistent physical exercise, it might be very difficult for you to set that example for your children, you know, in the beginning. Do you have any tips on how parents can set that good example for their children?

[00:04:52] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Whenever you're introducing something very different in your lifestyle change, it's important to start low and go slow.

[00:04:59] Dr Lervasen Pillay: [00:05:00] That will allow you to readapt yourself towards that environment and that activity that you’re involved in. Uh, when you start a new job or anything like that, that's always the kind of process to follow in. So you fall and you set that in. The whole intention of getting involved and using physical activity, uh, as something for your health benefits is not as a short-term goal.

[00:05:20] Dr Lervasen Pillay: It should be set as a medium to long-term goal, and it must become a complete lifestyle change.

[00:05:25] Ayanda Charlie: And I guess that also informs the frequency of how you do it, right? Like it doesn't have to be, um, kind of rigorous from the beginning, would

you say?

[00:05:34] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Exactly. I mean, there are recommendations of how activity needs to be done, and I think we'll chat about that a bit later.

[00:05:41] Dr Lervasen Pillay: But you wanna first get used to, to doing exercise. So for instance, if you're going to the gym, you first get used to the fact of jumping in the car and get into the gym, into the parking lot. Once you get over that hurdle, then you can actually start swiping your card to get, uh, your card to get into the gym itself.

[00:05:58] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Going to a park, run. [00:06:00] Get into the routine of actually getting to the venue where the park run starts before getting into that routine of actually involving yourself in the park run. Uh, you don't wanna go and sustain an unnecessary injury because you just go hard onto everything, and then that becomes a negative connotation towards exercise and you move away from exercise. Hence why it needs to be a slow readaptive process.

[00:06:24] Ayanda Charlie: You know, the bigger the family is and the older the kids get, everyone's schedules at some point start to clash. And so for a busy family, how do you find ways to, to exercise together, um, you know, in the week in order to be consistent despite everyone's extra mural activities, meetings running longer, you know, how, what are some, you know, safe ways to do to get everybody in one accord in those first few weeks?

[00:06:49] Dr Lervasen Pillay: There's a certain age where you can start doing things as a family altogether. As kids become adolescents and teenagers and get more involved in extracurriculars, it will become a bit difficult [00:07:00] because at the end of day, they're at school as well. So you still want 'em to focus in school. So you can't take away all that time just to become physically active if they already participate in school soccer and school rugby on the same day, et cetera.

[00:07:13] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So when they're younger, from your, your, your little toddlers going on to early high school, et cetera. Simple things going on the night of doing ten pin bowling, doing some, they've got these trampoline places nowadays. Get involved with some activities there. Cycling together, uh, and doing park runs. Some people make it park walks.

[00:07:36] Dr Lervasen Pillay: It doesn't matter if it's a park walk, as long as you're doing some kind of activity together and you building this resilience within the developing child to say that, see, physical activity is something that's fun to do and is part of our family's lifestyle, and you should continue with this as you get older.

[00:07:51] Ayanda Charlie: It sounds to me with, with the activities that you've described, that it, it, it makes sense to then incorporate exercise into kind of quality [00:08:00] time activities, right? So the kids aren't feeling like we're, we're just doing this for the sake of being active, but we were gonna spend time anyways and we are just doing it in a way that's healthier. Is that correct?

[00:08:09] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Yes. And I think all the exercises when you exercise as a family, it must become a bonding experience, uh, because, and that's how you actually learn about each other, how a mom and a father learns about their adolescent child who's having problems because they might not talk about problems at school, at home.

[00:08:26] Dr Lervasen Pillay: But maybe when they walking in the park and they'll tell them, well, dad, I'm having a problem with this guy at school. I'm having a problem with what I'm playing in rugby. Cause you played in rugby can you give me some advice? Mm-hmm. Because the, the environment becomes less threatening, less formalized.

[00:08:40] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So discussions open up. Yes. So, so, so it has lots of other benefits besides it just being physical activity and health benefits, but also as a bonding experience.

[00:08:52] Ayanda Charlie: Now, Dr. Pillay, a lot of people will say, you know, I'm happy to exercise. I exercise quite consistently, but, you know, um, the [00:09:00] food might be, you know, a difficult thing for me to incorporate, especially when it comes to changing the eating habits of an entire family.

[00:09:06] Ayanda Charlie: How important is the healthy eating aspect, um, in this journey? And, and are there any specific dietary considerations that parents should keep in mind when it comes to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for their children?

[00:09:19] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So I think diet is a very important and a vital component of improving and promoting physical activity.

[00:09:25] Dr Lervasen Pillay: We often ignore that. Uh, I often use a connotation, which is a simple one, but, uh, it's effective in getting the message across. If you drive your car every day and fill petrol, you can't drive it without checking the oil, water and tyre pressure. You need to make sure that your dietary requirements are met as well for, for this physical activity.

[00:09:46] Dr Lervasen Pillay: We'll see nowadays within not only social media, but uh, reports from governments from, uh, health departments, et cetera, about the overindulgence of certain, uh, materials like carbohydrates, [00:10:00] uh, caffeine, uh, bad eating habits, processed foods, et cetera, and what a negative impact this has on the health. Hence why physical activity will have a certain percentage that will improve you by, but you have to combine that together with healthy dietary habit changes depending on what activities you'll be involved in.

[00:10:18] Ayanda Charlie: Dr. Pillay, what role does healthy eating play in achieving the fitness goals of your family? And are there any specific dietary considerations that parents should keep in mind when they're trying to, you know, encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for their children?

[00:10:32] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So nutrition is an important aspect of physical activity, and not only.

[00:10:37] Dr Lervasen Pillay: What you get in. But when you get that in, so for instance, if, if you exercise, you wanna make sure, and depending on the type of exercise you're doing, if it's short stints with high intensity, you wanna make sure you have a different kind of dietary intake to fuel your body for that exercise. And you want to start sort of repair it afterwards.

[00:10:57] Dr Lervasen Pillay: You'll have initially a [00:11:00] higher carb than protein ratio before you exercise, and you'll have a higher protein and carb ratio after you exercise. I think it's important that we combine the two aspects of nutrition together with physical activity in order to avoid injuries and also keep, uh, a healthier lifestyle from avoiding too much processed foods.

[00:11:22] Ayanda Charlie: If you are a parent who's, who feels, you know, that the family is, is, is a little bit too far gone on, on, on the dietary front, like if you feel like, you know, the kids have kind of gotten used to the fast food and maybe aren't so used to, you know, the nutritionally dense food, how do you introduce those into, especially the little ones, you know, who are very stuck in their ways about what they want to eat?

[00:11:43] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And, and that's where, where a big problem comes in in society because of our access to, to these, uh, apps, et cetera, to order things as, as, uh, ad hoc as you require them. That makes, that makes things a bit of a challenge and then life is busy for everyone. So sometimes mom or dad won't have time [00:12:00] to make a healthy, nutritious meal for kids when they come back from school or from, uh, sports training, et cetera.

[00:12:07] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And I think mostly what we get wrong is we do not educate parents enough about the negative, uh, impacts of that kind of lifestyle. And I think people are a little bit wiser than that and once you start educating people and providing them with more information to make proper decisions, automatically, they start moving away from that.

[00:12:27] Dr Lervasen Pillay: I always like using the concepts of negative reinforcement. So you always try and explain to a patient what is the worst case scenario that can happen to you. Well, if you continue on that trend of lifestyle and that somehow case people enough to say, well, I need to make this change and let me start doing that.

[00:12:43] Ayanda Charlie: Now, do you recommend we scare the children as well?

[00:12:46] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Yeah. Listen, we have to leave kids to be kids. Uh, we can't start them from having that, uh, occasional burger, that occasional ice cream, that occasional milkshake. They are children at the end of the day. We've all grown up that way, but I think it's about, uh, developing those, those, those [00:13:00] limitations.

[00:13:01] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And making sure there's boundaries with certain things at certain times, et cetera. For instance, you won't have your child have a cup of coffee or have a caffeinated drink, um, late in the evening, uh, at nine o'clock in the evening because you’ll start going to the doctor complaining that your child is bedwetting.

[00:13:22] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Mm-hmm. So it becomes simple things like that just to change that kind of, uh, approach and how to explain to them the importance of this.

[00:13:31] Ayanda Charlie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Now doctor, I'm sure you're familiar with the, the CDC, which is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Um, and, and for the listener, this is a public health agency of the United States.

[00:13:42] Ayanda Charlie: Now they suggest that younger children do not usually need formal muscle strengthening programs. They shouldn't be inactive for long periods of time. However, they still shouldn't have to be, you know, involved in very stringent kind of formal exercise regiments. Do you have some ideas of, of [00:14:00] family fitness activities for younger children, say between the ages of three and five?

[00:14:05] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So, for instance, the CDC was quite closely together with the American College of Sports Medicine, and they do have recommendations for those kind of age groups, et cetera. So youR three to five year old basically he's gonna just be running around, bouncing around and throwing everything around. And you wanna do fun things with them.

[00:14:23] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So simple things, little tug of war at home, uh, playing on a jungle, gym. All these kind of aspects are ways of staying active. And invariably it makes the parent more active because apart from being active with the child, they have to be a little bit more vigilant at looking after their child. So they do spend lots of energy almost to a medium intensity of energy trying to control their child doing this intensity.

[00:14:47] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And, uh, those, those simple activities become important in trying to establish in routine into a child's life of, uh, not only physical activity, but just simply as that, as a routine to say that you have [00:15:00] a routine and part of it includes physical activity, and this must become a norm for you.

[00:15:07] Ayanda Charlie: Thank you so much so far, Dr. Pillay. Let's take a quick break and, and be right back. We will be back with Dr. Pillay shortly but first we wanted to share the details of the Mediclinic 24/7 helpline. You can call the number +27 860 233 333 with a wide variety of needs. The 24/7 helpline is no longer only for medical inquiries, but can even go as far as assisting you with making a booking for the doctor.

[00:15:37] Ayanda Charlie: Now doctor, in today's world, it's a reality that many children, especially tweens and teenagers, are spending a huge amount of time in front of the screen, whether it's playing online games, using social media, watching series, and unfortunately even consuming and becoming addicted to pornography without their parents' knowledge.

[00:15:55] Ayanda Charlie: How can parents assist their children in developing healthy boundaries regarding screen time, [00:16:00] and also encourage them to develop a positive attitude towards physical activity and exercise.

[00:16:06] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Well, I think that's an important thing that you've brought up and uh, again, the American College of Sports Medicine has actually included that in part in parcel of following physical activity for your teenager group, uh, specifically about screen time.

[00:16:20] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Again, it's all within the parent's control. And, uh, this is where parents need to become diligent about the negative influence of, uh, using all these electronic devices and how it influences their child, not only from a, uh, physical activity perspective, because they'll prefer to be online instead of going outside, but also from what they're exposed to, like you've mentioned, pornography, et cetera, which is very, which is very freely available for everything and.

[00:16:50] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Trying to get kids outside is probably going to be the best way of doing things. Nowadays one of the advantages that we do have is that when we have load shedding, you have no [00:17:00] internet, so you won't have any screen time. So that is one of the benefits of things and what happens is automatically say, well, let's go and take a walk outside.

[00:17:09] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Let's go and play in the park. Let's go and ride a bike because there's nothing else to do. And slowly with intent, and I've seen this with families happening, uh, myself with, with with lots of my patients as well, where this has automatically helped them to actually promote physical activity, in fact, part parcel of our South African health report.

[00:17:28] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And what the World Health Organization says about South Africa is this is one of the priority strategies to improve physical activity amongst the general public in order to reduce the incidents of what we call non-communicable diseases. So those are things like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, mental health problems, depression and anxiety, et cetera.

[00:17:52] Dr Lervasen Pillay: We've seen within the spaces of having all these lockdowns a few years ago, et cetera, how physical [00:18:00] inactivity can affect mental health from an anxiety and depression side. There's lots of evidence and even recent evidence to show that physical activity can infact, help manage anxiety and depression just as well, almost just as well as medication as well.

[00:18:16] Ayanda Charlie: Wow. That's amazing and I'm sure it's, it's, it's such a gift to your children to be able to teach them, you know, those sustainable, um, coping mechanisms such as, you know, just being active because we have found that, you know, there has been an increase of mental health issues like, you know, depression and anxiety and things like that.

[00:18:35] Ayanda Charlie: And I know if I had grown up more physical right, I would've probably developed much better breath work, much better coping mechanisms. And now, doctor, do you have any advice for a parent whose child maybe you know, uncoordinated, you know, disabled or overweight, or have any other condition that maybe that keeps physical activity from, from coming as easily to them?

[00:18:57] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Well, I think that aspect is quite an [00:19:00] important aspect for us to, to consider about children when they have these kind of conditions. So physical activity in children that have some kind of a either recognized or perceived disability. So they may be having, uh, a medical condition like diabetes.

[00:19:16] Dr Lervasen Pillay: They may be having obesity, they may be having other related muscular conditions like muscular dystrophy can tend to push them away from physical activity because they don't want to be socially, uh, excluded from being around and, uh, being laughed at, et cetera. Unfortunately, kids of this age, whether it was in the seventies, eighties, nineties, or now in the 21st century.

[00:19:37] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Kids are kids and they'll always will be this way inclined. So I think it's important that parents make sure that their child does not have a diagnosed medical condition. Uh, and, and once they've excluded these type of things, it's about getting them involved in an activity which doesn't allow that perceived disability that they have put to the fore.

[00:19:58] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So for instance, a child that may be obese at a certain age, try and get them involved in certain activities where their obesity won't be put out. So maybe get them involved in things like cycling. Uh, or things like rugby, uh, where, where that bigger size is, is sort of looked at as a more positive, uh, factor in their sports participation.

[00:20:23] Dr Lervasen Pillay: And slowly as they improve, then they can start making their own decisions of what they actually wanna enjoy doing. We can use healthcare professionals as well. So for instance, in the uncoordinated child, and most of us were all uncoordinated at some point in our lives. Uh, so I think getting involved in physical activity improves muscular function, muscular balance, and what we call neuromuscular control.

[00:20:48] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So how the brain controls the way we move. And the more activities you get involved into doing these things, the better that improves, uh, practitioners like biokineticists are [00:21:00] well established in trying to improve body movement in this regard. Mm-hmm. And I think that's, that's an aspect that we should never ignore of using healthcare professionals to try and promote this entire aspect.

[00:21:13] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So, uh, yeah, I think, I think there, there, there are ways of us trying to get parents to get their kids to get more involved in these aspects of things and you just need to know that you need to attend to the right healthcare practitioner to be able to promote these condition’s improvement.

[00:21:29] Ayanda Charlie: Now, doctor, what do you make of, you know, activities that perhaps bridge the gap between the physical and, and the virtual, you know, like digital, uh, games that maybe get you up, like, you know, VR sets and things like that.

[00:21:41] Ayanda Charlie: What do you make of, of those inventions, especially in times when you know it's maybe too cold or too wet outside, uh, to exercise?

[00:21:49] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Well, that's where there've been lots of other virtual reality game inventions that actually promote physical activity. There was a Nintendo, uh, gadget where you could, uh, almost make it like you're playing [00:22:00] tennis or something that sort.

[00:22:01] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So, so while in the comfort of your home, you're still being active. And, I mean, I've played it a few times and you can, you can vigorously uh, exercise playing those games depending on how competitive you are. But again, we need this thing called vitamin D. The sun is a wonderful thing. We go around it every day and that promotes muscular growth.

[00:22:24] Dr Lervasen Pillay: That promotes muscular function as well. And the only way that we can get good sources of activated vitamin D is by being outside in the sun by activating these things. Nature is a nature is a wondrous thing, and if we use nature's tools properly, we can actually improve ourselves.

[00:22:45] Ayanda Charlie: Mm indeed. That's so true. Um, are there any, uh, doctor that you know of, uh, common pitfalls that children may fall into that prevent them from keeping active? You know, that I may not have mentioned, you know, things like boredom, lack of motivation, or even injury. Uh, do you have any advice for overcoming [00:23:00] these?

[00:23:01] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So I think there are a couple of things. So, number one, bullying at schools, not only by, uh, fellow uh, learners, but also by coaches. Um, when, when teams are selected, child X continuously gets left out or is the last person to be chosen and that loses their motivation. The solution for that is very simple. Get them involved in an activity that will promote themselves so, Individual sports like karate, golf, et cetera, where they're challenging themselves and not others, and that will help them interact with others without being too, uh, uh, exposed to all these other exposures of growing up.

[00:23:40] Dr Lervasen Pillay: So that's one of those, those aspects that I can, uh, certainly think about. Then the other aspect that can reduce motivation of children being physically active is in fact those that are already highly competitive and physically active but are spurned on by their parents and caregivers all the time to perform at a higher level and [00:24:00] a higher level.

[00:24:01] Dr Lervasen Pillay: It's like, like anyone that is, that is over motivated and, and overworks themselves will end up leading a point where they just don't want to do this anymore. Again, as you've mentioned, that can lead them to sustaining more injuries because of over training and developing medical problems because of over training.

[00:24:20] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Um, and, and these can, can demotivate them from being involved in physical activity. So I think again, parents play a vital role in the development of a child's mind when it comes to their thoughts behind physical activity.

[00:24:34] Ayanda Charlie: Mm mm I'm so glad you touched on, on, you know, the opposite end of the spectrum where kids are being overwhelmed and overloaded, um, with intense sporting, um, schedules.

[00:24:44] Ayanda Charlie: So, uh, I appreciate you for touching on that and hopefully parents can take that. Um, on now finally, Dr. Pillay, what are your thoughts about energy drinks and supplements for children? Is it a good idea for kids to be consuming these beverages and taking supplements?

[00:24:58] Dr Lervasen Pillay: When I grew [00:25:00] up, uh, the, the, the most available supplement, there were two available supplements.

[00:25:04] Dr Lervasen Pillay: One was called water and the other one was called, was called milk. Uh, you know, you cannot supplement things that you're missing in your diet because all our supplements that are provided for by all these pharmaceutical companies, et cetera, are all at super normal levels, and you will just be spending money and throwing it down the drain.

[00:25:27] Dr Lervasen Pillay: If you lead a healthy nutritional diet and combine that with your physical activity, there would be no need for you to supplement anything in a growing child. What a child does need is physical activity to improve bone strength and muscle strength. What they also need is sleep, cuz that helps reset the brain, reset the hormones so they can grow better, faster, stronger.

[00:25:47] Ayanda Charlie: Mm-hmm. Well, Dr. Pillay, I mean, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us. You’ve really helped us to understand the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle for the whole family. So, so thank you very much.

[00:25:59] Dr Lervasen Pillay: Only [00:26:00] a pleasure and I hope people will start going out and start participating in things like park runs, et cetera, and we see more people outside in the parks.

[00:26:08] Ayanda Charlie: Before we wrap up, I’d like to share a great opportunity with you. If you are a Mediclinic Prime member and you would like to sign up as a family for Run/Walk For Life, you can receive a 30% discount. Check out the show notes for a link to this special offer. As we’ve heard today, fitness is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and incorporating physical activity into daily routines can be beneficial for all ages.

[00:26:33] Ayanda Charlie: According to the CDC, “Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and obesity.”

[00:26:57] Ayanda Charlie: Of course, finding the motivation and time to exercise can be a challenge, especially for busy families. Luckily, as we have learnt, there are many ways to make fitness a fun and enjoyable part of family life. And it is so important for parents to set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle themselves.

[00:27:15] Ayanda Charlie: If parents are committed to becoming healthier themselves, their children are much more likely to emulate these behaviours. There are so many ways to make fitness a family affair, whether hiking, biking, swimming, playing sports or joining your nearest Park Run as a family, for free. These are also great ways to bond as a family.

[00:27:35] Ayanda Charlie: Even small changes to daily routines can make a difference, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator or taking the dog for a family walk each day. By finding ways to make physical activity fun and enjoyable, families can promote healthy habits and set the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

[00:27:53] Ayanda Charlie: Thank you again to Dr Levarsen Pillay for being with me today. And to all of you who joined me, Ayanda Charlie, in listening to this episode of The Sports Series podcast, powered by Mediclinic. If you haven’t yet done so, subscribe to our podcast channel and sign up for the Mediclinic Prime newsletter, packed with great health articles; a bi-weekly series of newsletters focused on young families – the link is in the show notes too. Until next time.