Yes, physical inactivity has its price tags. It is linked to the development of chronic health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, dementia and cancer. It can make us feel bad about ourselves, guilty and frustrated, appeased only with the ever alluring reward of inactivity – comfort, rest and stress-free. Our creaking NHS too gets a bill that would make anyone wince reaching for their wallet – somewhere between £8 and £20 billion per year through both the direct and indirect healthcare costs including that on the economy. Ouch.
The third price tag, and possibly most in need of an active not passive reaction, is the generational one. There is growing over the degree of inactivity in children with precipitants embedded within our shift to a more sedentary lifestyle, fear and risk associated with outdoor play, and the advent of more advanced and ‘real-life replacement’ for one in four children who see online social networking and gaming as their activity. Even more sobering is the evidence that suggests many children still have a negative approach to physical activity in schools, with teachers believing that nearly half of primary school pupils leaving school without “basic movement skills”, and that more than one in three children dislike exercise by the time they leave primary school. These barriers can potentially frame their adult sedentary life. A high price tag indeed.