Physical exercise has been shown to have significant benefits to mental health and wellbeing. One of the many benefits of exercise, is its help with depression. Developing good mental health and brain function as a teen is incredibly important to achieve overall well-being. A recent article by The Huffington Post discussed how promoting exercise in teens can benefit youth’s mental health and reduced risks of depression.

Understanding Teen Depression

Teen depression is typically diagnosed if youth experience depressive symptoms for more than 2 weeks. Common symptoms of teen depression include mood swings, irritability, changes in eating habits, frequent sadness and crying, low self-esteem, and thoughts of death or suicide.
For youth experiencing teen depression, most guidelines recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other psychological therapies as treatment options. According to the recent study, an increasing number of youth with teen depression are being prescribed antidepressants.

6 Health Benefits from Promoting Exercise in Teens

  1. Reduce stress and increase relaxation. Taking a walk or getting a workout in at the gym is a great way to relieve stress. One of the most common mental health benefits found from promoting exercise in teens is stress relief. Working out can help manage physical and mental stress that may have been built up for a negative experience at school or stressful exam. Exercise can also increase relaxation, benefiting teens who struggle with insomnia or sleep deprivation.
  2. Alleviate anxiety and depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in your body that create feelings of happiness. Studies have shown that the health benefits from promoting exercise in teens can significantly improve depression or anxiety. Even just getting 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week can improve overall mood. Exercising with an anxiety disorder can actually help reduce symptoms in teens and allow them to calm down. Moderate-to-high intensity exercises can reduce anxiety sensitivity.
  3. Improve self-confidence. Physical fitness can boost self-esteem and self-image. Exercising, regardless of size or weight can provide teens with a perception of his or her self-worth. Exercising outdoors can increase self-esteem even more. Finding an outdoor workout that fits your interests is a great way to meet people and build other skills in building up self-esteem or self-worth.
  4. Sharpen memory and prevent cognitive decline. Doing sporadic physical activities can boost memory and learning. Researchers have linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness. As we get older, our brains have a harder time processing or maintaining information. Another health benefit from promoting exercise in teens, is that it reduces the chances of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s later in life. Working out at a young age boosts chemicals in the brain that prevent degeneration of areas of the brain that are linked to memory and learning.
  5. Help control addiction. Exercise can help in addiction recovery. Promoting exercise in teens can effectively distract drug or alcohol addicts, de-prioritizing cravings. Exercise also helps reboot the body after going through negative effects from alcohol or drug abuse.
  6. Get more done and tap into creativity. Researchers show that exercise on a regular basis creates higher levels of energy and productivity in more sedentary peers. Health benefits of promoting exercise in teens can also boost creativity. Exercising outdoors or interacting with nature during exercise can create inspiration and creative thinking.

If your teen is struggling with depression and promoting exercise in teens hasn’t helped, there are programs available that can help.

blueFire Wilderness can help

blueFire is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. Our students often grapple with anxiety, depression, and other emotional or behavioral problems. At blueFire, we strive to help each client succeed.
For more information about blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!

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