New Study Says Exercise Helps Teens’ Self Esteem
Researchers in Ottawa, Canada have established that even moderate amounts of exercise can significantly improve the mental well-being of overweight teens, in the absence of minimal or no weight loss.
In the study, teen participants ages 14 – 17 used a stationary bike for 60 minutes, twice a week for ten weeks. The teens used the bike in a lab, with one-on-one supervision. Researchers noted minimal weight loss, but did observe improvements in aerobic fitness and academic performance, as well as a boost in the teen participants self esteem. Since previous studies looked at the impact of significant weight loss and its psychological benefits, this study suggests that even a moderate exercise effort with no weight loss can yield significant physical and mental health benefits. No one is suggesting that you should throw away the scale, but small habit commitments can translate into measurable health benefits. When it comes to teens, experts are challenged to find accessible habit changes that provide a clear health payoff. Health experts typically recommend much more than two hours per week of exercise, for this age group. That specific formula can be a turn-off for this age group. Showing a teen that just 120 minutes of exercise a week can improve their school performance, mental health and aerobic fitness, may lure them into doing more physical activity.