Why Exercise Matters for Children’s Mental Health

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As childhood experts at BLOOM, we can easily testify to the vast benefits of exercise for children and adults. Kids, in particular, need exercise to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Exercise and spending time outdoors are both some of the main culprits of good or challenging sleep for children. 

As adults, we know that getting our blood pumping once a day is wise for our overall health. As it turns out, it matters big time for the mental health of our children as well!

In this blog, we’ll dive into the many benefits of exercise for children, from mental health to sleep enhancement and more. Discover countless online resources and courses at BLOOM to support your parenting journey and better serve your child’s needs–Parenting a Needy Child, Sensory Processing, Parenting, Sleep, and Parent-Child Relationships.    

Why Do Children Need Exercise? 

Exercise is not only about keeping fit. In fact, the positive effects of exercise largely stems from using many sensory systems, namely movement, touch, and proprioception. Proprioception refers to the deep pressure touch felt with the stretching and contracting of the limbs in the joints, ligaments, and muscles.

In addition, it helps children to focus and pay attention. It helps to put their mood in a better place. Children who are typically aggressive or melt down easily are less likely to act out when they have enough exercise. Pretty neat, right? 

With children in particular, following up an exercise session with proper food refueling is essential. They need to be replenished with fluids and nourishment afterward to maintain the benefits of the exercise and not be set back into a cranky, crabby state.

Benefits of Exercise for Children’s Mental Health

Research has shown that even light levels of physical activity in children are linked to improved mental health both in childhood and as they get older. We know that exercise reduces depression in adults and that the positive effects are similar for adolescents. Not only does exercise help your overall health improve, but it also helps your brain! 

6 Types of Exercise for Children

Exercising for children does not have to mean a six-mile run or heavy weight lifting to reap the mental health benefits. Moderate and even light activity will capture the positive effects for adolescents. The key is for children to move their bodies.

  1. Walking or running
  2. Doing chores around the house
  3. Riding a bike or scooter
  4. Building a blanket fort
  5. Rollerblading
  6. Playing tag or catch in the backyard

The Positive Effects of Movement on Mental Health

From adults to children, we are meant to move our bodies and be outside each day. The busyness of life, work, and school often prevent children from getting ample exercise each day.

The positive effects of even light and moderate exercise each day are profound for children. If you want to help your child improve their sleep, increase focus and attention, and decrease depression risk, it’s vital to prioritize daily movement each day.

Explore BLOOM's wide range of helpful online courses to help understand your child and better support them as they grow. From courses on Attention and Impulsivity to Aggression and Anxiety, BLOOM courses meet you and your family at your greatest point of need.

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