Exercise And Your Teen's Mental Health: Everything You Need To Know

Are you aware of the benefits of exercise on, not only a teenager's physical health, but on their mental health as well?

Are you aware of the benefits of exercise on, not only a teenager's physical health, but on their mental health as well?
Teenagers are struggling under a myriad of mental health issues yet, we have some natural coping strategies that could be beneficial in the self-care of teen mental health.
Exercise has long proved its benefits and mental health is another huge benefit. Getting outdoors gets teenagers into the air and out of the house. Whether it is swimming, sports or classes any exercise is beneficial to your teenager.
Here is some basic information about mental health, exercise and teenagers:
Why do teenagers get stressed?
  • Exams
  • Body image
  • Friends
  • Social media
  • Family
  • School life
Prolonged stress can play havoc on your teenagers’ mental health and while it is hard to avoid stressors in your teen's life, it is easy enough to find coping strategies that work, like exercising.
Ways that some teenagers manage stress and mental health problems:
Positive coping strategies include listening to music, exercising, playing team sports and talking (whether online or to a friend/family member).
*Most teenagers admit to not using telephone helplines for support but instead would use online sources.
Negative coping strategies are binge drinking, self-harm, drugs and toxic relationships.
How can exercise help mental health?
One of the most common health benefits in exercising is stress relief. The scientific reasoning is that exercising builds up concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
Furthermore, pounding the pavement releases endorphins which actively create happy feelings. In fact, exercise is seen as one of the best coping strategies for those who are suffering from mental health issues.
The best thing of all is that your teenager doesn’t have to become a “gym bunny” but they should get active up to three times a week to manage their stress, depression or anxiety.
However, overall exercise is a great way for teenagers to blow off steam regardless of whether you are concerned about their mental health or not. Don’t wait for a problem to activate an exercise plan, do it now with your teenager.
What can parents do to encourage their teenager to be active?
It isn’t rocket science, but teenagers need to either join the gym (if they are old enough) or take part in classes primarily focused on young people’s fitness levels and abilities.
Of course, not all teenagers are “fitness fanatics” but if your teenager is part of a club this is a great starting point. Training with other teens will help your teenager stay focused and they should enjoy interacting with their peers too.
Exercising is great for building self-confidence and if your teenager likes running outside encourage them to do that even if it is just a short jog.
Get on board too and encourage all your family to adopt a healthy living attitude by exercising regularly as a family. Take the younger kids on their bikes while you and your teen jog along.
Remember that while exercising can help your teenager massively, if you notice behaviour changes in your teenm it is vital you seek professional help.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

Read more by Emma
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