There are many people who exercise regularly because it makes them feel good afterwards. The improvement in mood after exercise is not purely psychological. Research has shown that exercise has actual biological effects on your brain that result in a mood boost. This applies to young children as well. That’s why it is so important to ensure that your children get in regular exercise. Exercise can make them happier on top of the more obvious physical benefits it provides.
Exercise Improves Your Child’s Mood
Scientists have been examining the effects of exercise on cognition for years. While it is still debatable how big the benefits of exercise are for the brain, it is undeniable that exercise does change the brain, both during exercise and in the long run.
Studies have shown that our bodies release chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine after 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. These endorphins interact with receptors in our brain to reduce our perception of pain and stress, both physical and emotional. This means that your child is likely to feel happier after a challenging workout. Aerobic exercise also releases dopamine and serotonin which will enhance your child’s mood for a few hours after they exercise.
When your child exercises, their heart rate increases, causing more oxygen to be pumped to their brain. Research has shown that a well-oxygenated brain is better equipped to handle depression and anxiety. This means that exercise is likely to put your child in a more positive mood. Some studies have also found that exercise may relieve anxiety and depression on its own.
Exercise Helps your Child to Develop a Healthier Brain
It is important for your child to get in regular exercise. In fact, it is recommended that they engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise every day and most of the 60 minutes should include physical activity of vigorous intensity. On top of boosting their mood, regular exercise is crucial for the healthy development of their brain. Research has shown that regular exercise causes chronic and beneficial changes to the structure and function of our brains, leading to a healthier brain in the long run. This makes exercise especially essential for kids as their brains are still growing.
Other studies have also shown that exercise can generate new neurons in our hippocampus, an area of our brain associated with learning, memory and emotions. Since emotions are partially managed by the hippocampus, a healthier hippocampus may make your child more emotionally stable in the long run.
Best Exercises for Happiness
What exercises are the best for your kids?
Any kind of regular physical activity is good for them. However, research seems to suggest that aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming or running have the best effects on our brains. With that said, this could just be because more studies have been conducted on the effects of aerobic exercises compared to other forms of exercise. As long as your children exercise on a regular basis, you are sure to be raising happy kids.