Let kids get rough and sweaty, it’s good for their mental and physical health!

Let go of that excess involvement and control over kids and let them be the way they are. Because when kids are what they are, and get rough, sweaty, and active, it not only boosts their physical health but also protects them against depression. Research shows that being active, getting sweaty, and roughhousing offer more than just physical health benefits for young children and protect against depression.

Physically active adults and youth have been linked to a lower risk of depression, according to previous research. However, up until now, no research has been done on the same effect on youngsters.

Children benefit from exercise in the same ways, according to a recent study. We are referring to moderate-to-intense physical exercise that causes children to perspire or become breathless.

Hundreds of youngsters have been studied for four years by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research to investigate if there is a relationship between physical activity and depressive symptoms.

Healthy to roughhouse

Approximately seven hundred children were tested by researchers at the age of six, and another seven hundred were examined at the ages of eight and 10. Accelerometers, a sort of sophisticated pedometer, were used to assess physical activity, and parents were questioned regarding the mental health of their children.

“Being active, getting sweaty, and roughhousing offer more than just physical health benefits. They also protect against depression,” says Tonje Zahl, a PhD candidate at NTNU. She is the first author of the article on the study findings, which was recently published in the February 2017 issue of Paediatrics.

The work was part of Tidlig Trygg i Trondheim, a multi-year study of child development and mental health.

Physical activity protects kids against the development of depression

When re-examined two years later, physically active six- and eight-year-olds displayed fewer depressive symptoms. Thus, it appears that physical activity guards against the onset of depression.

“This is important to know, because it may suggest that physical activity can be used to prevent and treat depression already in childhood,” says Silje Steinsbekk, associate professor in NTNU’s Department of Psychology. Steinsbekk and Professor Lars Wichstrøm are Zahl’s mentors and coauthors.

Steinsbekk emphasizes that these findings should now be put to the test in randomized trials in which researchers up the physical activity level of kids and see if kids who take part in these activities have fewer depressive symptoms over time than kids who don’t.

“We also studied whether children who have symptoms of depression are less physically active over time, but didn’t find that to be the case,” she says.

Children need actual increased physical activity

The NTNU children’s study found no link between depression and a sedentary lifestyle, despite prior research in adolescents and adults linking sedentary behaviours like computer gaming and television watching to depression.

Sedentary behaviour did not raise the likelihood of depression, nor did depressive symptoms cause increased inactivity.

Therefore, the advice to parents and medical professionals is to encourage physical exercise, even if it makes kids a little bit sweaty and out of breath. Ride a bike or play outside. It is insufficient to restrict kids’ TV or iPad usage. Kids require a genuine increase in physical exercise.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Tonje Zahl, Silje Steinsbekk, Lars Wichstrøm. Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Symptoms of Major Depression in Middle Childhood. Pediatrics, 2017; e20161711 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1711

Page citation:

Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “Physically active children are less depressed.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170131075131.htm>.

Help is here:

Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)

Name of the Organisation: Vandrevala Foundation

Vandrevala Foundation is a non-profit that partners with organizations to help communities thrive by providing education and healthcare. Vandrevala Foundation launched a mental health helpline in India in 2009 to offer free psychological counselling and crisis mediation to anyone experiencing distress due to depression, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness, and relationship conflict.

Website:  http://www.vandrevalafoundation.com

Contact: Email: info@vandrevalafoundation.com

Telephone: +91 9999 666 555

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