Alarming findings of a 46 year-long research project that is to be presented at the American Heart Association, suggests that children today cannot run as fast as their parents when they were of the same age.
The document suggests that both boys and girls from ages ranging from 9 through 17 are, on average, seeing cardiovascular endurance levels falling at around 5% per year. These tests being gauged on running over a set time.
Interestingly, these figures also include countries outside of what would be the usual suspects of the developed western world. Some parts of Asia such as South Korea, China and Hong Kong are also reflecting the same figures.
Both the Lead researcher at Univeristy of South Australia’s School of Medicine, Dr Grant Tomkinson and Prof Michael Gwitz of the American Heart Association emphasize the need for cardiovascular exercise from a young age.
“Dr Tomkinson said children needed to be inspired and encouraged to do more vigorous exercise. If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life,” said Dr Tomkinson.
Christopher Allen of the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s well established that being physically inactive in childhood can have serious health implications later in life.
“Keeping active can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the sooner kids start, the better. “By encouraging children to get active, we can help protect their hearts as they grow up. Parents, schools and community groups can all help kids on their way to 60 minutes exercise a day.”
Even something as simple as an hour’s worth of activity whereby a little sweating is brought on can help. Whether this is constant play, running, sports or similar, this activity can be broken into small “chunks” at a time.
Spartan Race recognized these facts very early on and as such, Spartan Kids is now a popular part of each Spartan Race event. Parents are welcome to register their child for the Junior race (ages 4-8) or for Varsity (ages 9-13) so that they can experience the thrill of racing a Spartan course with the promise of a medal and a shirt at the finish line.