Kids-health is a site packed with hints and tips to keep you and the family healthy.
Exercise And Your Kids’ Emotional Health
Everybody knows about the physical health benefits of exercise and the importance of setting good exercise habits in childhood. An aspect that receives less consideration perhaps is the effect of exercise on emotional health. An estimated one in ten children suffer from a mental health disorder and exercise can have a significant positive impact on their behaviour and mood.
Some children, like adults, are susceptible to bouts of anxiety, depression and behaviour disorder. Exercise is thought to trigger the production of endorphins which are the body’s own feel-good drug. Therefore a good dose of exercise makes many people feel alive, rejuvenated and generally on a ‘high’. It’s exactly the same for children. They may not be able to articulate it, but after a good run around, they appear happy and ‘bouncy’ Take it from me, a former primary school teacher who has had to calm many a child after a vigorous playtime!
Another reason that children may feel good after exercise is because they have mastered something. Take for example, your young footballer who has managed to score three times from the penalty spot, or your little ballet dancer who has performed a perfect arabesque. Children love to achieve, to be good at something, to feel like a champ – exercise or being part of a club or team gives them opportunities to succeed and feel a real sense of accomplishment.
Belonging to a team or club also nurtures your child’s self-esteem. It is important for them to feel valued and and respected amongst their peers and grown-ups. Children who play for the school team or belong to the swimming club or dance as part of a troupe will feel a sense of belonging and find like-minded friends for sharing their experiences. Parents can help their children find an activity that best suits their interests and where their children will feel happy and secure.
Making exercise fun for your little ones is also valuable. An exciting adventure bike ride through the woods, or a impromptu game of hopscotch or skipping will delight them no end. Happiness and laughter is the best medicine they say!
Thankfully, most children grow up mentally healthy but considering exercise as a form of preventative medicine for any potential emotional problems is definitely worthwhile. Indeed, setting up a good exercise habit in childhood can give a youngster a good ‘exercise toolkit’ to alleviate any future stress and anxiety in adulthood. For parents whose children do have a mental health issue, using exercise as a form of therapy is to be wholeheartedly recommended.