Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark found out that playing ball games could help children improve their bone strength, as well as develop better balance. Their study was published in the February 2018 edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Danish researchers examined the muscle and bone health in 295 schoolchildren from Copenhagen and Frederikssund over a period of one school year. The goal of the study is to determine the effects of different intense interval training among kids at school. The kids are part of the FIT FIRST initiative started by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.
The researchers compared children who were part of a normal school PE class with those who had intense exercise on their schedule. Researchers introduced circuit training and ball games to replace normal PE classes.
Ball games have a positive effect on muscular strength, balance, and bone density among 8 to 10-year-old kids. Third graders who played ball games or participated in circuit training three times a week have greater muscular strength, balance, and bone density than kids who had normal PE classes.
What is FIT FIRST?
FIT FIRST is a program aimed at finding the effects of physical activities to kids. It is an acronym for Frequent Intense Training – Football, Interval Running, and Strength Training. They developed the concept based on the importance of intensity on bone and cardiovascular activities.
The researchers advocate the holding of sports activities in schools, such as team handball, basketball, and small-sided football, just to name a few. The goal of FIT FIRST is to create evidence-based, well-specified, and implementable tools to improve health and fitness through exercise at school. The program is backed by various non-profit and government organizations in Denmark.