Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swingggg Batter Batter Fatter

Team sports are just not enough anymore. In order for young adults to get the daily recommended amount of physical activity, they need to be moderately active for about an hour. Unfortunately, a recent study by San Diego State University researchers found that about half of all children and 90% of teenagers fail to meet this goal.

Apparently, team sports today involve a great deal of standing around, waiting one’s turn, and listening to coach talk. Recorded practice times ranged from 40–130 minutes for soccer and 35-217 minutes for baseball. Regardless of the allotted practice time, the type of sport makes a big difference in how little exercise a child or teenager gets. It probably comes as no surprise that soccer players are active about 13 minutes longer per practice session than baseball or softball players, for example.

For many young athletes, team sports offer the opportunity to carbo-load before games and chug sugary sports drinks throughout practice. However, it appears that the overall amount of aerobic exercise is far below the threshold that would require this additional caloric intake.

Without depriving children of appropriate fuel, parents today need to recognize the limits of physical activity in many team sports and moderate high calorie snacks accordingly. Hopefully, this research can help coaches increase the amount of time athletes are active and minimize time spent sitting on the bench. Team sports are a great way to increase overall movement among young children and keep teenagers active, but in order to fight obesity, we need to remember that little league alone is not the answer.

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