Twelve days of Sport-mas! Olympian urges youngsters across Aylesbury Vale and beyond to make a sporting start to 2013

Alex Danson
Alex Danson

School may soon be out, but parents across the South East should encourage youngsters to stay active and not lose their fitness levels during the Christmas holiday, says Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentor, Alex Danson.

Alex, who helped Team GB’s women’s hockey team bring home a bronze medal at London 2012, works as an Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport.The free secondary school initiate delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, uses sport stars and sport skills to improve their lives.

And, while the season of food, fun and festivities is under way, Alex is keen to encourage youngsters to stay active and explore new sports during the Christmas break.

Having begun her own hockey career on the school playing pitch, Alex Danson is a firm believer that both parents and their offspring should play an active role in helping find the right sport they can enjoy for years to come:

“It’s important for youngsters to stay physically active all year round and keep their fitness up during the school holidays. Our top tips offer some great ideas for making the most of the Christmas holidays from discovering a new sport to spending that extra family time together doing something healthy and fun.

Working with experts at Sky Sports Living for Sport, Alex has devised the Twelve Days of Sport-mas top tips for helping youngsters (and their parents!) make a sporting start to 2013...


1. If we are lucky enough to get some snow this winter, try sledging and if you fancy going that extra mile, why not set up a slalom track in the local park?

2. Get a map out and plan a five mile walking route around your local areas. Wrap up warm, get some friends together and go exploring!

3. Have a go at ice skating – the perfect family Christmas time activity.

4. We all love snow in winter, so why not mix snow and sport for even more fun? Make lots of snow balls, set up staggered targets, and get throwing!

5. Work up an appetite for your festive treats by going for a ten minute walk before each meal. Why not go three times a day?

6. Go for a swim - a sure way to warm yourself up this winter and get fit at the same time. Mix up your strokes to get the most out of the exercise.

7. Head down to your local fitness centre and rent a tennis or badminton court for an hour. It shouldn’t cost much and is a great way to get active with friends and warm up!

8. Try your hand at indoor skiing. If you’re lucky enough to have a dry ski slope near you, give it a try. Instructors will help beginners, and more advanced skiers can show off their skills and try other winter sports like snowboarding.

9. Try a local dance class like Zumba with a few friends. If nothing else it will warm you up, teach you new skills and you are sure to have a few giggles!

10. Gather up a few friends and play five-a-side football, with the promise of hot chocolate as a treat afterwards!

11. Why not cycle to the shops to do your Christmas shopping. If you fancy a bit more of a trial, take a hilly route!

12. Start your New Year’s resolution early, and take up a new sporting hobby! Pick a new sport, join the club and promise yourself to stick with it throughout 2013.

Alex continued: “With an unforgettable sporting year coming to an end, there’s never been a better time for the nation’s youngsters to be inspired by sport, learn new skills and get mentally and physically fit ready for the new year.”

Launched in 2003, Sky Sports Living for Sport has helped improve the lives of more than 50,000 young people by raising their aspirations and building their life skills. Last year more than 1,000 schools planned Sky Sports Living for Sport projects and there were 1,385 Athlete Mentor visits to schools.

The free initiative encourages pupils to take on a series of different sports activities and put their new skills and confidence into practice by managing their own sporting event. The key areas of focus for the initiative are: boosting young people’s confidence, changing their behaviours, increasing their attainment and improving their life skills.

Schools signed up to the initiative receive up to two visits from a talented Athlete Mentor to inspire the students on their sporting journeys.

Secondary schools can learn more about Sky Sports Living for Sport and sign up today at