The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceDaily.
Regular physical activity can improve adolescents’ mental health and help with behavioral difficulties, research suggests. Engaging in regular moderate to vigorous physical activity at age 11 was associated with better mental health between the ages of 11 and 13, the study found.
Physical activity was also associated with reduced hyperactivity and behavioral problems, such as loss of temper, fighting with other children, lying, and stealing, in young people.
Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Bristol, and Georgia in the United States explored data from the Children of the 90s study (also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; ALSPAC). They looked at the levels of physical activity of 4755 11-year-olds which was measured using devices.
The young people and their parents reported on their levels of depressive symptoms from age 11 and at age 13 years. Participants’ parents and teachers were also quizzed about the young people’s general behavior and emotional difficulties.
The researchers found that higher levels of moderate or intense physical activity had a small but detectable association with decreases in depressive symptoms and emotional difficulties.
Regular exercise had a small but detectable association with reduced behavioral problems, even after controlling for other possible influences, the study found.
The findings suggest regular moderate and intense physical activity may have a small protective influence on mental health in early adolescents, researchers say.
The study was published in Mental Health and Physical Activity.