We have an expectation in our family about physical activity. The expectation is that it’s mandatory! Each day, we plan to move our bodies in some way. Some days it may be going to the gym, others it may be walking around the zoo or riding scooters/bikes around the neighborhood. If the weather is cold or rainy, we may play hide and seek or have an indoor dance party. We have learned to prioritize physical activity in our home because of the immense benefits we see. My husband and I experience a reduction in stress and anxiety while reducing the likelihood of numerous illness associated with a lack of exercise. Our young children expend their seemingly BOUNDLESS energy doing positive activities instead of being annoyed with each other (and us!) all day. Our children are also great eaters and much less picky when they have burned through a lot of energy. Physical activity for our family solves a myriad of difficulties and helps us to build confidence in our bodies and all the amazing things they can do.
Research on Physical Activity
There is increasing, and alarming, research on the physical, mental and emotional impact an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is having on our country. Bodies are designed to move! Large gross-motor and small fine-motor movements are essential for brain development and the production of dopamine-the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Regardless of the age of your child, encourage them to physically play. Heck! Have some fun and play with them!
This article is a continuation of my previous blog, School Violence-Bringing Light to a Dark Issue, and part four of a five part series on impacting school violence. Using the above information about physical movement, let’s think about what differences an increase in physical movement may have on school violence:
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety regulation
- Positive self-image
- Increased self-esteem
- Increased peer interaction
I’d love to hear your ideas about how your family remains active or ways you desire to increase your activity level! Share them in the comments.
My practice began as a reunification therapist, helping parents renew relationships with their children. I then became a school counselor, and now love being in private practice. Adolescents are one of my favorite age groups to counsel. Call or email with any questions or comments! Our first time consultations are on the phone, 15 minutes and can help you determine your next step. You don’t have to do this alone.
Ashley Barkley, LPC
(940) 222-8703 ext.701