Every summer, families across Canada feel the urge to get outside and be active. Health experts tell us this is good thing – an active family is a happy, healthy family.
As a member of Rugby Canada men’s team, being active is second nature to me, my partner and my children. My partner Jen and I are both very active, and between my rugby training, my job and her running, our children have spent their whole lives in gyms and outdoors.
Although, to the outsider, rugby may seem like a sport that’s too rough for younger players, it’s actually a perfect way to get anyone from age two and up to be active in a fun, spirited and empowering way. Rugby Canada recently supported the DHL Youth Leadership Scrum which awarded an exemplary Canadian athlete the chance to attend Rugby World Cup 2015 this fall and to deliver the official match-ball at one of the games. The winner, 14 year-old Lucy Black from Fredericton, NB, has been involved in the sport of rugby from a young age, and other contest entries also showed that boys and girls all across Canada are enthusiastically embracing the sport. Why not take advantage of this trend and offer your whole family a fun and healthy take on “passing the ball around?”
If you’re looking to get your family to have a more active summer, consider these tips, they are my family’s favourites:
- Focus on fun: Unlike TV or video games, nearly every activity you do outside has some fitness benefits. Street hockey, throwing around a rugby ball, Frisbee or cycling are all great choices, and an easy way to get your family excited about getting active.
- Put rugby on your roster: Children as young as two years old can safely start playing rugby. Get your family on the field with a foam rugby ball (for safety of your youngest team members) and spend 30 minutes together doing simple drills like passing, catching, or scoring. It’s a great way to work up a sweat, build teamwork skills and confidence.
- Seek out the rich benefits of organized sports: In addition to having fun outside with you, look around for teams you or your children can join. Personally, I find participating in team sports a great way to help children develop strong character, learn values like discipline, teamwork, respect and the dedication and commitment it takes to succeed.
- Make it a family affair. If your kids see you enjoying yourself, they are more likely to join in. Making physical activity a part of your family’s summer routine is not only a great way to take advantage of warm weather days now, but also one of the best ways to build healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
Did you know? Some fun facts about rugby:
- It’s growing: Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada, with 30,000 registered players and 250+ clubs apart of 10 provincial unions.
- Girl power: Rugby is truly a co-ed sport, with hundreds of high-schools with all-girl teams and women’s national teams. Unlike sports like hockey, women’s rugby has the exact same rules as the men’s game.
- Rugby World Cup 2015 is coming: Canada will participate in Rugby World Cup 2015, taking place in England and Wales this September and October. You may not know this, but Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, ranking behind only the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
James Pritchard is a member of the Rugby Canada men’s team, slated to represent Canada this fall at Rugby World Cup 2015. He is also a proud dad to Lucas, aged five, and Hayden, who is three years old.