A new study shows that less sport at the club, less sport at school, but a little more than playing with the family: two corona cents have left their mark on children. Sports scientists say politics and clubs are needed.
Although children in Baden-Württemberg are more fit than the average boys and girls in Germany, this is by no means a reason to feel happy after two years of contracting corona. Because without school sports and gymnastics clubs, the youngest has lost much of his fitness, as evidenced by data 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.
“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.
Since 2012, the Children’s Gymnastics Foundation in Baden-Württemberg has been investigating the fitness of three to ten-year-olds in the Southwest with the help of sports scientists from KIT. Their findings correlate with other studies on the consequences of COVID-19. 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. “Data is a snapshot.”
Based on the data, it is still not clear if it is just an emission of corona or a crook. However, it can already be said that previous generations were fitter as children and teens, Bös says after evaluating data from about 25,400 children collected by teachers, educators and sports professionals.
During the pandemic, gymnastics and sports clubs 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 a severe lack of exercise,” Wyman says.
“A lot – and if possible in the long run – really helps a lot when it comes to boosting your workout,” advises sports scientist Boss. “You don’t get fat or fit overnight.” There should be consistent and sustainable offers in the municipality and in municipal institutions. Boss criticizes that he still lacks awareness in politics that the body is just as important as the head. “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.
But sports clubs will also have to rethink: “They lose a lot of kids because they start sports too early and the boys and girls there eventually lose motivation,” says Bos. “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.