Summer is in full force. Activities that teens were excited about have now become old and boring. Without structure and a schedule of activities, summer can drag on. Teens may resort back to their screens for entertainment (those never seem to get boring). There has been research about too much screen time for kids and teens. Excessive use can cause headaches, tired eyes, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some signs of depression may be depressed mood, lack of interest in activities, isolating from friends and family (they may spend more time on social media, however), changes in sleep and eating patterns, irritability and mood fluctuations.
Anxiety may have similar symptoms, such as changes in sleep and eating, and irritability. Teens with anxiety may feel keyed up, restless, ruminating thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and somatic complaints. When screen time for kids and teens takes up the majority of their day, they may lack exercise. This can make them more prone to stress, depression, and anxiety. With schools going paperless, teens are on their screens more and more. It’s tough to avoid, but the benefits of taking a break are incredible. School is not in session, so now is a good time to focus on how you deal with screen time for kids and teens, and get them off their screens and get moving!
Here are 4 reasons to reduce screen time for kids and teens and go exercise.
Exercise Reduces Overall Stress
Getting the appropriate amount of exercise each day can help reduce the levels of the hormone Cortisol in your body resulting in lower stress. Cortisol is released when stress is high and can cause disarray in learning, memory, blood pressure, heart disease, and can increase the risk for depression and anxiety. Exercise can help you think clearer and shed the irritations from the day by pumping “feel good” chemicals in your brain like endorphins.
Exercise Can Reduce the Risk of Depression and Anxiety
As mentioned, exercise releases the endorphins, which help people feel good. It also regulates serotonin levels, which help regulate mood and sleep. Sleep is often disrupted in the summer time due to unstructured schedules and late nights. Exercise can combat some of the symptoms from depression and give you more energy, more motivation, regulate sleep and eating, and help improve mood. Exercise can improve relaxation, which can help calm the mind and body. Having a calm mind and body, can help with decreasing the racing thoughts, the tense, keyed up feeling that can come with anxiety.
Exercise Can Help Increase Self-Confidence
Physical activity can help strengthen you physically, which is a confidence booster, but it also can strengthen you mentally. It helps increase self-esteem and improves self-confidence. Regardless of weight or size, a person tends to have a more positive outlook on their self-worth when they are engaging in exercise and other healthy habits.
Exercise Can Help Increase Social Interaction
Getting into an activity with friends can help reduce screen time for kids and teens. It can be anything from an organized sport, or just going for a hike in the park. Exercising with friends can also be a good motivator! It can be difficult to get moving, but if you have a friend waiting for you, it might be easier.
What Kind of Exercise Should be Done?
Exercise can be intimidating and hard! The good thing is that research shows that no one exercise is better than others. As long as you elevate your heart rate, you will get the benefits of exercise. So, just do what you love for about 20-30 minutes 3-5 times per week. Don’t worry, you don’t have to belong to a gym to get the benefits of exercise. Get outside and go for walk, do some meditation, garden, dance, wash your car, or any other activity that gets your body moving and your heart rate up!
Here are 10 activities to get you moving in the summer months:
- Washing your car or your family’s car
- Play a sport: baseball, softball, kickball, tennis, volleyball, basketball, etc
- Riding a bicycle
What are you waiting for? Get off your screens and get moving!