Children are exercising less than they did before the pandemic – SWR Aktuell

Less sports in clubs and schools: A new study shows that the two years of Corona left their mark on children. Sports scientists say politicians and clubs are needed.

Although children in Baden-Württemberg are on average fitter than boys and girls in Germany, this is not a reason to feel happy two years after contracting coronavirus. Because without school sports clubs and gymnastics, the youngest lost a lot of physical fitness. This is the result of a study published Thursday by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation for Children’s Gymnastics.

The “Fitness Scale 2022”, among other things, says, “The total value of fitness collapsed during Corona.” Children tend to be slower and less stamina than they were before the coronavirus pandemic, and their coordination skills are getting worse.

Children are slower and have less stamina

“The level is consistently low,” Professor Klaus Bos of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) says of the latest data. Children’s endurance and speed have tended to decline in the past two years of Corona, and the very high level of coordination has decreased significantly, while mobility has remained unchanged. “At the same time, there is a tendency to improve in terms of strength.”

According to experts, exercise enhances the psychological, social and cognitive development of children. According to the Robert Koch Institute, physical activity can also prevent the development of obesity (obesity) in childhood and adolescence. Therefore, boys and girls of preschool age should exercise at least 180 minutes a day, and at least 90 minutes of school age.

Elementary school children who are physically fit are more likely to move on to high school. This was the result of a study conducted by the Technical University of Munich.
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“For several months, physical education classes have stopped working during the pandemic, while the concepts for regular classes have emerged very quickly.”

Since 2012, the Children’s Gymnastics Foundation in Baden-Württemberg has been investigating the fitness of children aged three to ten years in Baden-Württemberg together with sports scientists from KIT. Bös says it will only be possible to make statements about the long-term effects of the pandemic on children’s fitness in the coming years. However, the children were arguably fitter, Bös says after evaluating data from about 25,400 children collected by teachers, educators and sports professionals.

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Sports clubs declined, sports were added to the family

During the pandemic, gyms and gyms have either had to cancel their shows entirely or scale back, and school sports have been canceled for several months. “At the same time, leisure time and daily life at home with the family became more active, and walking and cycling tours were very popular,” explains Susan Weiman, CEO of the foundation. Parents have been doing more strengthening exercises in a small space with their children during the lockdowns.

The goal should be to maintain an active family life and to provide more sports and exercise in gymnastics, gyms, daycares and schools. “Then a big step will be taken against the severe lack of exercise,” Wyman says.



Children riding bicycles in the street (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / Fotostand | Fotostand / K. Schmitt)

During the pandemic, Susan Wyman says, many families have taken up walking and cycling.


photo radio dpa



Photo Alliance / Photo Booth | Photo booth / K. Schmitt


World Sports Boss: Sports clubs must rethink

Sports scientist Bös says there must be sustainable and connected performances in the community. He still lacks awareness in politics that the body is as important as the head, he criticizes. “For several months, physical education classes have been out of date during the pandemic, while concepts for regular classes have emerged very quickly,” he says.

Sports clubs will also have to rethink: “You lose a lot of kids because they start sports too early and the boys and girls there eventually lose motivation,” says Boss. “Children should become more general in sports.” It is therefore important to have the concepts of “sports for life”, that is, for sports that you have been practicing over many years.

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