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  • Writer's pictureJessica O'Neil

Is the Couch Impacting Our Children's Mental Health?

Did You Know?

Exercising is not only good for our physical health but also our mental health!

High levels of sedentary behaviors in kids (like sitting on the couch or being on an iPad/cell phone for long amounts of time) are associated with mental health problems in kids and teenagers.

Many, many studies provide support for the benefits of physical exercise in children and adolescents on executive function, brain activity, and depressive symptoms. Kids and adults who exercise are better able to engage in decision making processes which greatly increases their ability to manage stressful and emotional situations.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents should be physically active nearly every day for at least 60 minutes. For a majority of youth, it is unlikely that they will reach this goal each day. Because of this, it is important that physical activity is promoted in school settings along with after school activities. Parents can encourage their children to be active by doing physical activities together like going on walks or visiting a local park. By doing this, the whole family is being active and working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Why Exercise?

  • By exercising you make your muscles and bones strong while decreasing your chance of being overweight

  • Physically active children and adults are less depressed

    • Exercising releases endorphins, happy chemicals that trigger positive and happy feelings

  • Exercising can decrease your risk of developing health complications in the future and can even help with existing health complications

  • Daily exercise improves your sleep! If you feel tired and lethargic all the time, try pushing yourself to go for a 15 minute walk and enjoy feeling re-energized!

  • Exercising can help you focus!

    • Children with and without ADHD show improvements and in reading comprehension and math after exercising

    • Aerobic exercise may be a valuable addition to treatment for children with ADHD

But How?

  • Take a walk as a family before or after dinner for at least 15 minutes instead of watching TV

  • Take the stairs

  • If you are watching TV make a goal to get up and move during each commercial break

  • Go to a playground, basketball court, or soccer field

  • DANCE to your favorite songs

  • Go swimming

  • Play kickball, basketball, soccer, etc.

  • Go for a run, play chase or tag

  • Carry in the groceries as a family

At Excel Youth, we provide TONS of FUN activities that incorporate physical activity to help our kids EXCEL at school, home and in the community!

What are some other ways we could incorporate exercise into our daily lives?

Let us know on Instagram @excel.youth !

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