Back in the day, we’d spend our summer holidays out in the sunshine, climbing trees, riding bikes or camping in the back garden. It seems, however, that today’s kids don’t enjoy the same outdoor pursuits, preferring to spend their school holidays glued to their smartphone or TV.
Lack of physical activity during the summer holidays is having a huge effect on children’s fitness levels, with kids losing most of the fitness they build up at school, during the 6-week break.
A study* by UK Active measured 400 pupils aged nine and ten, from 13 primary schools across the North West, before and after the summer holidays.
They found that kids fitness increased and body mass index (BMI) fell throughout the school year, from September of 2014 until July 2015. However, during the summer holidays, these efforts were wiped out as kids returned to school overweight and unfit.
Researchers reported that on average, British schoolchildren lose 80% of the fitness they build up during term time as activities such as summer camps and sports clubs are out of financial reach for many parents. The cost of sending kids to do sports activities and summer camps means many of the poorest children are left slumped on the sofa in front of screens. The results were most obvious among children from the poorest 25% of families, whose deterioration was 18 times greater than those from the richest 25%.
Only six months ago, we discussed the notion that exercise is being stripped out of modern kids lifestyles. Lazy summer holidays could have a severe long-term health impact, raising the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
20 per cent of children are now starting primary school overweight at the age of four, and 33 per cent are overweight by the time they start secondary school at 11. Kids are simply not getting enough exercise or the right nutrition to maintain a healthy weight. Grumpy teenager? Here’s why.
We reported last year that a whopping 77% of kids weren’t getting anywhere near enough exercise. The increase in computer games and smartphones can mean that exercise takes a back seat to modern technology. Though by getting kids excited about fitness, we give them the power to make their own choices, rather than simply taking away all of the temptations and hoping they won’t find them. (Spoiler: They will!).
As a professional Kids Fitness Instructor, you’ll be able to help educate children on the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. As a role model that isn’t their parent, teacher or another dominant figure, you’ll play a key part in shaping the choices children make for a healthy future.
It’s not simply about getting them outdoors for a runaround. It’s about showing them the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and introducing exercise in a super cool way! Which when promoting exercise over a game of Farmville, can be a challenge!
*Presented at the annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) ON 5th July 2017. Research by UK Active showed the poorest 25 per cent of primary school children experience a drop in their fitness levels 18 times greater than the richest 25 per cent over the school summer holiday.