Even a little exercise is better than none. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Canadian researchers that found obese and overweight teens derive a substantial mental health boost — not mention tangible physical benefits — from small amounts of exercise.
The findings, published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, are based on an analysis of 30 adolescents aged 12-17 years who participated in either twice weekly 60-minute sessions of stationary cycling to music of their own choice or played an interactive video game. All exercise was supervised and performed at a light to moderate intensity.
After 10 weeks, the teens reported on their scholastic performance, social life, athletic competence, body image, and self-esteem. Although few physical differences emerged between the two groups, researchers found teens who exercised reported greater improvements in every category.Wheat Belly: #1 Diet and Health Book in America Changing Lives - ONLY $4.95! Save $21!
"We're talking about psychological benefits derived from improved fitness resulting from modest amount of aerobic exercise – not a change in weight or body fat," said lead researcher Dr. Gary Goldfield, registered psychologist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.
"If you can improve your physical activity and fitness even minimally, it can help improve your mental health. By teaching kids to focus on healthy active lifestyle behaviors, they are focusing on something they can control."
Goldfield added that exercise-induced improvements in an overweight teen’s outlook may help buffer against some of the teasing and bias that's often inflicted on such kids, which can have devastating effects on their well-being.
"The first thing I tell teens and parents struggling with their weight in my practice is to throw away the scale," he said.. "These kids face enough challenges with bullying and peer pressure today! This new study is proof positive that even a modest dose of exercise is prescriptive for a mental health boost."Wheat Belly: #1 Diet and Health Book in America Changing Lives - ONLY $4.95! Save $21!