Fitness Equals Good Medication For Mental Health



We know all too well the physical effects COVID-19 has had around the world, including a growing number of deaths and a negative impact on the economy, but there is also an alarming invisible phenomenon that is also happening – A growing toll on our mental health.

The pandemic has led to an increase in depression, anxiety, drug addiction and suicidal ideation. In fact, several surveys, including those by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Foundation, have found that 40% of American adults reported having had mental health and / or addiction issues in the past. last part of June 2020 only.

Not only are adults struggling, but the pandemic is having a negative effect on our children as well. Since April 2020, emergency room visits related to children’s mental health have increased significantly for school-aged children and adolescents compared to 2019. For children aged 5 to 11, there has been an increase in ‘About 24% and for young adults aged 12 to 17, emergency room visits increased by 31 percent. Children need social interactions to thrive, but with the closure of schools, quarantine and social distancing, their well-being suffers significantly. They feel lonely, stressed and suffer from great anxiety. That being said, there are steps we can take right now to help our children improve their mental health.

I have been advocating for the benefits of physical activity for over 40 years now, generally as a way to fight obesity. However, in this unprecedented time, exercise is needed more than ever. Not only will this help our kids get in shape, but it will help them improve their mental health, behavior, and school performance. The American Psychological Association reviewed 114 studies and found that “young people who exercise more have lower levels of depression, stress and psychological distress, and higher levels of positive self-image, satisfaction. of living and psychological well-being ”.

Building a solid foundation for physical activity at a young age will put our children on an upward spiral of success and lay the foundation for them to grow into strong, healthy adults. In my personal experience, I have found that when children build healthier and stronger bodies, they also gain confidence, self-esteem, and their mentality improves a lot. Years of research also support this. Low-intensity exercise has been shown to improve brain function and help people feel better, while high-intensity exercise three to four times a week can reduce clinical depression. In fact, according to the 2018 Scientific Report of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, children aged 6 to 17 who participate in physical activity have fewer symptoms of depression and “moderate to vigorous physical activity. reduces the risk of developing major depression. “

There are many activities our children can do at home with their family members, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and show jumps. Or they can use a variety of items around the house such as towels for resistance training, a chair for triceps, cans of soup, or cartons of milk for full body exercises. If you have stairs, go up and down them to increase your heart rate. To make the exercise even more fun for your kids, join them, it’s really fun! And if you have the chance, go for a jog, hike or bike ride or just take a family walk around the neighborhood. Moderate exercise is really helpful and very rewarding both physically and mentally.

Ultimately, we have a lot of time at home these days and we have all had to make major adjustments in our lives. Introducing physical activity that the whole family can participate in is only a good remedy. It will help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mental fitness, and ultimately enrich your quality of life. Don’t abandon your family!

Jake Steinfeld is president of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils; whose sole mission is to provide Don’t Quit! Elementary and middle school fitness centers across the United States. The group partnered with Governor Chris Sununu and opened nominations in New Hampshire. Find out more about the Don’t Stop! campaign, visit



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