Why Physical Activity Is So Important For Kids’ & Teens’ Mental Health

Kids’ and teens’ mental health has always been an important topic and has become of increasing concern over the last decade. As our understanding of mental health grows and the diagnosis of mental health issues rises in young people, it’s natural to want to address them and prevent them from developing in your child or teen. The only question is how? What you may not know is that maintaining an active lifestyle and exercise is a key ingredient to the prevention of mental health issues.

Kids’ & Teens’ Mental Health

Why Are Mental Health Issues Rising?

First, it’s important to have a look at why mental health issues are becoming more prevalent in kids and teens. Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer to this question. One thing we know is that it’s extremely important for everyone to take care of their mental health and wellbeing, especially while under significant times of stress and change. 

As children and teenagers’ bodies and minds develop, they are going through immense amounts of change. Having to navigate social situations and a high workload at school can cause significant amounts of stress, as can the natural process of puberty. Though these circumstances have been around for decades, what IS different is the introduction of accessible technology. 

Over the last decade, the way children and teenagers communicate and function has dramatically changed due to electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It’s been discovered that having constant access to social media platforms creates a higher risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. These mental health issues can also be caused by spending prolonged amounts of time indoors in a sedentary state.

What Can I Do?

While the reasons behind why kids and teens develop mental health conditions can be complex, preventing them is often much simpler than we think. One of the best things parents can do is to make sure their child is healthy. It’s easy to think of the mind and body as two entirely separate things that need to be cared for separately, but in reality, caring for the body with exercise and proper nutrition helps to regulate hormones and aid development.

Michelle Hancock, Psychologist and Director of Merge Programs says …”

“What often can be forgotten when we isolate mental health from physical health, is that our psychology is completely based in our physiology.  Don’t let me confuse you into thinking that this means we are genetically predisposed to certain mental health issues, as the research on this point is still in the “evidence gathering” stage.  What I am referring to more specifically, is that our thoughts and behaviours rely upon certain structures in our body in order to occur. So our neurological functioning, both in terms of brain structure and function and the neuro-chemical communication between our brain, our organ systems, and our musculature, are the fundamental vehicles that we use to express our psychology.  This idea takes a little while to digest! If we choose to ignore how our bodies can contribute to maintaining our psychological wellbeing, it’s like we are trying to make a chocolate cake without mixing the ingredients and putting it in the oven to cook. We are simply looking at all the ingredients and wishing our delicious cake into existence.”

Ensuring your child or teenager leads an active and healthy lifestyle will help their mind and body develop the necessary tools and framework to cope with the stress and changes of adolescence. Our blog articles How Much Exercise Do Kids Need? and Stress Relief Exercises For Kids provide helpful information to ensure your child is getting enough exercise. Making sure they are active and healthy is the simplest way to create a positive impact on kids’ and teens’ mental health.

If you aren’t sure where to start, feel free to book a free trial. Our mission is to develop healthy habits in kids to aid their development, so we are always happy to chat if you have any questions about your child’s activity levels or nutrition. For more useful information, check out our blog.

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If you’re wanting to help your child increase their self-esteem, build their confidence, work on having a positive body image and be surrounded by amazing kids and awesome coaches, sign up for a free trial at Australia’s leading functional fitness gym for kids, teens and parents by sign up HERE.

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