This is my third blog this week celebrating Childrens Mental Health Week, we have covered sleep and food, now we are going to talk about exercise.
I don’t know where I would be without exercise, for me my choice of physical activity is running and I mean it with all sincerity when I say running keeps me sane if not keeps me alive. During a run I process thoughts and enjoy the great outdoors, after a run I feel tired (in a good way) plus I feel that I have accomplished something and that my body is strong. What I also find is that because I run and have put my body through a workout I respect it a bit more, that means I am more likely to make good food choices. Most importantly fo rmy mental health running makes me sleep better. Sounds amazing doesn’t it so why dont we teach our children the basics of how good exercise is for us and how it helps us have a health mind as well as body.
Just remember though any exercise is good for you, a walk, a play in the park, a run around the garden. They all have benefits for your kids and getting them outdoors and active is so incredibly important when children are known to spend too much time looking at screens. Let kids explore and let them face simple dangers, we have to let our kids grow and physical exercise goes hand in hand with that.
How can exercise help our childrens mental wellbeing?
- Builds confidence
- Manages anxiety and depression
- Increases self esteem
- Improves cognitive skills
- They will reach new goals
- Meet new friends and gain social skills
EXERCISE RELEASES ENDORPHINES WHICH CORRELATE TO A HAPPY CHILD
Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity at ages 6-8 is linked to fewer symptoms of depression two years later.
I felt that the best way for me to understand and explain how exercise can help a childs mental wellbeing was to get some information from three professional companies. One is a one line fitness company, one is a fitness centre and lastly a sports coach. I wanted to hear about how they think exercise benefits our children
Online – Muscle Fit Nation
Online fitness wear brand and fitness advocates Muscle Fit Nation have an excellent attitude to exercise. They want to promote health and wellbeing, to motivate poeple to work hard so they can fulfill their dreams. I managed to get Nathan to write some really great words about exercise and mental health.
“Being in the industry we hear of many different ways and reasons why people stay active. One is mental health and we believe this is becoming one of the main reasons people are more active nowadays. Being active releases endorphins which has a positive effect on your mood and wellbeing.
Whether it’s an adult or child struggling with mental health eating well and exercising regularly can have a huge impact on their life.
Firstly, let’s start with eating healthly. We feel with a good balanced diet people will feel better within themselves (I.e have more energy, immune system working correctly, bowels working correctly). If you can start to feel healthier and more energetic then you have more chance of improving your mental wellbeing.
Secondly, if you have a balanced diet so you feel energised because your taking in the right amount of nutrients then you are more likely to exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym, this could mean running, walking, cycling, just something that increases your heart rate. “
If you would like to know more about Muscle Fit Nation Click here
Fitness Centre – Gymfinity
When I first heard about Gymfinity I was blown away by such an amazing club, partly due to my girls loving gym but also by the vibrance and postive feeling it gave me (and this was me just looking on their website). Then after getting in contact with Josie at their head office I heard that they promote positive mental health and even have a campaign called Gymfinity and Beyond. This is their way of showing through personal experience how exercise (in their case gymnastics) has helped mental health.
The club values speak volumes about the company as a whole;
Deliver the very best child-focused gymnastics and ninja programs, that teach “totally crazy superhero ﬂying tricks”
Build safe, state-of-the-art, purpose-built clubs with “spongey cake ﬂoors and rainbow crayon colours”
Create a club full of encouragement, inspiration and motivation, where every child matters and only the “nicest humans in the world” are coaches
I also spoke to club manager Andrew Brunning who said
“Our club recognises that in order to be healthy inside and out it’s important to take steps to look after your body and mind together. Sports activities like gymnastics and ninja at Gymfinity Kids are a great way for children to get active in a safe and nurturing environment with a positive coaching approach.”
I would also like to attach a link for you to read which is Stellas story about how Gymfinity helped with her mental health, this is part of their #gymfinityandbeyondcampaign to read click here
Local Sports Coach – Scott Forbes
Lastly but certainly not least I had the pleasure of speaking to local sports coach Scott Forbes. Every child in my local area knows this guy because of his upbeat and fairly infectious personality, I have never seen one person be able to tame a party of 40 children like he can. The ex professional footballer now coaches football teams, runs activity holiday camps, 1 on 1 personal trainer plus probably the most in demand party service in Essex. He is busy man so I was so happy that I have been able to get him to write a few words about why he thinks that teaching the kids helps their mental wellbeing;
“I have been working with children now for 25 years and mental health and exercise have been proven to be closely related – and more so in children. Additionally, creating a positive communicative environment is not only key for self development, but key to social development in all ages.
My ethos for teaching exercise is that fitness should be fun. How else will they find the drive and desire to take part unless it is fun. Using fun to inspire exercise makes desire to exercise consequential. Exercise releases endorphins which trigger positive feeling, and so the cycle continues.
My job to help children develop in a positive environment, growing their confidence and allowing them, within reason, to express their own selves and be proud of who they are.”
To contact Scott yourself Click here
I think its clear from all three professionals that the importance of exercise for our children mental health is not one we can ignore.
You dont need to pay for exercise
I know I have used clubs and coaches as sources for this blog but that is because they are professionals in the field. What I wanted to reiterate that exercise does not need to cost money, but encouraging your child to keep active really doesnt hold a value for their health.
Yes joining clubs and having professional around them does have benefits but the most important thing is that all children get fresh air and their heart racing so get out and kick a ball with your daughter or climb trees with your son, encouraging them will give them the confidence to do these things all on their own.
Thank you for reading