Benefits of Exercise on Kids’ Mental Health
Much has been said and written about the importance and benefits of exercise on a child’s physical health. However, little has been reported about the impact it has on mental health – which is considerable. The focus isn’t on building muscle and endurance, though that’s a side benefit. The goal is overall mental wellbeing.
Even moderate levels of activity are beneficial. There’s a multitude of activities in which children can engage and it doesn’t have to include organized sports or a regimented routine. Bike riding, swimming, Frisbee, disc golf, badminton, rollerblading and skateboarding are all effective means of getting needed exercise.
Exercise stimulates the body to release dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, all of which trigger a feeling of positivity and wellbeing in the brain. All three of the body’s natural chemicals play a critical role in regulating mood and creates a feeling similar to that of morphine in adults.
Those three chemicals are the body’s own natural response to exercise. They function as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and sedative.
Anxiety, Stress, Depression & ADHD
Exercise has been proven to be an effective treatment for managing anxiety, stress, depression, and even ADHD. Unfortunately, it’s a highly overlooked and underused therapy that’s typically reserved for weight loss and to aid in diabetes treatment.
The improvement in mood that comes with exercise also works to enhance the mind. Youngsters that exercise improve their cognitive abilities. They demonstrate better memory and enhanced concentration. Exercise is a powerful tool for honing decision-making skills and better processing of information.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Trying new physical activities increases confidence and self-esteem. That includes an improved body image.
Sleep and Relaxation
Even when children are participating in high-activity exercise, it acts to relax the body and mind. The result is a more restful slumber and deeper sleep.
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