Relaunching school-age sport after two years of the pandemic, to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle in the very young. This was stated by the experts of the Child Jesus Institute for Childhood and Adolescent Health in Rome in the latest magazine ‘Health school – The role of sport in children’ published today.
“The two years marked by the pandemic and the restrictions at home have significantly increased the spread of a sedentary lifestyle in all age groups, but above all in the pediatric one – the specialists warn -. According to the National Adolescent Observatory, among the causes that lead young people not to practice any sport in first place is laziness and lack of desire (51%), while excessive school work discourages 29% and 5% for economic reasons”. This is why the experts of the Bambino Gesù insist on the need to “resume physical and sporting activity for the youngest, which is essential for many reasons. Sport helps to develop motor skills and relational skills, to get involved by working in a group and to overcome one’s limits. Fewer cell phones and computers and more exercise is the recommendation for all parents“.
At what age can you start sports? “Soon, but evaluating the physical and emotional maturity of each child,” respond the experts of the Child Jesus who recommend differentiated activities and team sports based on age groups. “Between 6 and 8 it is good to start with individual activities such as swimming or gymnastics; between 8 and 13 you can practice team sports such as football, rugby and basketball and also disciplines that require coordination such as tennis and judo – they recall – Attention to the sports certification required by law for both competitive and non-competitive activity which can only be issued by specific professional figures”.
“Green light, therefore, to aerobic exercise (cycling, running, skating, dancing and team games such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey) and to swimming for children with bronchial asthma: with some precautions – for example recovery intervals in the case of high-intensity exercises – physical activity improves their symptoms and reduces the use of drugs and the number of hospitalizations – underline the paediatricians -. Low-intensity, long-lasting aerobic activity is also suitable for children with arterial hypertension, a disease that affects 5% of the population aged between 12 and 19 years. An excellent solution for them is represented by swimming which allows you to reduce the pressure given by the body weight”.
In some cases, sport is necessary to prevent children from aggravating their pathologies. “This is the case of patients with congenital heart disease who, due to the overprotective attitude of their parents, are exposed to the risk of becoming sedentary children and developing further diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle – they observe – Studies have instead shown that there are no real contraindications to aerobic practice by adjusting the intensity of the effort. The data are not yet unequivocal on the possibility of making them practice anaerobic activities (climbing, jumping, gymnastics) or at high intensity”.
Physical activity is essential for children with obesity “who need to change their eating habits and sedentary lifestyles to deal with a disease that affects around 50 million girls and 74 million boys between the ages of 5 and 19 in the world today. Swimming is ideal and also a aerobic-type activities such as brisk walking and cycling”, conclude the pediatricians.
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