Tuesday 05 July 2022

Fewer teenagers took part in sports last year, but walking is popular

More evidence is emerging of the impact of coronavirus on keeping fit, with the national sports body NOC*NSF reporting that teenagers in particular stopped taking part in physical activity last year.

The umbrella group said on Friday that far fewer people took part in sports in 2021 partly due to the two lockdowns, and that just 65% of 13 to 18-year-olds took exercise in some form on a monthly basis. Before coronavirus, at least 78% of youngsters did some form of sport at least once a month.

‘Coronavirus literally brought the Netherlands to a standstill,’ said NOC*NSF director Marc van den Tweel. ‘We are now in an exercise crisis.’

People who do take part in sports are also exercising less – 8.2 times a month as opposed to 9.6, the NOC*NSF said.

At the same time, however, 95,000 joined a sports club – but most of them joined the Dutch walking society, Koninklijke Wandel Bond Nederland, which added almost 70,000 members. Tennis, golf and fishing were also more popular.

But most clubs reported a downturn in membership, particularly those which involved indoor sports, the umbrella group said.

Teenagers

Earlier this week, national statistics agency CBS said that almost half of the Dutch meet government targets on exercise and that the figure is unchanged since the new guidelines were introduced five years ago,

The survey shows that 62% of the under-12s met the targets last year, because they were more likely to play outside or walk to school.

However, only 36% of teenagers did so and young adults are now less likely to meet the exercise targets than they were at the start of the programme, mainly because they are cycling less, the CBS said.

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