Physical Activity Benefits Children's Mental Health

Set up by children’s mental health charity Place2 Be, this week shines a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.


Think back to when you were a child. Remember all those days playing football, jumping on trampolines, climbing trees, throwing that basketball, swimming … and the way your mood was instantly lifted afterwards?

Well based on that, some very clever science-y folk have made significant connections between physical activities to the mental health of you and your children, but as a parent you probably had a pretty strong hunch about this right? Who needs scientists when you have parental intuition! 💪🏼It's been proven that those who are physically active and regularly exercise are happier! Good job on those intuitions moms and dads!

If it’s good for your body, then it’s good for your mind! You want to find out why? We got you! Here are ClassForKids top 5 reasons on why physical activity is great for your children’s mental health and well-being:

1.It releases happy chemicals

Regular exercise releases endorphins which in return, results in a happy child! A natural 'high' if you will. When a child is especially enjoying a sport or any physical activity, their overall mood will remain positive.

Studies have now shown that physical exercise can also be an effective way of alienating stress. So if your child is feeling a bit of pressure from studying or homework, tell them to take breaks by getting physical! Go play football, or for a swim? Maybe walk in the park with your family dog? It's a brilliant way to clear your mind and freshen up your mood. 😊

2.It builds self-confidence and self-esteem

It’s essential for children to develop their personalities and self-esteem in a supportive environment where they can learn about confidence, character-building and working within a team. When playing team-oriented sports like football or basketball, your child is, in a way, forced to work with different people and have to learn how to manage their personalities alongside their own. It's a very organic way of developing your own identity and personality. 🙌🏼

Physical activity can also positively boost your child’s self-image, regardless of their physical appearance. Being brilliant at a sport can really elevate their own perception of themselves and help them gain some confidence in their own self-worth. 

3.It decreases the risks of anxiety and depression

Evidence shows that introducing physical activity from a young age reduces the risks of your child developing anxiety and/or depression because it helps your child learn how to cope with stress by focusing on learning new skills, fulfilling the demands of a sport, communicating and finally, achieving a sense of accomplishment.

In parallel to the previous reason, when a child has strong confidence in themselves and their ability to perform in a physical activity, it's more likely they have the strength to properly manage and talk about any negativity they may encounter growing up.

Physical activity is a great mechanism, albeit indirect, for learning how to communicate. When you know how to express what you need, your child is more likely to have confidence to talk about anything that's making them anxious or ask for help when needed. 💬

3.It improves necessary social skills

Sports provides your child with a safe environment where social skills, communication and engagement can be developed. Making friends, working as a team, being a leader, learning how to win or lose with grace and playing fair are all great qualities that can strengthen your child’s ability to sustain friendships and build relationships. 

We are humans after all and humans are known to be social creatures. Start young! 👯

4.It allows for FUN!

Simply put, let your child have fun!

Physical activities, both indoor and outdoor, encourages your children to discover their own interests and allows them to figure out their own ways to have fun based on what they love!

When children find passion in activities that they love, they could potentially grow their interests into a future career. Who knows, you might have the next Olympic Gold Medallist for gymnastics or the fastest swimmer in the whole of the UK, or even the next Andy Murray!

You never know until you let them explore new things, try and have fun! 🎉

5.Get Active!

We sincerely hope that the information we've shared with you on this post will influence you to encourage physical activity in your household. What's that phrase? Only good things come from those who ... exercise? 😉So go on then, get your children in a kid’s activities club! It’ll definitely benefit their physical AND mental health in the long run and we’re sure that they’ll have all the fun in the world!

Find out more about Children’s Mental Health Week 2020.