As it is Children’s Mental Health Week, we saw it fit that we focused on the huge importance of exercise for children, particularly on their mental health, with experts stating that exercise can help children build confidence, manage anxiety, and increase their self-esteem.
With 10% of children having a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, the importance of focusing on Kids mental health is huge, with fitness holding possibilities for reducing the number of children suffering from mental health problems.
With the benefits of exercise on mental health being known by few too many people, we have outlined some of the main benefits that exercise can have on children:
A boost of confidence & Self-esteem
At any age, it can be hard for people to build confidence around others, and it is the same with children. Although this isn’t necessarily something to worry about, as it is natural for children to feel nervous around others at times, having a lack of confidence in social situations can lead to diagnosable problems such as anxiety in the future.
This is why exercise and physical activity are important for building confidence in younger people. Participating in team sports, or competing in solo sports allows children to build confidence in their own skills, whilst also building their social skills around their peers.
Len Saunders, a Physical Health Educator & author of kids fitness resources says that; “Exercise also releases endorphins, which correlates to a happy child,” Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that we associate with pleasure, and exercise shows to release more positive endorphins, which naturally makes participants happier and less-stressed.
With more Kids Fitness Instructors and sessions becoming available, the options for kids looking to keep fit are growing. New sessions and classes allow kids to keep fit with people their own age, which makes fitness more of a social activity where they can spend time with friends, which overall makes fitness more appealing to the younger demographic.
Overall, kids fitness sessions allow children to build a healthy relationship with their peers, which are skills that are essential for their future. Not only this, but group sessions are a great way for kids to make new friends.
Developing Cognitive Skills
Being involved in sport and exercise from a young age shows to improve the way that kids handle stress and complicated situations they are faced with, as they are able to develop essential cognitive skills. Doing exercise or sport regularly helps kids to get familiar with their cognitive skills such as memory, attention to detail and thinking; all of which are highly useful throughout daily adult life.
Particularly, team and sport-based exercise have a huge benefit on developing the essential cognitive skills in children, as it allows them to constantly test and further their skills in a way that they enjoy. Team-based sports such as Football and Rugby show to be particularly beneficial down to the added competitive aspect, as this pushes their cognitive skills further.
Developing high-quality cognitive skills means that children are more likely to deal with problems and situations in the future in a better way; leading to dealing with less stress. This is down to cognitive skills making it possible for kids to think about situations and make an educated decision using their well developed cognitive skills such as decision-making.
As a whole, the benefits of exercise on young peoples’ mental health are constantly growing as new research comes to light. With the benefits of exercise for children growing, there has never been a better time for parents to help keep their kids fit and healthy.