Too much weekly sport seems to be as bad as too little for teen wellbeing

November 20, 2013

But the maximum benefit seems to be obtained from 14 hours of sport a week, which is double the official recommendation of seven hours for this age group, the study shows.

The researchers quizzed more than 1,200 sixteen to twenty year olds in the French speaking part of Switzerland between February 2009 and January 2010 about how much sport they did.

Their mental and physical wellbeing was assessed using validated scoring criteria from the World Health Organization, on a scale of 0 to 25. A score below 13 indicates poor wellbeing.

Half the sample was male, with an average age of just under 18. Just under one in 10 (9%) was overweight or obese. The average wellbeing score for the entire sample was 17.

Weekly sports participation was categorised as low (0-3.5 hours; 35% of respondents); average (3.6-10.5 hours; 41.5%); high (10.6-17.5 hours; 18.5%); and very high (more than 17.5 hours; 5%).

Compared with the teens in the average group, teens in the low and very high groups were more than twice as likely to score below 13 on the WHO wellbeing scale, corresponding to an inverted U shaped association between weekly duration of sport practice and wellbeing.

Those in the high group, on the other hand, were around 50% less likely to score below 13.

The peak scores of wellbeing obtained were for around 14 hours a week of sports practice a week - double the amount recommended for this age group - with this protective effect reversed beyond 17.5 hours a week.

Regular exercise is known to have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety, and boosting self-esteem and brain power, say the authors.

But while doubling the recommended weekly time spent playing sports to 14 hours seems to be good for mental and physical health at this age, going beyond this seems to be detrimental and ceases to be protective, they conclude.
-end-


BMJ

Related Age Articles from Brightsurf:

From puppyhood to senior age: Different personality traits age differently
Dogs' personality changes over time, but these changes occur unevenly during the dogs' life, and each trait follows a distinct age trajectory.

Age does not contribute to COVID-19 susceptibility
Scientists have estimated that the age of an individual does not indicate how likely they are to be infected by SARS-CoV-2.

How we age
It is well understood that mortality rates increase with age.

When you're 84...What should life look like as we age?
What will your life look like when you're 84? When a health system leader put that question to Lewis A.

Age matters: Paternal age and the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children
It is no secret that genetic factors play a role in determining whether children have neurodevelopmental disorders.

'Frailty' from age 40 -- what to look out for
With all eyes on avoiding major illness this year, health researchers are urging people as young as 40 to build physical and mental health to reduce or even avoid 'frailty' and higher mortality risk.

Why life can get better as we age -- study
People say life gets better with age. Now research suggests this may be because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness as a means to improve wellbeing.

What causes an ice age to end?
Research by an international team helps to resolve some of the mystery of why ice ages end by establishing when they end.

New evidence of the Sahara's age
The Sahara Desert is vast, generously dusty, and surprisingly shy about its age.

Why sex becomes less satisfying with age
The number of women regularly having sex declines with age, and the number of women enjoying sex postmenopause is even lower.

Read More: Age News and Age Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.