Many of us look back on their childhood with good memories of running through a park, playing hide and seek or participating in a sports day.
But a study suggests that our activity levels are starting to fall at just seven years old.
Children become lazy when they go to school, regardless of whether they were active to start with, the study found.
And in our teenage years, we probably dropped a sport that we used to like.
Finnish researchers are now calling for more sports clubs to ‘promote an active lifestyle for all children’.
We’re starting to get lazy at just seven years old, a study suggests (stock)
The research was conducted by the University of Jyväskylä and LIKES Research Center for Physical Activity and Health.
It was led by Irinja Lounassalo, a PhD student at the faculty of sports and health sciences at the university.
“Because physical activity stabilizes with age and inactivity is more persistent than activity, interventions should target children early in life before their habits become stable,” Mrs. Lounassalo said.
“Moreover, supporting schools and sports clubs is crucial to promoting an active lifestyle for all children.
‘Because parents can have an effect on activating their children, parents need support to find ways to do that.
“Building publicly available sports facilities and safe cycling and footpaths can help increase chances of being active, regardless of age, nationality, gender or educational level.”
The NHS recommends that children from five to 18 years of age do physical exercise for at least an hour, such as cycling, running or playing tennis.
And they have to participate three days a week in activities that strengthen their muscles and bones, such as jumping or jumping.
The NHS also advises adults to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week and to strengthen activities on two or more days.
But up to four fifths of teenagers and one third of adults do not meet these recommendations, the authors wrote in the BMC Public Health journal.
FITBITS MAKE CHILDREN LESS EXERCISE
FitBits make children exercise less, previous research suggests.
According to a study by the universities of Brunel and Birmingham, teenagers aged 13 to 14 feel considerably less motivated to exercise when wearing the wrist-tracking device for activities.
FitBit features that encourage friendly competition among peers also make teenagers feel less connected to their friends, the research adds.
And these characteristics create group pressure and cause feelings of guilt and negativity, the study found.
Among those who do practice wearing a FitBit, such activities do not like ‘fun’, the research adds.
To discover how our activity levels change as we age, the researchers analyzed 27 studies published between 2004 and 2018 that assessed how different age groups move.
The results revealed an ‘exceptionally high’ decrease in activity among children and teenagers.
The exercise begins to drop among young people when they go to school, regardless of whether they were very, moderately or barely active at the beginning.
However, it is worth noting that different studies have reported different outcomes.
Those who had themselves reported that their activity levels were discovered begin to decline at the age of ten.
But studies that used ‘objective measures’ found that children started to exercise less from the age of seven.
The scientists also discovered that children whose parents support them in exercising are less likely to become inactive.
And those who spend little time watching TV will probably stay fit.
The researchers emphasize that being active as a child has its benefits in later life, even when we are seated.
“Despite the often decreasing tendency of physical activity during the course of life, being physically active in childhood and adolescence can be of great importance,” Mrs. Lounassalo said.
“It may delay the time to become inactive later.”
However, earlier studies suggest that there are ‘bags’ of people who move more as they get older.
This is more common in people who stop smoking or are disease-free.
The study found that white men with “higher socio-economic status” are most associated with “sustained activity.”
“In the future, special attention should be given to those individuals who increase their physical activity because it is important to understand how potential lifelong inactivity can be converted into activity,” said Ms. Lounassalo.