Help your children to keep active during the winter months - Angela McCowan

As the days get shorter, the leaves on the trees turn golden, and we dig our woolly jumpers out from the back of the wardrobe, our natural instinct can be to retreat to our sofas to watch the telly with a cup of tea. As tempting as it is to go into hibernation, it’s important that we keep ourselves and our children moving throughout the winter months.

Being active is part of getting the best start in life. This is in part because much of our health and wellbeing is shaped as a child. If children find an activity they love, whether that’s kicking a ball about in the park, riding their bike at weekends or attending a local dance class, the more likely they are to grow up to become happy, healthy and active teenagers.

But taking part in sport and physical activity doesn’t just protect their health and wellbeing. Spending time with other children, challenging themselves in a safe space, and channeling their energy into something positive can all support personal growth at an important stage in a child’s life. It can boost their confidence, increase resilience, teach them to work in teams and share, and even help them to become more focused and productive learners.

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Edinburgh Leisure is a charity committed to creating opportunities for everyone in Edinburgh to keep active and well. Even when the weather is typically Scottish, we offer plenty of fun ways for children to get active, such as soft play, Clip ‘n Climb at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, our adult & baby classes, holidays clubs, and sports coaching.

Young gymnasts get the chance to shine at Edinburgh LeisureYoung gymnasts get the chance to shine at Edinburgh Leisure
Young gymnasts get the chance to shine at Edinburgh Leisure

Our sports coaching programme offers opportunities for babies, toddler and children to get involved in a range of sports, including gymnastics, trampolining, swimming, diving, tennis, football, and climbing, at any time throughout the year. With the opening of the new Meadowbank Sports Centre and the introduction of athletics coaching, children can also now take their first steps on the running track and follow in the footsteps of Tokyo 2020 Olympians Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman who started their journey in the sport there.

Carly’s 5-year-old daughter Zara goes to Entry Level Gymnastics coaching at Drumbrae Leisure Centre, having started Gym Nippers there when she was at nursery.

“Zara always looks forward to a Thursday when she can go to her gymnastics class. She loves learning new skills like doing forward rolls. She’s always very proud of her achievements and enjoys coming home to show us what she’s learned in class.

It’s very important to me that my children can enjoy an active childhood. As well as the obvious benefits to their physical health, there are so many other positives that come with being active. Going along to gymnastics has boosted Zara’s confidence, helped her to learn new skills, improved her ability to listen and follow instructions, and helped her to form friendships.”

We are proud to help children like Zara keep active over the winter months and we hope that the opportunities we offer to enjoy an active start in life can help inspire them to lead healthier, happier and more active lives as they grow up.

If you would like more information on sports coaching at Edinburgh Leisure, go to

Angela McCowan is Edinburgh Leisure’s Coaching Programme Manager

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