Child Behavior, ADHD, Depression and Exercise

Children and teenagers today report symptoms of ADHD and Depression at a higher rate than ever before. Childhood bullying and being overweight is on the rise as well.

Children today are spending an inordinate amount of time on electronics: social media, snapchat, instagram, texting, you tube, Netflix, video games, DS players, TV series and this is creating an imbalance in your child’s life: physically, mentally, emotionally and in other areas.

Physical activity strengthens a child and teen’s bones, muscles, helps with weight gain, and reduces the risk of diabetes and many other diseases. Physical exercise is highly beneficial for your child or teens mental health. Research in the journal of pediatrics supports the above as well as many other articles and research throughout the world.

Exercise, Mood and Behaviors

Exercise improves not only mood and behaviors it releases endorphins and these make your child happy.

Research shows playing outdoors and outside decreases ADHD symptoms. The greener and more wilder the experience is in nature the better restorative effect it has on a child’s ADHD.

The same research is true for depression in children and teenagers. Playtime in nature reduces depressive symptoms and ADHD symptoms in youth and fosters creativity in your child’s mind. We need experiences in nature for our psychological, physical, and spiritual health.

Children attending school that have natural green play areas did better on standardized tests than children and teenagers that did not have access to green playgrounds and nature at their respective schools.

Nature has a healing and relaxing impact on our mind and body.

Children need to get out and play in nature be it riding a bike, walking, going to a park, throwing a ball, shooting baskets at a park, playing tag, and being active.

Exercise for children that provides aerobic activity and short bouts of exercise are a treatment modality for ADHD children. Attention and control improve in the brain studies. Children and teens show great cognitive involvement in testing and reading and math after exercise compared to when simply just seated without exercise.

The more physical activity that was attended during research studies the better cognitive functioning occurred in the children. There was also increases in attention.

Depressive symptoms in children that get outside and play vs sitting inside playing video games and playing electronics is significant in many research studies. Youth that are active at least an hour a day were less likely to report depressive symptoms in their lives. Research supports this in Psychiatric and Psychological journals in many countries throughout the world and in over 500 studies.

Research also shows that a decrease in video games, smart phone activity, TV, social media etc. showed a decrease in a child’s depression and depressive symptoms.

Overall exercise supports executive functioning, brain activity, and a decrease in depressive symptoms

Parents should encourage children to get involved in sports and exercise. Physical activity is not just great for mood and the body it is an opportunity to build self esteem, learn teamwork, learn how to overcome disappointment, learn interpersonal skills and develop social skills.

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.