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Colin Jackson and Darcey Bussell urge parents to show children fitness is fun

We need to remember how social sport is
– Colin Jackson CBE

Never underestimate the positive social and mental effects of activity – that was the message to parents from Colin Jackson CBE and Darcey Bussell CBE on National Fitness Day.

Former GB athlete Jackson and ballerina-turned-presenter Bussell revealed their personal experiences as the dust settled on National Fitness Day across the UK.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bussell, who opened the event at Paddington Recreation Ground with a dance workout from her DDMIX programme, said she has witnessed the effects of exercise on her own children.

“It's one of the most important things for us to be active,” Bussell told Sports Management at the ground, operated by Everyone Active. “I have two daughters and I know they're happier and better within themselves when they've physically exerted themselves.

“I think it's up to parents to get kids active. Schools obviously have PE, but I think there needs to be more choice in schools, so there's something for every child, not just the ones who are sporty. Ultimately though, I think it has to be part of a family's life.”

“Exercise can be entertaining – we forget that, we think of it as a chore. Dance is a wonderful invitation into being active because music is very inspiring – when you turn on some music, you can't help but want to move.

Bussell revealed the difficulties she faced when she ended her stellar career in ballet. “When I retired from ballet, I initially thought I'd just be normal and I wouldn't be active six times a week, but then I realised I was missing those endorphins.

“I started by doing some Zumba classes, or something that put a smile on my face, and just realised that I was much more cheerful for the rest of the day. So I just made sure I built it back into my schedule.”

Jackson, who is the ambassador for Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions Scheme, also inspired the crowd by recounting the impact he has seen from sport.

“You can get an extended family from sport – when I got into athletics as a youngster all my school friends had left and it was just me on my own at home,” the former Olympian told Sports Management.

“So when I went to a track I found a new set of friends who had the same kind of objectives and wanted to have a laugh and joke.

“I think we need to remember how social sport is, it's an important way of getting people together and becoming a little bit closer as a community.”

He also had this advice for the health club sector: “Gyms can help by being attentive to members – helping and guiding people, and making sure they're not intimidated by the equipment.”

Organised by ukactive, National Fitness Day took place on Wednesday, 27 September 2017, with schools, workplaces, health clubs and sports centres across the UK encouraging people to try new activities in a bid to make exercise part of everyone’s life.

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Never underestimate the positive social and mental effects of activity – that was the message to parents from Colin Jackson CBE and Darcey Bussell CBE on National Fitness Day. Former GB athlete Jackson and ballerina-turned-presenter Bussell revealed their personal experiences as the dust settled on National Fitness Day across the UK.
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