For many children, physical training and activity are not something that they practice every day. With children living in different areas of the country experiencing the same decrease in physical training they perform each week, what are some of the reasons why children are not as active now as they have been in history?
For most children, you can break down their lack of physical training or exposure to it in four simple barriers. The most prominent barriers are both social and demographic, where a child may not be in a healthy environment or not in physical shape to perform training or activities. There are also both safety concerns and lack of available programs that have had a significant impact on how often and comfortable children are with physical training.
While the country is becoming more aware of these barriers children are facing each day in terms of physical training; let’s break them down to see what each of these barriers actually mean, and how we can help children push past them and focus on their health.
What are Some Barriers to Physical Training For Youths?
While it may seem like the world has more ways than ever for physical training for children, the truth is that most children are not getting anywhere near the recommended about of exercise they need daily. Many of the main barriers that are preventing children from physical training are not only something that was never their fault but are circumstances that are beyond their control in the future.
Demographic and social concerns are two of the most significant barriers youths are facing today. Not only are certain groups not able to get out on a daily basis, but many of them physically are unable to exercise for an extended period of time. These factors can include geographical location, race, and even gender. Peers can heavily influence social factors.
In some areas of the country, there is a lack of locations or programs available to children that encourage physical training. Programs not only promote leadership skills, but they are also fun ways for youths to get their daily activity levels up. Without programs, children are not only going not to understand the importance of physical training, but they also cause a lack of skills.
Barriers can be physical, as well. Safety concerns for youths in our society keep many of them from being able to enjoy where they live. If they are limited to having to go to a specific building to get exercise versus just walking around their neighborhood, it is less likely that they will take the time to do so.
4 Main Barriers of Physical Training For Youths
When talking about the most significant barriers that youths face, there are four that stand out more than others. This includes demographic and social factors, the general lack of programs that are available in the United States, and the fact that the world is much less safe than it was for previous generations.
Many of the common reasons why youths are not as active as they could be are due to demographic factors. Geographical location, race, socioeconomic status, and age are all factors that determine what a child is exposed to and what they are able to do as well. Childhood obesity is more prevalent now than it ever has been before, which is another considerable barrier that children are facing. Not only do they not know how obesity could impact their life, but they are also unaware of how to solve the problem.
One of the most significant barriers that youths face is themselves and their peers. Physical training can be hard for many adults to get into, let alone children. Not only do children not know how to do proper physical training, but they are less likely to ask for help or recognize that lack of physical exercise is a bad thing. Children are also more likely to be influenced by their peers, which often will result in them not being interested in getting exercise, but they are less likely to try new things.
Lack of Available Programs
In many cities in the nation, youth programs are closing down left and right. By removing these programs, it gives many children less of a chance to find new physical training activities that they enjoy. For many youths, school or after-school programs were one of the few opportunities they had to experience new physical activities in a safe environment where they are actually learning.
Unlike previous generations, children now are limited to where they can play, who they can play with, and where they can play. Not only are there more risks in society today than there used to be, but cities are more packed than they ever were. In larger towns, youths are limited to recreation centers or school gyms to get their exercise. While a child is likely to bike or walk around a neighborhood, they are not as likely to travel to participate in a class or to meet friends.
Are Schools Doing Enough?
More and more schools are realizing that they are not giving their students enough opportunity to engage in physical activity. Many schools have had to shut down their physical education classes in the past due to a lack of funding. Shutting these programs down at such a critical point in a child’s life leads you to wonder if schools are doing enough to make sure that kids are getting enough exercise.
Program’s like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move has helped schools and parents understand that making sure their child is no stranger to physical activity is easier than they think. Classrooms have switched up how they approach teaching to make it more interactive and exciting. By getting the children moving, they are getting in exercise without even realizing it.
Schools that have the luxury are also ensuring that children are able to walk or bike to school without feeling like it is too dangerous. Many are also trying to establish more park spaces that children can use to play outside, and some even use parks as an outdoor teaching space as well.
How Can We Help Children Overcome These Barriers?
While these may seem like more considerable barriers for children to overcome, there are specific ways that we can help them achieve their goals, and ways that we can provide them with the physical activity that so many are lacking. As role models, we can make sure we are doing our part to encourage children to feel comfortable with physical training and help them find fun ways to get out of the house.
By being an active part of a child’s life, they are more likely to want to do activities with you. This can include something as simple as running errands with you or taking walks around the neighborhood. It helps them understand how easy it is to start physical training, and you can also help them learn why it is essential to keep our bodies moving. You do not have to be the child’s parent; you can also be a relative or a family friend with permission.
If you recognize that your community has a lack of programming for youths, it may be time to contact your local government to see if there is anything they can do. The majority of the time, youth programs fall through the cracks due to a lack of people wanting to be involved in a leadership role. Taking the initiative to lead the group can ensure that your local youths are getting out there getting the exercise they need.
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