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08-03 National Exercise with Your Child Week: Physical activity can help teens fight mental problems

National Exercise with Your Child Week: Physical activity can help teens fight mental problems

These days a lot of emphasis is being laid on incorporating healthy habits such as daily exercise and nutritious food in one’s lifestyle. However, to maintain one’s physical health, it is not necessary to indulge in heavy workout programs. Daily exercises, such as jogging, swimming or cycling for 30 minutes, can go a long way in benefitting both the body and the mind. Studies have indicated that there is a link between increased physical activity and fewer mental health problems while stressing on the need to advise patients to engage in light activities to reduce the burden of emotional disorders they are living with.

“A healthy body begets a healthy mind” is an age old adage that explains how exercising one’s way to good health also ensures a positive mind free of mental health problems. While experts suggest that a positive self-image coupled with good relations with peers as potential factors for the association between exercise and good mental health among teenagers, there may be myriad other factors at play.

Though exercise may not act as a panacea to all existing problems during adolescence, it surely helps in re-enforcing positive self-perceptions that, in turn, raises confidence levels of teenagers. Some common mental disorders that can be prevented by regular exercise and physical activity are:

Depression/anxiety: Regular exercise acts as an elixir for patients living with mild depression. Doctors usually prescribe antidepressant medications to teenagers suffering from moderate depressive symptoms. Studies have indicated how exercising regularly even for a few minutes can produce similar effects as antidepressants do. Besides, clinicians often recommend exercise as an efficient anti-anxiety measure. In addition to relieving patients of the strain and emotional burden associated with such an illness, exercise helps boost mental well-being through the release of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system identified as endorphins. Experts stress the need to focus on the mindfulness element of exercise. Paying particular attention to the body or the feel good factor as one exercises bring about greater improvement in one’s physical condition, while also intercepting the tendency to allow stress and worry to crop up in the mind.

Stress: A stressful mind can have an adverse effect on one’s physical health. Symptoms like insomnia, dizziness, constant headaches or frequent diarrhea are often attributed to prolonged or recurring feelings of stress. Breaking the cycle of stress and consequent strain on the mind can be made possible with regular exercise. The release of endorphins as a result of exercise can help relieve unwarranted stress eating into one’s mind.

ADHD: While ADHD is identified as a childhood disorder, untimely diagnosis or lack of treatment may result in teenagers exhibiting symptoms of it too. Signs of ADHD may be more pronounced in some cases, resulting in hyperactivity, restlessness or inability to pay attention. Regular physical activity helps increase focus and attention necessary for ADHD patients.

PTSD and trauma: Traumatic experiences disable the affected to think ahead. The thinking process in teenagers with PTSD is regulated with increased movements of the body and mind during exercise. While mental health experts prescribe a combination of medications and behavioral therapies to treat PTSD patients, regular exercise helps relieve them of the continual stress and angst building up inside owing to distressing experiences.

The U.S. observes the “National Exercise with Your Child Week (NEYCW)” from August 4 to August 10 every year to raise awareness among parents and guardians about the significance of exercise in their wards’ lives. Observing this week becomes all the more important, as teenagers are more vulnerable to psychological problems as well as substance use disorders.

Helping teens recover from mental disorders

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, about three million American adolescents aged 12 to 17 experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, one of the leading mental health facilities for teens in the U.S., provides a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescent patients. If you are worried about your ward’s mental health problems, please call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representatives to know more about our teen depression rehab in San Diego.

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