The current recommendations for youth tell us ‘at least 60mins of moderate-vigorous exercise per day’.
But what does that mean? Should they run around in circles aimlessly just to meet this?
Well, that would certainly improve their aerobic fitness but that’s about it. It probably wouldn’t promote much improvement in motor skill development, nor would it sell exercise as something enjoyable.
By focussing on the quantitative aspects of physical activity - ('60mins') – it is very easy to overlook critical components for physical activity for youth such as skill development, the social aspect, and the enjoyment factor. These are all vital for a life time of physical activity participation.
So, although they guide us for 'good health', the guidelines don’t really give us any clarity as to WHAT we should be should be doing.
Why this matters?
Childhood and adolescence is a critical time in the neuroplasticity of developing brains to develop and enhance fundamental movement skills.
More and more youth are lacking the ability to skilfully execute a number of the fundamental motor skills.
There has been a measurable decrease in muscular strength and motor skill levels in youth, which is thought to accompany the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and increasing weight gain.
There is a bi-directional relationship between physical activity participation and motor skill development (i.e it goes both ways).
Yes we absolutely need to exercise for health, but physical activity that is purposely designed to enhance both health-related and skill-related components during childhood and adolescence is critical. Motor skills enable youth to participate in physical activity, sport, and increase enjoyment of exercise, as well as improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
*insert Accredited Exercise Physiologist here*
Purposely designed exercise programs are what we as a profession are all about!
At Achieving Abilities ALL our sessions incorporate both health-related and skill-related components specific to the needs and abilities of an individual. We provide a developmentally appropriate exercise program, which incorporates all of the following into an expertly delivered session:
Fundamental movement skills
Specific exercises to target motor deficits
Strength and conditioning exercises to improve health, independence, capacity for activities of daily living
Exercises to develop neurocognitive and visual motor feedback
Consideration to precautions associate with a given condition or individual presentation
Ticks boxes for enjoyment
Myer, G, Faigenbaum, A, Edwards, N, Clark, J, Best, T & Sallis, R 2015, ‘Sixty minutes of what? A developing brain perspective for activating children with an integrative exercise approach’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol.49, pp.1510-1516