We are a nation of sports fans, but according to a recent survey by DW Fitness over half of us admit to not playing sport at all, and almost 60 per cent of us watch sport on TV but barely get outside to play any ourselves.
70% of women and 40% of men admit to not playing any sport at all
The non-sporty trend starts young, with just 19% of women and 40% of men aged 18-24 saying they have played any sport this week. It lasts for many years, too, as 65% of women aged over 65 say that haven’t played any sport for twenty years or more!
At Learn Play Grow, we want to start reversing the trend and introducing kids to the fun that can be had through getting active and taking up a sport they can stick with. The benefits to children of playing sport are not just physical, as Nino said in a previous blog post, and the mental health charity Mind agree that there are so many social and emotional benefits of playing sport:
- Making friends and connecting with people
- Being around people is good for our mental health and social networks – plus you can maximise the benefits of exercising by doing it with other people. You may find that the social benefits are just as important as the physical ones, and for kids, learning to socialise and play by the rules is a useful thing!
- Having fun
- Lots of us enjoy being active because it’s fun. This starts in childhood – who can forget the unbridled joy of rolling down a hill, swimming in the sea, playing ‘tag’ with your friends or going on the swings in the park? Researchers have shown that there’s a link between the things we enjoy doing and improvements in our wellbeing; if you enjoy an activity you’re also more likely to keep doing it.
- Challenging stigma and discrimination
- Some people find that joining a sports programme helps reduce the stigma attached to their mental health problem. Getting involved in local projects with other people who share a common interest can help to break down barriers and challenge discrimination.
According to the NHS, to stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and every week should do:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity
- Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
Children are advised by the NHS to take part in at least an hour of activity every day, and encouraging them to get outside and play with their friends, walk to school with you and join a club or team really can’t be underestimated if the recent DW Fitness survey is anything to go by.
We don’t want to become a nation of unfit, sedentary people who have forgotten the joys of being sporty before we even leave school – we’re on a mission to get kids hooked on the great feelings they can get from being fit, healthy and active.