Physical activity and health

Physical activity and health: children and adolescents

When the practice of physical activity is acquired in childhood it tends to become an integral part of the person’s lifestyle. Generally as children you learn those behaviors that persist over time and that can have an influence on health in later ages. Among the factors characterizing lifestyles, physical, recreational or sporting activity has a priority role for health and is of particular importance in the developmental age. Numerous scientific evidences in fact demonstrate that carrying out physical activity regularly promotes growth and development in childhood, with multiple benefits for physical, mental and cognitive health, functional to achieving harmonious development.
Participation in physical activities can also support the social development of children, offering them opportunities for personal expression, the construction of self-esteem, interaction and social integration, skills and abilities useful for future life.

In adolescents it has been observed that physical activity also influences different aspects of lifestyle, favoring the adoption of healthy behaviors including correct eating habits, renouncing alcohol and cigarette smoking.

For all these reasons, in school age the daily practice of movement, from games to other activities, both at school and during free time, is particularly important.

Sedentary life as a disease risk factor

Unfortunately, the data referring to the younger population indicate a tendency to poor physical activity. The movement conceived in the past as outdoor play, unstructured and unsupervised activity, is increasingly turning into structured activities carried out under the supervision of an adult. The lack of adequate spaces and times, as well as safety in attending outdoor places, means that children and adolescents are increasingly confined to closed spaces involved in sedentary activities such as watching television, playing video games, with the smartphone or tablet.