Physical Activity Called a Magic Pill For Physical and Mental Health
By Ken Reed
The list of research-based benefits from exercise, sports and other forms of physical activity is a long one.
It includes better cardiorespiratory health, stronger bones and muscles, lower blood pressure, less risk of Type 2 diabetes, weight reduction, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved cognitive functioning. In addition, research has shown that physically active K-12 students generally have better grades, enhanced memory capabilities, lower rates of absenteeism, and better classroom behavior.
“Being physically active is a win-win,” writes Charlene Burgeson, executive director of Active Schools, in a piece for Modern Wellness Guide.
“[Being physically active] has both immediate and long-term benefits. It is also a win for both kids and the adults who care for them.”
However, according to the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative in 2016, only 24 percent of kids ages 6-17 get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. That’s the minimum needed according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s also a fair assumption that activity levels during the Covid-19 pandemic have dropped even lower due to cutbacks in structured school, community and club sport activity groups.
Parents can help kids get — or stay — active by exercising, playing sports, and doing other physical activities with their children. The whole family will benefit.
“For kids to participate in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day, they need movement opportunities at school and at home,” writes Burgeson.
“Scientific research supports that physical activity behaviors of children and parents are highly intertwined.”
As a country, we have never been more sedentary.
It’s sad when as adults we choose to lead inactive lifestyles. But it’s even more sad when we don’t provide our children the opportunity to establish physically-active lifestyles when they are young.
Here’s the reality of the situation: Our children are on pace to be significantly more overweight and obese than we are by the time they reach adulthood.
To change that trend we need to be very creative in helping kids find ways to be physically active.
One way to do that is for adults to participate with their children, in a variety of activities, as often as possible.
As Burgeson says, that’s a win-win.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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