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 #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, a SHAPE America board member, former national physical education teacher of the year, and one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Episode #4 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Biggest Issue in Sports Today? Brain Trauma – The guest is Patrick Hruby, a journalist who has done extensive research and in-depth writing on the topic of brain trauma in sports, most notably football.
Episode #3 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Styles with Sports Sociologist Jay Coakley – The guest is veteran sports sociologist Jay Coakley, a former college athlete who went on to earn a Ph.D. in Sociology from Notre Dame.
Episode #2 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: College & High School Athletics: Where Do We Go From Here? The guest is John Gerdy, a former college athlete and NCAA and SEC administrator who became a sports reformer later in his career.
Episode #1: The inaugural episode of League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast. The topic is Title IX and equal opportunity in sports. The guest is long-time Title IX and civil rights activist Donna Lopiano.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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