Forget Gen 2K, The Boomlets or Generation Z, it seems the best name for those born post 2000 could be Gen Slow Coach.
Children’s fitness has been dwindling by the decade and research shows that now most cannot run as fast as their parents could when they were young.
The scary thing is, it’s not just a few slow kids letting the side down. There are millions. A recently published study1 tested the cardiovascular health and endurance of 25 million children aged 9 – 17 in 28 countries between 1964 and 2010. The research looked at the distance children could run in five to 15 minutes as well as how quickly they ran specific distances, such as half a mile or two miles. The findings highlighted that, on average, modern children run a mile 90 seconds slower than their than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Researchers concluded that modern children are about 15% less fit than their parents were.
There is also proof that, on top of being slower, today’s children are not as strong. A study2 led by children’s fitness expert at Essex University, Dr Gavin Sandercock, has shown that the number of sit-ups 10-year-olds can do declined by 27.1% between 1998 and 2008. Arm strength fell by 26% and grip strength by 7%.
‘‘ If a child is fit and active it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve academic performance and promote ’’
-Dr Jackie Mills
Dr Jackie Mills, Les Mills Chief Creative Officer, says it’s not purely the drop in this generation’s speed and strength that’s alarming, it’s the insufficient level of fitness that goes with it.
"Whether a child is fast or strong is not particularly important, but their overall level of fitness is.” She says there’s a wealth of research proving that most kids need to be more physically active. “If a child is fit and active it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve academic performance and promote years of good health.”
Dr Mills recognizes that traditional sports and activities might not be for every child, but says that regular physical activity should be.
“Providing enjoyable, action-packed physical activity that kids actually want to do is the answer.”
Fun and effective activity is exactly what Les Mills set out to create with the development of a suite of youth programs for children aged 2 – 16 years.
You can find out more about BORN TO MOVE™ here.
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