I love sport and football has always been my passion. Through school, Boys’ Brigade, Spartans FC and now, in the very competitive over-35s league, football has kept me fit and healthy (save for two broken legs).

To be fair I never really gave the wider benefits of sport a thought until now. Why? Because my eight year old son has just told me he isn’t in the football team at school.

No big deal, except that his school doesn’t offer any other sport options that he likes. So, how do children who don’t like competitive sports but need lots of exercise (at least one hour per day if current advice is to be believed), get involved in sustainable healthy activity?

Some adults don’t like opting for indoor play centres. Yes, getting outdoors in the fresh air is best but the thought of standing around in a cold play park isn’t always so appealing to me. The next generation of play centres are an excellent ‘healthy option’. Free running, trampolining, climbing walls, scooter parks… my kids love them all and some even serve a decent coffee and offer WiFi so I like them too. Win / Win.

There’s a great privately-run breakdance class in Edinburgh – it’s run by a young, cool, super-fit guy and the kids love him. My son is having great fun there, building his confidence and getting fitter by the week – that’s brilliant.

Let’s get some creative thinking shared between schools, councils and the private sector to make exercise easy, sustainable, exciting, affordable, challenging and most of all fun. It shouldn’t be too difficult… should it?

PS. The picture was taken in my local council sports centre… you couldn’t make it up!


Andy Gray