With mobile apps and gaming becoming the center of focus for many adolescents and teenagers today, it’s become challenging for parents to monitor their child’s usage on technology. “They’re just kids – they’ll grow out of it”, is likely a common thought process many parents go through and, while it may seem this way, the reality is that your child’s physical health is directly connected to their mental health – both of which are very important to their long-term health and happiness in life.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), only 1 in 3 children are physically active each day – and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic activity to meet the physical activity requirements for their age bracket. As a parent, one of the best things you can do is encourage outside activity with your children, preferably by engaging in sports and recreational activities with them. According to Dr. Nandini Mani, Hospitalist and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, exercise has been shown to boost mood in adults, and could potentially help abate symptoms of depression experienced by teens. Ultimately, there are many great reasons why exercise should be implemented in your teen’s daily routine, as outlined by U.S. News:
- Exercise releases endorphins, otherwise known as “happy chemicals”.
- Exercise can lower stress levels called cortisol, giving your teen the mental energy and space to better work through challenging emotions or situations.
- Exercise positively effects serotonin, which has been linked to depression if levels become too low.
- Exercise stimulates the chemical neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which also helps to relieve stress, ultimately improving your teen’s mood.
- By exercising, your teen is likely to experience positive outcomes regarding their self-image, self-confidence, and even social interactions if engaged in team activities.
A 2016 study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise sought to explore the effects of a CrossFit Teens resistance training program on the mental health of adolescents. The study’s results found that “at-risk” teens (those who showed signs of psychological distress and which could develop into a mental illness) experienced improved health outcomes, self-esteem, physical self-perception and psychological health overall. If you haven’t already, talk to your teen about getting active. See what their interests are, and try to get them involved.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.