At any given time, researchers estimate that 10 to 15 percent of children and teens are depressed. Depression can affect a child’s social and academic life. But there could be an easy solution. Here’s how exercise can boost your kid’s mood.
Running, jumping, and playing. It’s what most kids would just consider good fun!
But research shows physical activity may do more than provide entertainment; it can also treat depression. In adults, studies have shown that aerobic exercise can improve symptoms of depression as much as medication. A new study in the journal pediatrics found six-year-old kids who exercised more showed fewer depressive symptoms when they were eight and ten. Researchers found the amount of time the children were sedentary didn’t matter. What did matter is the amount of time they were active!
The kids who benefited in the study engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise that left them sweaty and out of breath. The CDC recommends children and adolescents should participate in at least one hour of physical activity each day. In addition to lowering your child’s risk of depression it could also protect against heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Experts believe that exercise wards off depression because it enhances the action of endorphins; feel-good chemicals that circulate throughout your body. Another theory is it stimulates the neuro-transmitter norepinephrine, which may improve mood.
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