Your questions answered by fitness expert Joanna Hall

My husband is a fitness fanatic. As parents, we are both worried about our kids getting lazy, fat and unfit, so he’s started insisting our two under-10 children join him for his weekend jogs in the park. Are we doing the right thing?

Before you grab your child to join you for a weekend jog, bear in mind that children do not need to do the same exercise regime to achieve the same health benefits as adults. Children experience a range of different physiological responses to exercise. For instance, the cardiovascular system of their heart and lungs is less like an endurance athlete and more like a sprinter.

Consequently, their natural form of play starts with fun with a capital F, and involves more stop-start activity and short bursts of energy. So taking your children out with you on a jog, although well intentioned, is physically more challenging for them, as their bodies find it harder to respond.

Instead nurture your husband’s enthusiasm and encourage all of you to go to the park and play games such as tag. Let them take short breaks to play on the swings and slides, or feed the ducks. When playing games with an element of skill, boost their confidence and interest by tailoring them to create success for different abilities and ages in the family. For example, with beach cricket — allow a player more than three goes, increase the size of the bat or ball or reduce the run length.

It’s worth remembering a young child is often less economical in his or her movements than an adult. Since cycling is independent of body weight and pedalling frequency, it’s one of the best all-round exercises a family can do together. So why not plan a cycling trip with a picnic and don’t forget to pack a kite. Your husband can always do his run before you leave. Have fun!

· Joanna Hall is a fitness expert (joannahall. com).

Send your exercise questions to: Weekend, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER ([email protected]).

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