What’s the Physical Activity for Children and Youth?

90899963-ee8e-47ae-ae59-438cfb92ccd9The thought of exercise doesn’t make Children and youth  jump for joy, but no one was born with a ‘rubbish-at-sport’ gene.  So, however hopeless you think you are, there’s an activity out there to suit you.

In an official recent survey, doctors found 17 per cent of boys and 16 per cent of girls between 12 and 15 are classed as either overweight or obese. Nearly three quarters of children are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity outside of school.

The excuses

  • “It’s not cool.” People who tell you it’s not cool are usually the ones who couldn’t run to catch a bus if their lives depended on it.
  • “None of my friends or family does it.” If your friends and family make fun of fit folk it might actually be because they’re jealous.
  • “It’s a boy thing.” More boys than girls do exercise, because many girls don’t find the activities at school suit them.
  • “It’s sore/uncomfortable/sweaty.” Yes, activity does make you sweat, but if you’re enjoying yourself you probably won’t notice – and everyone else gets sweaty too.
  • “I don’t want muscles.” To get big muscles you have to do a programme of specific exercises.
  • “I’m overweight/skinny/have a disability.” If you’re genuinely very overweight, not just a stone or less, talk to your doctor and tell them what you want to do.
  • “I don’t like joining in/teams.” If teams leave you cold, check out activities you can do by yourself or with a friend.
  • “I’d rather play with the computer/watch TV/talk to my mates.” It doesn’t have to be either/or – you can do both.

Apart from the health benefits people of all ages get from exercise, it’s also an opportunity to meet up with friends or make new ones, it can provide a fun break from the stresses of school and exams, and it can give you a real sense of achievement – you never know, you might discover a talent you never knew you had.

School sports

  • Some children/youth are particularly uncomfortable about sport and exercise at school. If that’s the case for you, talk to your Physical Education teacher, to resolve the problems.
  • How much exercise do I need?
  • Children and young people get one hour of physical activity a day.
  • This activity should be of at least moderate intensity.  If you can manage something a bit more strenuous, then that’s even better.
  • At least twice a week you should include activities to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility.

A report by medical experts, published in medical magazine The Lancet, says even an hour’s activity a day, which most young people don’t achieve, isn’t enough. If you want to avoid heart disease and obesity, you need to do 90 minutes exercise a day, experts say.”

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