Children and Exercise in Covid-19

Experts are extremely concerned that the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on children’s physical activity levels. New figures from Sport England show the majority of young people failed to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise in the 2019/20 school year.

There were 2.3 million children classed as ‘inactive’ as a result of lockdown restrictions, which means they were not doing even 30 minutes of exercise per day. The survey showed, Covid-19 has also intensified existing participation inequalities, with a 9% drop in activity levels by children and young people from a black background.

By contrast children from the most affluent families remain the most active. There was a notable difference between gender too, with a significant fall in activity among boys, who suffered from the stopping of team sports, while girls retained roughly their same activity levels, adapting well to alternative activities such as keep fit and walking.

As schools were closed, the most significant reduction was a drop of 16% in children taking part in sporting activities, such as team sports, athletics, running and swimming, but this was countered by a significant increase in walking, cycling and fitness activities carried out by children, while in lockdown but not in school.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on children and young people’s engagement in sport and physical activity and the report reminds us that it has not impacted everyone equally.

Now that schools have reopened efforts are being made to catch up academic standards but equally important, is the clear need to get children back exercising and maintaining their interests in daily exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.


23 Jun, 2021

2 thoughts on “Children and Exercise in Covid-19

  1. As schools are fully reopened now and children are getting back into a more normal school life this will include more regular exercise and sports activities.

    But these statistics clearly show there are inequalities that perhaps exhibit similar inequalities in wider society, and we would be failing a generation if those aren’t addressed too.

    1. Thanks, yes I couldn’t agree more. The sad realities are that unless schools address these inequalities, particularly in inner city schools, there will be children who lose out on sports activities.

      There are already too many divides in society. School isn’t easy for any child to navigate. I struggled. If children struggle in school because of the divides, they will go into the wider world and will continue to struggle.

      It is up to governments and institutions to introduce policies that will make a fairer society. Children are the future, therefore adults need to make sure they have the tools, so that they become equipped.

      Sadly, it is clear that is not happening.

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