It appears British children are reckoned to be the laziest in the world. Adults too. Last week it was reported that 6 million middle-aged adults in England take less than 10 minutes’ brisk exercise a month, risking their health.
The problem starts very young and a damning international study has portrayed British children as among the least active in the world. Recommended to do at least an hour of moderate-intensity exercise every day, England and Wales are currently third-worst in the list – with Scotland at the bottom compared with 38 other nations that were studied including Venezuela and Slovenia. Just 22% of boys aged 11 to 15 manage the recommended amounts of daily exercise, and just 15% of girls. No wonder then that the latest figures suggest that nearly 20% of 10- to 11-year-olds in England are obese.
Neuroscientists are studying how doing enough physical activity to improve cardiorespiratory fitness in childhood is directly related to the structure and function of the developing brain. The neuroprotective qualities of exercise are present throughout life. Individuals in their 60s and 70s who exercise are seen to have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s for example.
Scientists have even found evidence of exercise-related benefits even earlier in life, passed on by mothers who exercise during pregnancy, or even prior to conception.
How much exercise do children get in your country? How much time do you spend exercising? Did you do much exercise as a child? Do you think children are doing less exercise these days?