Keep Children Away From Stress With Exercise
It’s a well-known fact that exercise is good for our health – and this is especially true of children. Exercise can help you stay at a healthy weight, increasing muscles and even reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes and cancer. But now it seems that there is another benefit for children exercising. It seems that regular exercise can help protect children from stress.
According to a recent study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism exercise may play a very important role in helping children cope in stressful situations. When children who lived a more sedentary lifestyle where exposed to stress they were prone to surges of cortisol – a hormone that is linked to stress. More active children who were placed in similar situations saw no increase in cortisol.
The findings suggest that regular exercise plays a role in mental health by keeping children free from the effects of stressful situations such as public speaking. The study looked at the levels of physical activity and cortisol of 252 eight-year-old children. The participants wore accelerometer devices on their wrists to measure the amount of physical activity they got it each day. Saliva samples were taken to measure cortisol levels.
To measure the children’s reactions to stress they were stressful tasks such as arithmetic and story-telling tasks. And this study is the first to find a link between levels of physical activity and stress hormones. The children were divided into three groups – most active, intermediate and least active. The most active children’s levels of cortisol were less reactive when the children were put in stressful situations.
While the link has been found between exercise and stress, the nature of the connection is not yet fully understood.