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Over the past 30 years our activity levels have steadily declined to the point where just one in five adults and one in 10 kids regularly get enough heart-pumping activity. But the process has been a slow one -- so slow that many have failed to react.
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As Toronto continues its rapid growth, the limitations of travel by car are becoming ever more apparent. Average commute times have increased to 33 minutes as the city's main arteries struggle to keep up with the more than 1.1 million (2011) vehicles on city roads each day. While the rhetoric around change has been positive, action has been achingly slow.
ParticipACTION unveiled their 2015 Report Card On Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The results are pathetic, with a D- for overall physical activity, in part because just nine per cent of five to 17-year-olds meet daily recommendations of at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
As a child, I built a wonderful bond with Mother Nature. Nowadays, when I look at the empty playgrounds and parks near my house, I can tell a lot has changed since my childhood. My parents encouraged my friendship with Mother Nature by telling me to "go outside and play" on a daily basis. Where have all the children gone?
Lately, there's been a lot of buzz about active video games being a new tech solution to the inactivity crisis in Canadian kids. While active video games -- also called exergames -- may seem like a plausible way to get kids to exercise more, a recent review of academic literature suggests this may not be the case.
Play is not only an easy, accessible and affordable way to get children more physically active, but it has the potential to improve a child's physical, emotional, social and cognitive well-being. It's not a frill or a waste of time. According to the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card, play has been shown to improve and foster motor function, creativity, decision-making, problem solving and the ability to control emotions.