Children worldwide are not getting enough exercise, and it is cause for concern.
The Decline in Physical Activity
In a recent report, the World Health Organization found that more than 80% of adolescents ages 11 to 17 didn’t meet the current recommendations for daily physical activity in 2016, putting them at risk for current and future health problems. Physical activity levels play a significant role in obesity, diabetes and other conditions. On average, girls were less active than boys, and in the United States, the difference was more than 15 percentage points. The WHO notes that if these trends continue unchecked, we won’t be able to meet the global target of reducing the rate of insufficient physical activity to 70% by 2030.
And it’s not just adolescents who need to move more. Another study, published in Pediatrics, shows that overall physical activity decreased and sedentary behavior increased between ages 6 and 11.
But it’s not too late to change these numbers. We can start within our own families by focusing on the fun of staying active – and making it a regular part of our lives.
“The number one factor for kids participating in sports is that what they’re doing is fun,” said Dr. Blaise Nemeth, a pediatric orthopedist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in an interview with Healthline. “Physical activity has to be something we’re enjoying.”
How Swimming Can Help
Swimming is a great way for kids of all ages to stay active all year round in a fun and social environment. Swim lessons not only teach valuable water safety skills and stroke techniques, they can also spark a lifelong love of exercise.
Regular swimming has many health benefits, including:
- Improving heart health
- Maintaining a normal weight
- Staying active at any age, even for people with injuries or health conditions
- Encouraging healthy physical, mental and social development in children
- Building social skills, like listening, patience, empathy and communication
Learn more about Tom Dolan Swim School classes – and find the right one for your child.