It is during childhood that people are most active, the NHS advises that young people from the ages of 5 to 18 should have at least 60 minutes of sports related activity per day. Although under the current COVID-19 restrictions many young people have been prevented from participating in their usual sporting activities.
During this time in life, it is expected, by the NHS and other independent health services, that children should spend at least 3 days a week outside playing organised sport. This is important because it helps improve bone strength in adulthood and can lessen the chances of developing Osteoporosis in old age. It is vital that the young people in our society, are able to have the same access to sporting arrangements as they were, pre-COVID.

When questioned the majority of younger residents in Sevenoaks feel that they are “…Unmotivated for independent exercise..” indicating that while the government encourages an hours exercise a day, even in lockdown, very few youths are actually taking advantage of this fact. As highlighted by the same residents, without the social element and available indoor resources, and as the weather turns, there is less and less incentive for people to seek out their own form of exercise.

The availability of sports venues in Sevenoaks are also at risk, due to the lockdowns and reduced use, many of the leisure centres are coming under financial stress. The Sevenoaks Leisure centre on the Highstreet has applied for a county grant as the second lockdown was initiated, suggesting that these sporting facilities may be within the next wave of local closures during this time of financial instability. With the closure of places where sporting events can take place, many youths will be unable to play in a team or else forced to pay the extortionate amounts for a private gym.

However, as we enter the second national lockdown, the effects of being under house arrest have already begun to re-emerge. This frustrated attitude is most prevalent in youths who attend secondary school, this is because they are forced to abandon their sporting groups both inside and outside of school. Many year 12 students that I have spoken with in the Bromley brough, feel that their mental health has been impacted negatively over lockdown, and they attribute this fact predominantly to the lack of sporting opportunities available. 

On the other hand, it is clear that the same target population, who seems to be most affected by these new guidelines, are more than aware of the reasons that a second lockdown was instigated. A pupil from the year 12 Cohort in St Olaves grammar school in Orpington told me that while he felt the situation was “inconvenient and frustrating, the closing of gyms is undoubtedly an effective way of slowing the spread of COVID-19. What with the lack of masks, heavy breathing and sharing of equipment, gyms have a higher risk of infection, so it is sensible that gyms have closed.” This seems to be the popular opinion from others of the same age during these times, However, it is important that the issue is not forgotten about.

Games are not purely for exercise, they provide valuable distraction from the stress of school and home life, while also providing a safe place to socialise with peers. Without these places of release, many students will become unmotivated in their studies and this may reflect an increase in youth depression and deteriorating mental health.

As a result, Sport is conclusively beneficial for both mind and body, the government must introduce new measures that will allow sporting clubs to commence safely under the regulatory guidelines of the pandemic. The younger generation’s social sporting problems must not be overlooked during the course of the COVID-19  pandemic; it is our duty to help support the young adults of today grow up as healthy and happy as possible, so they can join us in the fight to carving a brighter future.