Exercise & Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes exercise
as a valid treatment for anxiety and depression. Levels of neurotransmitters
such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are higher in
those who exercise. These, in turn, may elevate mood, reduce
depression, and improve mental focus. Exercise or physical activity
assists the psycho-physiological adaptation of emotional stress.
Weight training, in particular, has shown to raise body image
and global self-esteem. Exercise has been shown to improve mental
function and is speculated to enhance creativity and problem
solving ability. Exercise can be seen as one of the components
essential for physical and mental health in today's society.
Importance of Recess in School
Surveys and studies
indicate multiple trend toward recess:
- Reducing recess to accommodate additional time for academic
- Withdrawal of recess for punitive or behavioral reasons.
- Decreased recess time as student ages
- Less abundant recess among children in urban settings and
of lower socioeconomical status.
American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement
stating that recess should not be withheld for punitive or academic
reasons since it is a crucial and necessary component of a child's
development. Just as physical education and physical fitness
have well recognized benefits, recess offer its own unique benefits
and is complimentary to physical fitness - not a substitute for
it. Recess offers both cognitive, social, emotional, and physical
benefits. For example, periodic recesses have been shown to make
children more attentive and more productive in the class room.
It also offers a necessary break from the academic challenges
and rigors of concentration. Also see PE
American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health
(2013). The Crucial Role of Recess in School. Pediatrics. 131(1):
Positive Peer Pressure
Not all peer pressure
is bad thing. Giving into group pressure can be beneficial particularly
when you purposely join a group or exercise with a training partner
with similar goals as yours. Positive peer pressure can be used
introduce and reinforce positive behaviors until they become
a normal part of your life.
Salvy SJ et al (2007) questioned 10 boys and 10 girls between
ages 12 and 14 for one week about their activities and whether
they were alone or with others. The presence of peers turned
out to be the only significant predictor of the childrens
activity intensity. Overweight children reported greater physical
activity when in the presence of peers as compared to lean children.
Unfortunately overweight children also reported more time spent
Salvy SJ, Bowker JW, Roemmich JN, Romero N, Kieffer E,
Paluch R, Epsein LH (2008). Peer Influence on Children's Physical
Activity: An Experience Sampling Study. J Pediatr Psychol 33
Adherence verses Compliance
Compliance (old medical model) indicates client obeying prescription
given by professional as an authority.
Adherence (newer model) indicates client following plan arrived
at by both the professional and client as a team.
There should be a compromise between what may be recommended
for a client and what they are willing to do. Expecting a client
to do exactly what you prescribe risks alienating them to the
point of having less of a positive influence on their future
Barriers to change
- Family Responsibilities
- Lack of family support
- Lack of proper equipment
- Facilities not available
- Other people
- Pain or discomfort
- Work Responsibility