WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHILDREN DO NOT EXERCISE
REDUCED SCHOOL PERFORMANCE
Exercise boosts brain power and improves academic results. Also, research proves that moderate activity increases brain function, cognition and academic performance in children. Moreover, exercise boosts the blood flow to the brain which assists children with everything, from concentration and alertness to problem solving. Lack of physical activity means that your children may miss out on these benefits, and not reach their full academic potential at school.
INCREASE RISK OF DISEASE
It’s more difficult to maintain a healthy weight and regulate blood pressure without regular physical activity. Overweight children are more prone to developing high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Childhood stress has increased over the last few decades, with 40% of children reporting feeling stressed and overly worried. Prolonged stress in young children can slow, or even stop, brain development and physical growth.
Lack of exercise can lead to a diminished sense of well-being. Good mental health is vital for learning and life, and helps kids enjoy their daily experiences, build positive and meaningful relationships with others, and develop vital coping skills for later in life.
LACK OF SLEEP
Lack of exercise also affects sleep patterns positively. The recommendation is that school age kids and teens sleep between 9 and 11 hours a night, depending on their age. However, inactive children are more likely to have difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep.
A report was published Jan. 14 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The message from this study is clear and simple -- for any given body weight, going from inactive to active can substantially reduce the risk of premature death," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. From a public health perspective, it is as important to increase levels of physical activity as it is to reduce the levels of obesity -- maybe even more so, he added.
The study is a reminder that being both fit and lean are good for health, and physical activity that leads to fitness is also a way of avoiding fatness, Katz said.
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at New York University Medical Center in New York City, said, "If you look at the human body, you will notice the odd, irregular shapes of the bones and muscles. Just the musculoskeletal architecture of the human body shows that it is designed to move."
The adaptations the body makes to regular exercise are nothing short of "astounding," she said. Aerobic exercise ignites the body's immune system, improves mental function, boosts energy, strengthens muscles and bones, and reduces the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, she said.
"If we do not move, we will not be able to move," Heller said. "'Gee, I am so sorry I exercised today' is something no one has ever said."
CONSEQUENCES OF PROLONGED PHYSICAL INACTIVITY
PHYSICAL INACTIVITY CAN:
Being sedentary may be twice as deadly as being obese (ADULT or CHILD), a new study suggests. "Efforts to encourage exercise in inactive individuals likely have significant health benefits and can reduce the risk of an early death by as much as 30 percent," said lead author Ulf Ekelund, a senior investigator scientist in the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
Experts say physical activity allows children to have a better outlook on life by building confidence, managing anxiety and depression, and increasing self-esteem and cognitive skills. “Exercise also releases endorphins, which correlates to a happy child,” said Len Saunders, physical health educator, and author of “Keeping Kids Fit” and “Buddy and Bea.”
These alarming statistics are the reason the World Health Organisation has identified ‘inactivity’ as the fourth leading cause of death, with an estimated 3.2 million losing their lives globally to the effects of sedentary lifestyles.
'KILLS MORE THAN OBESITY'
THIS IS BAD NEWS FOR COUCH LOVERS
Most people do not exactly love to exercise, but if you lead a completely sedentary lifestyle, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In fact, inactivity has been linked to even more deaths than obesity.
Lack of physical activity can add to feelings of anxiety and depression. Physical inactivity may increase the risk of certain cancers. Physically active overweight or obese people significantly reduced their risk for disease with regular physical activity.
A 2015 study of over 300,000 people showed that just going from being totally inactive to being “moderately inactive,” or exercising lightly and infrequently, showed a huge reduction in death rate.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EFFECTS ON A CHILD’S BODY FROM PHYSICAL INACTIVITY
THE RESULT OF A “COUCH LOVING” LIFESTYLE
Physically, it can result in a whole range of problems as children grow. They suffer from weak bones and muscles, because they’re not getting that essential strengthening from regular play. There’s also a risk that children could develop similar problems as some adults who don’t exercise, with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, higher blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels. But it’s not just physical effects.
Experts suggest physical activity is key in children’s mental well-being too. It builds confidence, reduces anxiety and develops key cognitive skills. All in all, this gives children a healthy and positive outlook on life. With play as one of the key social situations for children, physical activity is also essential for their social development, learning to compete, cooperate, and make friends.
WHAT HEALTH RISKS ARE LINKED TO PHYSICAL INACTIVITY?
Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions:
Regular physical activity is a vital element of a healthy lifestyle. Only 24.0% of adults met physical activity guidelines in 2018, and many adults spend a large portion of their time being sedentary (sitting). Less than one-quarter (24%) of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Being physically active and reducing sedentary behavior can benefit health. Regular physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week) is associated with reduced risk of:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition