Working Hard to Improve Strength and Fitness
At Schoolscapes we are proud of increasing children’s fitness, stamina and strength throughout nurseries, schools and parks across the country. Our innovative design team work tirelessly to create designs that stimulate physical, cognitive and social activity, allowing children to develop better co-ordination, body strength, agility and stamina whilst having fun playing outdoors. Increased activity levels lead to improved strength and fitness and with our inclusive playground designs, we have something to inspire everyone to get moving and grow stronger!
Decreasing Fitness Levels in Children
We were therefore horrified to discover that according to a recent British study, broadcast on the BBC, comparing the strength and fitness of 10-year-olds from Essex since 1998:
“Children are weaker and less fit than they were 16 years ago.”
Researchers from the University of Essex discovered that there was an accelerating rate of decline in children’s fitness and grip strength and that children had also become both heavier and taller. Their research involved 1,200 ten-year-old children from Chelmsford taking strength and fitness tests, along with having their weight and height measured, in 1998, in 2008 and a new group again more recently. They had expected the children to be stronger and more powerful because they had grown bigger, but this was not the case.
The study found that “children’s Body Mass Index (BMI) stayed broadly the same because although they were heavier, they were also taller” and there had been a worrying “ 20% decrease in muscle strength and a 30% decrease in muscle endurance over the 16-year period. Between 1998 and 2008 strength fell by 0.6% each year, but this more than doubled to 1.6% per year between 2008 and 2014.
Falls in muscular endurance were larger at 2.5% per year in the period from 1998 to 2008, rising to a 4% decline each year after 2008.”
Interestingly the researchers found levels of obesity among the children had barely changed over 16 years, at 6%, while 80% of them had a normal BMI. However, one in three of the normal weight children was found to be unfit, while 70% of those who were classified as obese because of their BMI were physically fit. They explained that the term “healthy weight” was misleading and said that using BMI in isolation was not an effective way to monitor health.
At Schoolscapes we believe we have the solution to helping children to become stronger and fitter. We have a wide range of outdoor play equipment, designed especially to develop children’s core, upper body and lower body strength as well as developing hand-grip and both fine and gross motor skills.
Our Treetops Range and Trim Trails all promote strength through adventure and fun by hanging, swinging, climbing, twisting, stretching and traversing. Our Timber Gym Range provides a solid base for all children to learn how to safely complete muscle building and stamina increasing exercises. Children have recently been building up these physical skills in P.E. sessions and then practise the exercises in their free playtimes. On a recent visit to a school, one child exclaimed that “ I love the wooden gym. I can beat my sit up target anytime I like!” He proves that children enjoy beating competitive targets or setting their own personal challenges, to improve their own fitness levels and body strength.
All children love to get active on our Primary and Secondary Outdoor Gym Equipment. Their enthusiasm and stamina always astound us when we visit their play areas! Each piece of gym equipment targets a different part of the body and we have a useful, comprehensive exercise guide containing expert instruction and lesson ideas available with all our Outdoor Gym Equipment.
Our state-of-the-art Sports Surfacing, MUGAs (Multi-Use Games Area), Running Tracks and Daily Mile Tracks all promote increased stamina and improved bone strength in youngsters. Our knowledgeable team are experts at maximising your activity levels in your personal outdoor space. We can create a bespoke outdoor project plan, encompassing all your needs.
At Schoolscapes we have so many fitness product options that naturally enthuse children into achieving higher activity levels in their days, effectively reversing the trend that the research describes, that over time “children were doing less and less exercise.” We believe that by instilling increased healthy living and physical fitness awareness in children, it will improve those children’s health and therefore enhance their life chances throughout their futures. Fit and active children generally have better health prospects, than inactive children. We aim to spread the word and make it happen!
Source: “Fall in strength and fitness of 10-year-olds, study shows” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45651719
Temporal trends in the muscular fitness of English 10-year-olds 1998–2014: An allometric approach
Gavin R.H. Sandercock’Correspondence information about the author Gavin R.H. SandercockEmail the author Gavin R.H. Sandercock, Daniel D. Cohen