In the UK the NHS recommends that young people aged between 5 and 18 years carry out at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day which should be a mix of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running.
But researchers from Switzerland and Canada say their study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggests that 14 hours of physical activity a week is best for promoting good health in teenagers.
However, they also found that doing more than 14 hours appears to be detrimental to their health.
Commenting on their findings, the researchers say:
“Physical activity has been associated with positive emotional well-being, reduced depressive, anxiety and stress disorders, and improved self-esteem and cognitive functioning in children and adolescents.
We found that sports practice apparently ceased to be a protective factor and became an independent risk factor for poor well-being when practicing more than twice the 7 recommended hours per week.”
The investigators note that their study highlights the importance for physicians caring for adolescents to monitor their level of sports practice and ask them about their well-being.
“Regardless of their decision to pursue their level of practice, these adolescents probably need a supportive and closer follow-up of their health and well-being.
Our findings can inform guideline panels who produce recommendations on sports practice for adolescents,” they add.
Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood