Whitehead highlights benefits of sport for mental health of UK’s youngsters

November 23rd – Paralympic double gold medallist Richard Whitehead has spoken about the benefits sport can have on the mental health of the UK’s children as he continues to support Marathon Kids ‘Keep Fit Thru Lockdown’ campaign.

The Nike athlete, who was made an MBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours for services to athletics, is encouraging children and schools across the UK to join the challenge that has been designed to get kids running as much as they can before the current lockdown restrictions are lifted, potentially after December 2nd.

‘In 2020 there is a big emphasis on mental health and sport can play such a big part in this. Role models in sport talking openly about the issues that we have today can remove some anxiety and can support children in opening up and feeling it’s ok to talk. Because that’s what is really important, that children feel comfortable with their own physical and mental wellbeing and if there are issues that they’re able to talk and have a platform to do so,’ commented Whitehead.

‘Sport is really important for the physical and mental wellbeing of children. It gives them the platform to be creative, to develop social skills, to develop physically as well as mentally, and also develop resilience and overcome adversity through challenges in sport,’ he added.

The 44-year-old, 200m T42 athlete who was victorious in London in 2012 and then again four years later in Rio, has also told Marathon Kids that he feels children should be encouraged to improve their talking and communication skills in order to be the best they can be.

‘One of the best pieces of advice I was given as youngster was to be a good communicator, to be able to communicate with my team effectively so they know how I’m feeling and also what my expectations are; and also, that my team understand how to communicate with me so that then they can get the best out of me and that then becomes a strong team, an effective team. So that’s how I’ve developed as an athlete,’ he said.

The winning school – which will receive £1,000 of Nike sports equipment – will be based on the highest average distance ran per child between the dates of November 13th and December 2nd 2020 inclusive and will be announced on Thursday, December 3rd  2020.

Please click here to sign up! https://www.marathonkids.co.uk/keepfitthrulockdown/

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