Benefits of physical activity

The benefits of out of school sport for primary school students is enormous. Children enjoy physical activity and sport provides fitness and social pathways for them and their families in a positive environment. Sport helps children learn about discipline, rules, boundaries and a healthly lifestyle. These important lessons have proven to extend into later life.

Only six out of ten children aged between five and fourteen years participate in sport outside of school, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Australian Health Survey conducted in April 2012 found that 25 per cent of Australian children and teenagers, aged five to seventeen years, are overweight or obese, indicating that we need to foster a more sports-minded culture that encourages children to be physically active.

People who are active dramatically reduce their risk of many diseases, including heart disease and osteoporosis. Regular exercise is also known to reduce the risk of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. Habits are established early in life and evidence suggests that physically active children are more likely to mature into physically
active adults.

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The 2014 Active Healthy Kids Australia’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People states that, “as a nation we need to make sure that we continually encourage our children and young people to actively participate in organised sport as it provides them with an outlet to be active and to acquire a host of physical, cognitive and social-emotional skills and benefits. Sports participation need not necessarily be competitive in nature, as competition may be discouraging for some children.” In the 12 months to April 2012, children’s participation rates in organised sport in Victoria was: 5-8yrs 54.9%, 9-11yrs 70.1%, 12-14yrs 58.8%. (ABS)

The Sport Expo aims to increase participation in organised sport because:

Healthy habits formed early in life can follow on throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Conversely, less than healthy habits established in childhood may continue into adulthood, increasing a person’s associated health risks such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. In 2011-12, 25.1% of children aged two –seventeen years were overweight or obese, comprised of 18.2% being overweight and 6.9% obese. Overweight and obesity rates differed only slightly across children’s age groups, ranging from 22.8% for children aged two to four years, to 26.6% for children aged twelve to fifteen years.

Physical activity creates opportunities to socialize with peers, improve physical skills and fitness, improve self esteem, better focus and concentration. Physical activity re-energises and motivates the individual.

There are so many things on offer in our community. There is something for every child, whether they are physically inclined to be active or not. It may be a team sport they prefer, or more individual activities. It may be skill based, competitive or recreational.