England Cricketers Woakes & Ecclestone join forces with Dr Ranj to Help Kids Get Outdoors and Active Again

According to a press release by ECB, England cricket stars Chris Woakes and Sophie Ecclestone, who are also all set to star in the brand new 100 ball tournament 'The Hundred' this summer, have penned a letter to more than 150,000 children and their parents around the country about the positive role the game of cricket can play in their lives.

The two cricketers visited their old primary schools to read the letters to students
exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. A recent study has shown that activity levels have fallen over the past year for years 1-2 (ages 5-7) and years 3-6 (ages 7-11).

In an effort to get children back outdoors and active again, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Dynamos Cricket and All Stars Cricket programmes offered the perfect solution for the parents.

In the letters, ICC Men's World Cup winner Woakes and the number one ranked T20 bowler in the world, Ecclestone shared a detailed account of their own experiences of playing when younger, and the advantages it gave them right from physical health to having a fun time with their friends.

As the United Kingdom comes out of a third lockdown, its effects on kid's activity levels have been profound. Research pointed out that nearly one third of kids and youth (2.3m) are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day – with activity levels lowest for school years 3-4 (ages 7-9).

This came in spite of the government recommendation that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 should engage in 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity every day.

Findings have also highlighted that organised sport and activity have tremendous advantages for children. However, the generation has missed out on these advantages for over a year now.

The sport of cricket in particular is a great medium to get kids outdoors and provides much more than just health benefits like giving children more freedom and independence, promoting solidarity and socialising along with overall wellbeing and gives a break from the pressures of life.

To facilitate parents to get their kids more active, the ECB has launched a new programme for 8-11 girls and boys of all abilities – 'Dynamos Cricket' which will have participants get active, have fun while making new friends and building their cricketing skills along with playing a fast-paced, fun game of countdown cricket – a new format that mirrors the upcoming tournament of 'The Hundred'

Supporting this, the ECB has launched a video of the Cricket stars reading the letters to the students at their old schools, in which they acknowledge the problems that kids faced in getting outdoors with friends during the past year of lockdowns and motivate them to give the game of cricket a go.

Chris Woakes said, “It has been such a tough year for kids all over the country, and we have to do all that we can do to help them. They’ve been separated from their friends and they haven’t had the opportunity to get outside and live active lives as they normally would. This has to change. I have personally benefited hugely from exercise and cricket over the years, and I just want kids to be able to have that opportunity too. We all stand to lose out if they are denied it. As a kid, I’d have loved to have something like Dynamos and after the year we’ve had I hope it will offer lots of fun for kids and parents alike this summer.”

Sophie Ecclestone said, “While I was growing up, playing cricket and getting outside were a constant source of fun and relaxation for me, and have continued to play a crucial role in my life. I’d hate to have had that taken away for one week, let alone a whole year, so I can only imagine what kids have been going through. I loved revisiting my old school to talk to the kids about it all – especially the girls – and chat about the positive impact sport can have on their mental and physical health, because it is such an important message. It is why getting kids back outside and active is so important.”

Dr Ranj Singh said, “The physical benefits of fitness and getting outside are well known. However, their role in reducing stress and anxiety, developing social skills and, crucially, given the events of the last year, bringing people together to reduce isolation and loneliness are more important than ever. Cricket is such a great way to get outside for a prolonged period of time with friends and is the perfect antidote to the lockdowns kids have been impacted by over the last year.”


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