De-Stress Kids With Exercise!

Exercise helps nervous kids calm down.

De-Stress Kids With Exercise!

Exercise helps nervous kids calm down.

-Jane Farrell

kids walking to school

When it comes to exercise, walking seems like an exercise for adults only. But researchers have found that kids who took a simulated walk to school had lower blood pressure and stress levels than those who didn’t.

The study, published in the Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, focused on boys and girls age 10-14. Half of the kids sat in a chair and watched a slideshow of suburban scenes, ending in a picture of a school. The other half walked for a mile on a treadmill carrying a backpack that was 10 percent of their body weight. While they walked, they saw the same images as the other group.

After a rest period, the two groups took a simple test. On average, according to the website, which reported the results, kids who didn’t “walk” showed an increase of 11 beats per minute in their heartbeat, while kids who did the exercise showed an increase of 3 beats (lower is better). The rise in systolic blood pressure was about three times as high for the kids who were in the chairs, and the change in “perceived stress” was about twice as high.

Read How To Play—Really Play—With Your Kids

Changes in blood pressure and heart rates as a result of stress are linked with the beginnings of heart disease in children.

Because it’s not known how long the positive effect of walking or biking to school will last, kids should have chances for “active play” during the day. James Roemmich, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Buffalo, said the increased exercise provides benefits beyond health.

Roemmich, the study’s senior investigator, told LiveScience, “This [exercise] would put them in a constantly protective state against stressors that they’re incurring during the school day, whether that be taking an exam, trying to fit in with peers or speaking in front of classmates.” (LiveScience)

Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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