Hockey star Gemma Flynn gets our kids active

Hockey star Gemma Flynn, pictured at Murrays Bay School in Auckland, is leading a new health programme targeted at kids. Photo / Supplied
Hockey star Gemma Flynn, pictured at Murrays Bay School in Auckland, is leading a new health programme targeted at kids. Photo / Supplied

Black Sticks star Gemma Flynn has been stepping off the hockey field and into schools to help Kiwi kids get active.

Flynn has teamed up with rugby great Cory Jane to lead the classroom-based AIA Healthy Kids Challenge, which attracted more than 15,000 registrations in just two weeks after its launch last month.

The health and well-being initiative combines technology and athletes to motivate and educate primary school children and their parents to lead healthier lives.

Each child receives a free pedometer to count the number of steps they take every day, and also gets to create their own unique avatar.

The programme records each class' daily average steps, giving them the opportunity to win prizes, including AIA sports grants and Huawei tablets for their school.

Gemma pictured with the school kids. Photo / Supplied
Gemma pictured with the school kids. Photo / Supplied

The children's journey will be captured in a virtual online world showing the progress of their avatars as they work together to unlock new destinations.

As children complete each leg, they're shown an animated video of their avatar exploring each new place with Flynn and Jane, and other New Zealand sporting stars.

They also learn about the history and culture of the countries they "visit", and get health tips on the way.

"It's a wonderful initiative that brings people together and encourages quality family time," said Flynn, who has a degree in Sport and Exercise Science from Massey University and runs her own health and wellness business.

"It provides a fun way for families to be active together and, importantly, it sets manageable goals."

She said parents today faced myriad challenges when it came to growing healthy, happy, resilient children.

"People's lives are busier than ever, there are multiple distractions and it's often a struggle to get the 'eat, move, sleep' balance right.

"It helps to have good tools and information."

Flynn said there was much noise to filter out to get the best advice, and she recommended families find what works for them.

"No one rule applies to everyone. Plan your time and prioritise what's important.

"Set realistic goals and make slight adjustments to what you do over time. And make it fun."

- NZ Herald

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