Ask Pedal

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Is there something you would like to know about exercise and keeping fit?

Then please ask me about it! I'll answer as many questions as I can.

Ask me a question!

Why do we need to do exercise?

from Rami of Manchester

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Exercise helps your body to work properly. Children should do at least an hour of exercise every day, but that doesn't have to be all in one go - even just walking to school and back or walking to the local shops will help. The more exercise you do, the fitter you'll feel - so the more energy you'll have to play! Eating the right food is important too. Your body needs food for energy. Eating food with lots of goodness in it helps make your bones and muscles healthy. Even when you are asleep, your body is using the good things in the food you eat to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your brain working. 

Why not try our activity spinner with your friends and family?

How much exercise should we be doing in a week?

from Rikhil of Herts

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That's a really good question! Regular exercise is very good for us, so we should try to do some every day. Children should aim for 60 minutes a day. This could be playing a game of football, swimming, cycling, walking to school or a game of tag. You don't have to do 60 minutes all at once, you can spread it out over the day! Have fun exercising!

You can record how much exercise you do in a week by using Pedal’s fitness diary.

What is the best sport to play when you want to use all your muscles?

from Ruth of Halesowen

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The answer has to be swimming! It is a great all-round sport that will use lots of different muscles, especially if you learn how to do all of the strokes. Do you know how to swim? If not, perhaps your family could find out where you could learn. If you are a swimmer already, maybe you could join a swimming club so that you become even better at it. It's really important for children (and adults) to keep active and swimming can be fun for all the family. Of course, not everyone enjoys doing the same sports so try out a new sport whenever you get the chance.

There are lots of ways to use your muscles. Why not try these fun exercises with Pedal? Don't forget to warm up first!

Does horse-riding keep you fit?

from Ella of Kent

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Horse-riding involves much more than just sitting on a horse. You need to climb up and get down, you need to use your arms and legs a lot to control the horse and hopefully you will be helping to brush and clean him/her too. This is hard work! All these things use up energy, so yes, horse-riding can help you keep fit and healthy. Remember you should try to be active for at least 60 minutes each day.

You don't have to ride a horse to get fit! Try playing pirate instead. Walk the plank, scrub the deck or climb the rigging. What will you do?

When you play football, which muscle does it help?

from Subhan of Essex

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What a good question! It's a hard one to answer too because football can help so many different parts of your body. When you play football you are running a lot, which is good cardiovascular exercise. This means you are helping your heart stay healthy. You are also using your leg muscles for a lot of the moves – particularly the muscles in your thighs. These are your quadriceps. So football helps these parts of your body too. I think it's best to say that football helps your general fitness. Remember to always warm up before a game and stretch before and afterwards so that you don't pull a muscle! Have fun playing!

Why not improve your football skills by making your own dribbling-posts?

What should you eat before running a race?

from Lauren of Forres

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Well, first of all, it is important to make sure you are always eating a balanced diet so that you are getting all of the nutrients you need. Nutrients will give your body the energy it needs for exercise. Different foods give our bodies different kinds and amounts of nutrients. Foods like bread, pasta and rice have carbohydrates in them that give our bodies lots of energy. So these foods are a good choice if you are going to be running a race. Choose wholemeal versions if you can because they are healthiest. Remember that you shouldn’t eat anything just before a race, because your body needs time to digest food.

Find out more about food for sports. Learn about vitamins, minerals and more! 

Can ice skating keep you fit?

from Yuvan of Surrey

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Any activity that gets you moving helps you to stay healthy. You move around a lot when you ice skate so it's definitely a good thing to do to keep fit. It's also great fun... so long as you can stay upright! Children should do at least 60 minutes of exercise each day to keep healthy. This doesn't have to be all in one go, and can be any kind of activity like ice skating, walking, running, playing football or even playing catch. How will you get your 60 minutes today?

Can you wiggle, hop or creep? Pretend to be an animal with this fun game. Another great way to get your 60 minutes exercise for the day!

How many miles is the London Marathon?

from Jake of Hertfordshire

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The London Marathon is a very long race – it is just over 26 miles. That's like running up and down a football pitch 420 times! Running is good exercise and helps us keep healthy. People who run marathons are really fit – they do a lot of training before the race to make sure that their bodies are ready to run such a long way. The fastest runner in 2009's marathon finished in two hours and five minutes, but most people take four to six hours to run a marathon. Maybe you could run the London Marathon when you're older! Until then, why not organise some shorter races in the park with your friends?

If you like doing sport in the park, you could even hold a mini Olympics with your friends! Why not try these four fun games?

When you run, why do you sweat and get tired?

from Juwairiyyah of Ilford

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What a good question! Think of when you have been in a car and how hot the engine got after a long journey. Our bodies are a bit like cars – they chug along and produce heat. Like a car engine our body has a system to make sure we don't get too hot. It does this with the help of sweating, which cools us down. When you run you use lots of energy. Feeling tired is a message your body sends to you to let you know you have used up your energy. You can get energy from the food you eat. Your body needs a good mix of lots of different foods to stay healthy. It also needs water, so make sure you replace the fluid lost in sweat by having a drink during and after exercising.

What can I do to be more active?

from Alisha of Leeds

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Look outside your window. What's the weather like today? Whether it's sunny, windy or rainy, there's always a way to have fun being active inside or out! When it's windy go out and fly a kite. Blow soap bubbles and see who can pop the most bubbles in the shortest time. When it's sunny go for a bike ride. Do some races and time yourself to see how fast you go. Take the dog for a long walk. Wash your parents' car. If it's warm enough, have a water-fight! When it's rainy put some music on and invent some dance moves. Try skipping with a skipping rope and counting how many times you can jump without stopping. Take up a house chore time challenge, and see who is the quickest at vacuuming, washing plates or tidying up. Just be careful not to break anything! When it's snowy go ice skating if you live near an ice rink. Take walks in your local park and look for animal footprints. And remember, children should be active for at least 60 minutes every day, but this doesn't have to be all in one go.

Why not try some of our fun picnic games? There are five games you can learn and play.

I walk to school. Is this good exercise?

from Finley of Sheffield

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Yes, we should try to be active for at least 60 minutes every day and walking to school is a great way to be active. Walking is easy and really good for you! When you walk more quickly your body uses more energy so it's even better for you. Try to get your friends to join in too. If friends at your school live nearby, you could organise a walking group. This would also give you a chance to play games with friends on the way. Ask your parent or carer to print out the Walk to school chart from the Parents section of our website. This can help you keep track of how much exercise you are getting by walking to school each day for a week. Remember! Make sure that an adult always walks with you and that you are careful especially near roads.

Keep a record of how many minutes you walk to school every day with this handy wall chart!

How many sports are there in the world?

from Azin of Reading

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What a good question! Nobody knows for sure, some people say there are as many as 8,000 sports in the world. The Olympic Games alone includes 26 different sports. Playing sports is a great way to have fun and be active, and with so many sports to choose from you are bound to find a sport that's just right for you. If you like being part of a team, why not try football, rugby, hockey, basketball, volleyball or cricket? If you like individual sports, why not try swimming, running, cycling, gymnastics, ice skating or martial arts? Fun activities like playing in the playground, dancing, walking the dog and working in the garden are other great ways to be active and they will help you reach your 60 minutes of exercise each day.

Ready, steady, go! Learn more about Pedal’s favorite sports.

How does exercise pump your heart and blood?

from Ilana of London

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What a good question! Your heart has the really important job of sending blood around your body. Your blood gives your body the oxygen and the nutrients it needs to work properly. When you exercise your body needs more energy and oxygen, so your heart beats faster and quickly sends more blood around your body. This gives you the energy and oxygen you need. This is good exercise for the heart. In fact, as your heart is a muscle, you need to exercise it to keep it healthy and strong. How do you do that? By being active! Try to be active for at least 60 minutes every day. The more exercise you do the stronger your heart will be.

Try these fun actions to get fit - pretend to dig, rake or scrub. How does your garden grow?

Why is karate not in the Olympics?

from Nathan of Hornchurch

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UPDATE: Karate has been included on the list of Olympic sports for Tokyo 2020!

Karate is a very popular sport – like judo and taekwondo it's a type of martial art. Even though karate is not part of the Olympic Games, judo and taekwondo are. To be part of the Olympics, all sports have to pass a vote of the International Olympic Committee. Unfortunately karate has never had enough votes, but it might do in the future. Karate is a good way to be active as it's what we call a high-intensity activity. This means that when you do karate your body uses more energy, so it's good for you. There are many karate classes available. Ask your parent or carer to look at for martial arts schools near you. Remember, some martial arts are not good for children, so check first.

How can we stay fit on cold and rainy days?

from Mashood of London

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Just because it's cold or rainy outside doesn't mean you can't be active and have lots of fun indoors. Here are some ideas: Put on a show – create your own show and be a magician, a dancer or even a gymnast. Bring outdoor games indoors – play volleyball with a balloon and a piece of string tied between two chairs, or play basketball with a soft ball and a basket, but be careful not to break anything. 5 A DAY treasure hunt – ask an adult to hide clues around the house, which will lead you to a tasty fruit snack. And remember parks are not just great for spring and summer. Go for a walk, bike ride, or play football... just wrap up warm and go on an adventure.

Who said rainy days are boring? Try our fun out in space target game. Ready? Three, two, one… blast off!

What is a relay race?

from Ibrahim of London

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A relay race is a race split into different parts. Two or more teams take part. Team members stand at the start, middle and finish lines. The first runner runs along the track. When they reach the next team member they pass them a baton or stick. The second runner then runs along the track and passes the stick to the next runner, and so on until the last runner finishes the race. Relay races can be run in a sports hall or in a park. You'll need to mark a start, middle and finish line. Here are some fun relay races you can play in the park with your friends: Crab race – run across the grass like a crab. Tunnel relay – the team stands behind each other with their legs apart. The last in the row crawls through the legs to the front and stands at the front of the line. Sponge relay – fill a bucket of water from another bucket using a sponge. Spoon balloon – pass on a balloon from one player to the next using a spoon.

Why not have your own relay race? Try making this rainbow fish windsock and learn how to play the rainbow fish relay game.

Why do we have to warm up before doing exercise?

from Sarah of London

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Have you ever heard someone starting the engine of an old car? The engine may not start first time and then it will need to run for a little while to warm up before it can drive away. Your body needs to warm up before exercise too. Warming up increases the heat all through your body - like warming up the engine. Once your body is warm, the muscles are softer. This means that they are stretchier and able to move smoothly, work better together and help you to do your best without risking injury. To warm up, start with some jogging on the spot for 3 minutes, do some stretching for 10 minutes and finish off with a high energy activity like running or kicking a ball.

Where does the word 'exercise' come from?

from Hafisah of London

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The word 'exercise' has been used by people for more than a thousand years. At first it probably meant 'driving farm animals to the fields to plough'. So quite a different type of exercise from what we do today. People have been keeping fit and doing sports since the beginning of time. Did you know that the very first Olympic Games took place in Greece over 2,700 years ago? Some of the sports played then are still part of the Olympic Games today, including sprint races, long jump and throwing the javelin and discus. All types of exercise are good for you, not just sports. In fact, any playground games you do, or walking to school or even helping your family to clean the house, all count towards achieving your 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Why not try these fun playground games to stay fit at school?