22 Jul Kids Fitness Depression and Anxiety
Kids Fitness – Depression and Anxiety and how they are connected.
Research related to kids fitness – depression and anxiety done in the beginning of 2021 found that :
compared to international average 10% more kids in HK report being depressed.
“The life satisfaction and health levels of Hong Kong schoolchildren are far below international levels.
Local researchers have found, pointing to difficulties pupils face in communicating with their parents and a lack of exercise as key factors affecting their happiness.”
( SCMP Jan 8 , 2021 ) .
Working with kids way before I have opened Fitness in Motion studio and it doesn’t come as much of a surprise .
The sad reality when it comes to fitness
Unfortunately we see more and more overweight kids or in poor physical condition.
That is a direct cause of bad nutrition and lack of movement due to sedentary lifestyle .
Kids are sitting at school most of the day .
Then come home – sitting to do their homework.
And then they sit down playing the phone / watch TV .
So no surprise here .
The sad reality when it comes to communication
Thats why kids develop depression and anxiety
Difficulty in communication with parents also come as no surprise .
Simply because parents in HK are working too much.
At time they are home they don’t have energy to BE PRESENT with the kids .
( many time this is also due to unhealthy lifestyle, stress, bad nutrition and lack of physical activity ).
Although DH in Hong Kong are a blessing and are helpful in taking care of the kids, they are not a substation to parents education , communication and influence .
So kids find themselves between the ‘ sledge and the hammer ‘ in a sense .
From one side they there is the pressure of the education system.
and on the other they don’t have the parenting guidance and input that a present parent should have on their kids .
That exactly what lead to depression , escape to a drug/alcohol abusive ‘friends’ groups , lack of discipline, entitlement and much more issues .
And obviously the later you catch it and address it – the harder it is to change ( we all as adults know how hard is to change ) .
So what can improve the situation ?
Strategies to prevent depression and anxiety in kids
1. Parents Self Care
Many times parents neglect their own well being because they feel it takes out from their family time.
The problem with that is if you don’t take care of your well-being there is 0 chance you can be FULLY PRESENT with your family when you do get the time .
you just crash and want time to rest .
Make sure to have conversations with the kids about what’s going on in their life / school and let them tell you everything they got .
I know that sometime they have too much to say ( I have a 7 YO that can’t stop talking ) – but it is much better to voice things out and get them out of your head then keep them locked and getting some uncontrolled weird thoughts generated. ( Valid for both kids and adults by the way ).
3. Kids Activity and Fitness
Keep the kids active AT LEAST 60 minutes EVERY DAY !
First of all because kids are kids and they have to play as part of their development in general.
Second : moving helps with regulating the hormonal system and help to distress as well as burn energy.
4. Engage in Physical Discipline
Many times I have discussed the benefits of martial arts practice .
Not only because of the practical self defence aspect but the discipline it builds :
Adherence , respect , partnership , overcoming challenges , building character , deal with uncomfort , break boundaries and much more .
So practicing ANY kind of discipline will build stronger character of the kids .
One of the things we are mistaken as parents is that we think kids do what we tell or force them to do.In fact – kids do what you we and not what you say .
Hence if for example a parent forces the kid to exercise and is not doing it himself – there is very slim chance it will actually work .
So if you want your kids do something – you have to be willing to do it yourself and be a role model.
How we can help ?
One of my goals when I have decided to open the fitness studio here in HK and open so many disciplines of martial arts is to give kids and parents a space where both can build themselves and overcome the stressing life challenges we are all dealing with day in and day out and have a positive impact on their well being.
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