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Are lazy summer holidays wiping out children’s fitness levels?

08 August 2016

A major study carried out by no-for-profit active lifestyle sector body UKactive, has suggested that fitness gains achieved throughout the school year could be wiped out in just six weeks during lazy summer holidays.

 

 

 

The study tracked children across the North West aged eight and nine over a 13 month period, including a full school year and the summer break. The results showed that by the time they reached the end of the summer term, pupils were able to run an average of 740 metres during shuttle run tests but just 6 weeks later, the average dropped by 135 metres. Cardio-respiratory fitness tests showed that 80 per cent of a boost in aerobic capacity gained during the academic year was lost over the summer holidays.

 

Research director at UKactive, Dr Steven Mann has said of the study: “This research shows for the first time that the UK’s youth inactivity pandemic stems from inactive summer holidays.” He believes that the pandemic could be stunted by urging parents to make sure their children spend more time outdoors during the holiday, especially with games and sports involving the whole family.

 

He says, “Physical inactivity at any age significantly increases the risk of deadly diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which makes it all the more vital that we instil physical activity into our daily lives from the cradle to the grave.”

 

In an attempt to combat lazy summers, the NHS, in partnership with Disney, has introduced the 10 Minute Shake Up. The incentive introduces new ways to shake up the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day by breaking it down into 10 minutes chunks.

 

 

Children ‘Shake Up’ 6 times a day to unlock new moves and videos from their favourite Disney characters.

 

Another concept aiming to make summer holidays more active is the Daily Mile initiative. Schools and parents are encouraged to get children walking, running or jogging a mile in the playground every day to boost physical fitness, social skills and fun.



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