Shaping Up '“ Improve your child's health

In today's technology era children are spending less time exercising and more time in front of computers and it's having a detrimental effect on their health.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 11:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 5:31 pm
Improve your child's health

Obesity in children is at an all time high in the UK, especially in the North East, where 36% of children are obese according to statistics.

It’s very important that we start to promote healthy exercise and eating habits to young children. The most influential people in a child’s life are their parents, so it’s vital that we are all good role models.

The plank exercise.

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That’s why I recently started a Parent and Child Boot Camp at a school in Seaham. It’s been a great success so I thought I’d share some of the tips with readers.

1. Start Small. Small changes can make a huge difference to your child’s overall health.

You don’t have to be perfect from the start, just start making small changes so they develop into good habits. Changing too much at once will result in failure.

2. Exercise with your child for 20 minutes every day. And keep it fun! Don’t bore them by taking them out hiking, choose an activity that they enjoy and make the effort to do it on a daily basis.

Tortilla pizzas.

3. Replace processed foods with home-cooked, healthy meals. Freshly cooked meals don’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to be a master chef.

Keep it simple but nutritious. I’ve included a Tortilla Pizza recipe for you that only takes five minutes to make.

4. Encourage and praise them for being active. Kids thrive off positivity. Give them a hug, a high five, a pat on the back, whatever it takes to make them feel good about themselves. Just don’t treat them with a Mars Bar.

5. Don’t skip breakfast. Going without breakfast correlates to four times the likelihood of obesity. Go for a high fibre and low sugar breakfast.

Personal fitness trainer Graham Low in his centre at the Seaham Marina.

Try one Weetabix with a small amount of milk. Add a tablespoon of full-fat yoghurt, topped with sliced bananas and berries. If needed add a small drizzle of honey to sweeten.

Weekly workout challenge

Try this with your kids to add a bit of fun.

Equipment needed: Dice

The plank exercise.

Roll the dice to determine what exercise you will do from the list below.

Perform the exercise or 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Roll the dice again during your 30 seconds rest. Repeat this for 15-20 minutes.


Start with your feet together and your hands down by your side. Jump your feet apart and at the same time raise your hands to the side and take them above your head. Return to the start position and repeat as many times as possible in 30 seconds.


A great way to start with squats is to stand in front of a chair with your feet at shoulder width. Keeping your back straight, sit on the chair then stand up again. Tip: don’t let your heels raise off the floor.

Tortilla pizzas.


From a standing position, lie down on your back (using your hands lower yourself down), then return to the standing position the same way.


Run up and down on a small step.


Get into press up position on the floor. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.

Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold that position for 30 seconds.


Run on the spot as fast as possible, lifting your knees as high as you can.

Tip: If you want to make the workout more difficult, try working for 40 seconds and resting for 20.

Recipe of the week

Serves one


One wholemeal tortilla

2 tbsp tomato puree

25g mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced thinly

½ chicken breast, cooked

Handful tinned sweetcorn

Handful rocket leaves

Black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place the tortilla on a baking tray. Spread 2 tbsp tomato puree evenly on the tortilla. Then place the cheese, sweetcorn and cooked chicken on top. Put the pizzas in the oven for 6-8 minutes (they cook quickly because the base is thin). Remove from the oven and serve straight away.

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email [email protected] or visit

Personal fitness trainer Graham Low in his centre at the Seaham Marina.