The BBC report follows the publication of a survey by the Tata Kids of Steel triathlon series. The survey included 1500 children aged 6-15 and discovered that 22% had never run as far as 400m. In the week before the survey only 46% had ridden a bicycle and 34% had swum the length of a swimming pool.
Other studies support the findings of this research. A recent study published by Dr Phillip Nader at the University of California reported that as kids grow from pre-pubescence into teens their rate of activity sharply declines. His research followed 1000 children in the US for 6 years and discovered that whilst the average nine year old managed three hours of moderate activity every day this had decreased to just 49 minutes by the time they were 15.
Dr Nader’s recommendation that there should be greater Government action and programmes designed to encourage physical activity within school is supported both by teenagers and fitness professionals.
In recent years the emphasis has been placed on children and teenagers to find their own time to exercise as school time is increasingly prioritised to theoretical study. But teenagers argue that their free time, usually no more than a couple of hours a day once homework has been done, shouldn’t be filled with exercise.
One girl asks; “Why would a teenager want to spend their free time doing exercise especially when the less you exercise the harder and less enjoyable it gets?” After just a couple of mainly sedentary months exercise can seem like an unattainable dream. She goes on to argue that by the time a teenager has the maturity to realise that exercise is important they have probably gone for so long without exercise that it is very difficult to get back into it.
Instead teenagers are asking for exercise to be part of the school day. “Schools have so much control over the lives of teenagers they should spend more time teaching them good habits”.
Teenagers aren’t looking for more netball, hockey or football they’re looking for new activities. Young people want activities that will show them results within a short period of time and help them to build the habit of exercise.
The brand new G3 Program has been specifically designed to get teenage girls re-engaged with physical activity. Using fun, motivational exercise sessions as well as goal setting and nutrition advice the aim of the program is firstly to show girls that being active is fun and then to develop the habit of regular exercise and healthy eating.
Maggie Ayre is seen as a leader in her field; making it fun and cool to be fit and healthy. Previously Maggie has been both an international athlete and a Personal Trainer but for the last two years she has specialised in Fitness for Teenage Girls and has a goal to Get Every Teen Girl Active. She has had great success getting girls who have decided they “don’t do exercise” to re-engage with fitness and healthy eating. For more information see http://www.maggieayre.com or http://www.femalefitnessfiasco.com.