Getting active with the arts

Regular opportunities to get involved in the arts could be beneficial not only to children’s minds but also their bodies, according to a new study.

As the schools go back across the UK, a new report has revealed that children who spend hours watching TV or sitting at their computer are up to nine times more likely to have poor motor skills than their more active peers.

The study, which involved 200 Portuguese children, concluded that high levels of inactivity negatively affect basic motor coordination skills, such as walking, throwing or catching, which are considered the building blocks of more complex movements.

Dr Luis Lopes, of the University of Minho in Portugal, said: “Childhood is a critical time for the development of motor coordination skills which are essential for health and wellbeing. We know sedentary lifestyles have a negative effect on these skills and are associated with decreased fitness, lower self-esteem, decreased academic achievement and increased obesity.”

Interestingly, the effects of a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle were found to have more of an impact on boys, rather than girls. Girls who spent three quarters of their time being inactive were four to five times less likely to have normal motor coordination than more active girls. In contrast, similar boys were five to nine times less likely to have good or normal motor coordination than their more energetic peers.

For Lopes, the results suggest that many parents need to do more to persuade their children to switch off the TV and be more active. “The results demonstrate the importance of setting a maximum time for sedentary behaviour, while encouraging children to increase their amount of physical activity,” he explained.

Classic FM Arts and Kids Week

At Children & the Arts, we maintain a regularly updated UK-wide online listing of arts events (see below) which are all about getting children to actively engage in the arts. The school holidays may now be drawing to a close, but there are still plenty of activities and events going on around the UK, where children can meet other young people, burn off some energy, learn new skills and have fun.

One event we’re getting particularly excited about is our Classic FM Arts and Kids Week (see more here). Now in its 10th year, the week is held in partnership with Classic FM during October half term, when hundreds of arts activities and events will take place around the country.

To find out what events are happening locally to you, why not take a look at our listings at at www.childrenandarts.org.uk/whats-on

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