'How essential is fitness for youngsters' by Abhishek Dutta (CL's MBA aspirant)

Mike Banks said, "We don't stop working because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising" and I couldn't agree more. In my personal experience I have seen youngsters who come down to play, apparently because their parents have forced them to, but they end up playing mobile games sitting in the playground. When I look back upon the days of our childhood, I used to look for excuses to go out and play with my friends which I fail to see in youngsters these days. Children who earlier used to enjoy playing outdoor games with their friends now prefer playing 'online multiplayer games'. This explains the reason behind increased reports of obesity in youngsters. According to a study conducted by The New York Times, the muscles of older men who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from healthy 25-year-olds. This gives us an idea about the effects of exercising regularly starting from a young age. The habit of exercising when inculcated in youngsters will help in keeping their brain active and when they start seeing the results themselves they will keep up the habit, as Arnold Schwarzenegger rightly said, "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets". The brain is often described as being 'like a muscle'. A wave of studies exploring the unexpected links between mental and bodily fitness is emerging from labs. For example, let's talk about how fitness affects memory. The part of the brain that responds strongly to aerobic exercise is the hippocampus. Well-controlled experiments in children, adults and the elderly show that this brain structure grows as people get fitter. Endorphins are hormones that promote happiness and good feelings, as a result, physically active teenagers reduce the risk of stress, depression and other mental health issues. What youngsters need to understand is that the 'cognitive spillover' from exercise reminds us that our brains don't operate in isolation. What they do with their body reflects on their mental health. Sitting still all day, everyday, is dangerous, moreover they don't need to think much about what form of exercise they do. They should find something they enjoy, get up, and do it. Right, and I'm off to the field now.