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Dr. B's Blog

The Benefits of Exercise on Depression in Young Children

                                                                                  
      The benefit of exercise in promoting good overall physical health is a widely accepted fact. However recent research also demonstrates that exercise can have the beneficial effect of preventing depression in young children. The study conducted in Norway, assessed 800 children, initially at age 6 and then again at ages 8 and 10. The children were monitored for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, sedentary activity and symptoms of depression. The results indicated that at age 8 and 10, the children who engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity showed far less signs of depression than the children who were sedentary. In addition, the study discovered that it wasn’t that being less active caused depression or that depression caused children to be sedentary. Instead it was determined that participating in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity had the very positive effect of lessening the likelihood of a child becoming depressed.
       Unfortunately however, according to healthychildren.org , only 1 in 3 children are physically active each day and less than 50% of the time that children spend in sports practices, games and gym involves sufficient physical movement. Contributing to the inactivity is the fact that children and teens spend more than 7 hours each day using computers, phones, TVs and other electronic devices.
       In order to help children to be more physically active, healthychildren.org recommends that there are several interventions that parents or caretakers can make to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Make the activity fun-Children are more likely to participate in something that they actually enjoy.

Get the family involved-It’s a great way to spend time together and motivate children.

Safety first-Make sure that equipment, clothing and location are safe for the activity.

Be a role model-Children who see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to want to exercise.

Monitor screen time-Parents and caretakers should put limitations on the amount of time that children spend on phones, computers, TV and video games.

Make time for exercise-Many children are overscheduled so it’s important to create a balance between school work and activity and not stress out a child.

Don’t overdo the exercise-Encourage children to listen to their bodies, so if they’re tired or in pain they can take a break.
   
      By encouraging moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in early childhood, children and teens can be both physically and mentally healthier, leading to lasting positive effects into adulthood.
Posted: 10/31/2017 11:50:17 AM | 0 comments