Friday, February 26, 2021

Benefits of Physical Activity for Young People


Evidence shows that Children are more active than adults, but their activity levels decline as they move toward adolescence, and significant numbers of young people do not participate in recommended levels of physical activity. It is estimated that 80% of teenagers worldwide are not sufficiently active (Cooper et al, 2015).

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is any activity that involves moving your body. It includes everyday activities such as games, sports, transportation, chores, recreation, physical education as well as organised sports and exercise. Physical activity can be classified as Light physical activity, moderate activity, and vigorous activity.

Light physical activity includes everyday activities like leisurely walking, standing to do artwork or playing a musical instrument. Moderate activities make your child huff and puff a bit. These could include brisk walking, dancing, bike riding, swimming laps and jogging. Even helping out with some of the more active chores inside and outside your home can be good.

Vigorous activities increase your child’s heart rate and make him huff and puff a lot. Vigorous activities can happen in any game with lots of running. They’re often a big part of sports like soccer, cycling, hockey and football, and some forms of dance.

Why Physical Activity is Important for Children and Young People

Physical activity has been found to positively impact on both physical and psychological health. Being physically active every day is good for children and young people because it:

- improves heart and lung health
- boosts the child’s immune system
- develops strong muscles, bones and good posture
- helps the child maintain a healthy weight and avoid overweight or obesity
- reduces the risk of high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and type-2 diabetes.

Physical activity is also great for:

- breaking up long periods of sitting and studying
- improving concentration and memory
- learning new skills
- increasing self-confidence
- reducing stress and improving sleep
- making and keeping friendships.

How much physical activity do young people need?

Children aged from 5 years up to 18 years: According to experts, this group need one hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity and several hours of light physical activity each day. And at least three days a week, this should include activities that strengthen muscles and bones.

Young people aged 18 years and over: should do 2½-5 hours of moderate physical activity or 1¼-2½ hours of vigorous physical activity each week. Or they can do a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity that adds up to enough activity overall. And at least two days a week, this should include activities that strengthen muscles.

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