A Portuguese study claims that children who do not exercise regularly become 9 times clumsier than other children who take part in regular activity. The researchers have based their work on 200 children aged nine and ten, who spent more than three quarters of their time sitting in front of the television or playing computer games. They gave each child a pedometer to wear for five days to measure their activity levels. After the five days, they were then put through some physical tests, designed specifically to monitor balance, speed, agility and coordination.
The tests found that the girls were less active than the boys but that the boys were worse affected by a sedentary lifestyle – their coordination was much poorer than the girls’.
Dr. Luis Lopes, one of the researchers who carried out the study, said, “Childhood is a critical time for the development of motor co-ordination skills which are essential for health and well-being.” He added that governments should consider advising parents about the damaging effects that an inactive lifestyle can have on basic skills, like coordination, along with advice on exercise.
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