For all the talk about getting kids active, you’d think we’d be better at it. ParticipACTION just released its 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and things are not looking good. The organization gave Canadian kids a D+ in overall physical activity. Yikes!
It’s a slight step up from 2016’s D-, but the report clarifies that the little bump shouldn’t be interpreted as improvement — they changed their approach to assessing findings. Overall, researchers found that approximately one third of Canadian children are actually getting the required amount of physical activity for their age group with younger groups scoring slightly higher than older groups. According to the findings, all age groups are also getting far more than the recommended amount of screen time.
In light of the findings, ParticipACTION has put more emphasis on the mental benefits of kids getting their daily recommended physical activity. We’re all aware of the negative physical effects of not getting enough exercise — cardiovascular disease, fatigue, obesity — but the mental impacts are not as widely researched or covered. According to the science, physical activity is just as important to your mental health as your physical.
The ParticipACTION report found that children who get their recommended daily exercise are more creative, better at problem solving and have longer attention spans, better self-control, higher self-esteem and improved memory. They are also better able to cope with the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Overall, brain plasticity, functioning and cognitive skills are higher in children who are exercising regularly.
ParticipACTION’s bottom line: “Canadian kids are sitting too much and moving too little to reach their full potential.”
With that in mind, how well do your kids stack up? Check out ParticipACTION’s Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for exercise goals and ideas for how to get the whole family outside and moving.