Do you think you might have a lazy child?
Perhaps there is a good reason your tween or teen is choosing to sleep in on weekends. They would rather laze around at home and resign to being a couch potato—they are just going with the flow of their bodies.
According to experts from Exeter University, the biology of puberty actually takes a toll on your kid’s energy levels. Growing up drains their energy from the age of nine. This makes them less keen on sports and other physical activities compared to before the growth spurt.
When activity levels start decreasing
This study was done on 300 British school-going kids. They were monitored from ages five to 15. Brad Metcalf, a medical school researcher from Exeter University analysed the data and came up with the above theory.
Females were doing less exercise than the males and the results show that their activity levels began to drop starting from age nine—an age where kids may already start hitting puberty.
According to the readings the levels are a lot lower among girls. It also showed that the kids chose inactivity during school hours and at home. In fact, the study revealed that the big transition between primary and secondary school actually had little impact on the amount of physical activity done.
I’ve got a lazy child!
Don’t worry, your tween/teen is not being a sloth because of innate laziness—it is a factor in their growing anatomy that makes them become less active at this stage to conserve energy that will be spent in producing muscle and growing.
Mr Metcalf said: “There is enough consistency in our results to support a biological or physiological driver. It isn’t definitive but it is about making people aware that it is possible that teenagers are not inactive because they are lazy, although some might be.”
As for girls, the body is going through a phase that will prepare them for potential pregnancies when they are fully developed.
A step in evolution
According to Tam Fry from the Child Growth Foundation: “The fact that both boys and girls are tracking downwards in their physical activity is likely to have much more to do with evolution than laziness.”
He added: “For millennia the body clock has been ticking towards the need to conserve energy for puberty and reproduction and this simple biological fact may dull the will to go for a walk if taking exercise is not a habit. One can only hope that, once puberty is over, evolution will remind them as young adults to get up and running.”