The mental health benefits of exercise for children is not often what we think of. Usually, physical benefits spring to mind like weight gain prevention, strengthened muscles, and reduced risk of conditions like diabetes. However, the mental health advantages are equally significant. Recent studies suggest exercise’s lasting positive effects on kids’ well-being. This blog explores exercise’s role in mental health, exercise ideas that kids will adore, and valuable tips for parents to encourage more movement. Supporting our children on their journey to better mental and physical health is crucial for their psychological growth and physical well-being.

The Role of Exercise in Mental Health Wellness

Studies indicate that exercise triggers a remarkable recalibration within the brain, directing its resources toward improved coordination and focus. Furthermore, aerobic exercise alters brain chemistry, leading to increased levels of neurotransmitters that aid in self-regulation, and the ability to control behavior and emotions effectively. This is why aerobic exercise serves as a powerful coping strategy for handling emotions like stress or anger. Regular engagement in such exercise empowers children to function more effectively in classrooms, enhancing their overall well-being and emotional balance. It’s also suggested that beginning exercise at a younger age can have long-term positive effects. A recent study concluded that moderate to vigorous activity in kids ages 6-8 was linked to fewer symptoms of depression two years later.


A List of Mental Health Benefits:

  • Improved capacity for learning
  • Reduced stress
  • Better quality sleep
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Boosted self-regulation
  • Improved resilience
  • Boosted mood


  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Reduced symptoms of ADHD
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Boosted energy
  • Improved social skills
  • Better outlook on life

Kid-Approved Exercise Inspiration

Exercise may bring distaste in adults who think of gyms, over-exercise, and fad diets – but for children, it takes a totally different form. Exercise includes running through the sprinkler in the yard, climbing on playground equipment, and hitting the pool. Enticing kids with exercise that incorporates a sense of play is a great way to engage them. It also inspires them to initiate exercise more on their own. Here are some kid-approved ideas for exercise:

  • Enjoy play equipment
  • Walk on park trails
  • Jump rope
  • Hopscotch
  • Relay races
  • Timed running challenges
  • Skipping
  • Bike riding
  • Swimming
  • Play catch
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Play Simon says
  • Volleyball
  • Play Capture the Flag
  • Try a new sport
  • Badminton

How to Encourage Kids to Exercise

To encourage kids to exercise, parents can lead by example, making physical activity enjoyable and engaging. Involving children in decision-making, creating a supportive environment, and setting realistic goals are also effective strategies. In the digital age we live in, limiting screen time can make a big difference in encouraging kids to take on a less sedentary lifestyle. Parents can also organize family fitness sessions or join community programs to make it a group event. Don’t forget to praise effort over outcomes and celebrate achievements to further motivate children. By instilling a love for exercise and emphasizing its benefits, parents can inspire their kids to embrace an active lifestyle for lifelong well-being.

In Conclusion

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise for Children Should Be A Consideration

In conclusion, exercise not only benefits children’s physical health but also plays a vital role in enhancing their mental well-being. By making it enjoyable and involving kids in the process, parents can instill a lifelong love for physical activity, empowering children with greater emotional resilience and confidence. As children develop greater emotional resilience, confidence, and overall well-being, they are better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and thrive in both their academic and personal pursuits. Let’s embrace the transformative power of exercise, ensuring a happier and healthier future for our kids.

Sources: Nemours, Verywell Mind, Healthline, Verywell Family