Putting Stress and Anxiety on the Move

We all remember how much pressure comes with being a teenager. The teen years presents itself as a period of developing self-identity and a greater sense of independence. It can be extremely difficult to juggle this with maintaining a social life and meeting academic standards. As parents, all we want is to be able to hit the “off” button on our child’s stress and anxiety. But that is not an option.

However, there is an option that is proven to greatly reduce stress and anxiety in teens and it starts with standing up. Researchers have found that students experience less stress when they are on their feet and moving. Getting your teen up and motivated may be the hardest part, but changing their everyday behavior can benefit them in the long-run.

Running in circles with stress and anxiety

Most teens understand the benefits of exercise. They also report feeling better emotionally and physically after exercising. However, exercising is an issue when stress is thrown into the mix. Stress can be the exact reason that teens skip exercise.

When stress affects the brain the rest of the body feels the impact too. Simply put, if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produces endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Exercising can also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

Finding the motivation to move

I said it once and I’ll say it again. Getting up can be the hardest part. Sometimes it takes a little extra push to get moving for better mental health. Here are some tips for motivating your teen to exercise to alleviate effects of stress and anxiety:

Tip 1: Build Slowly
If your teen isn’t used to exercising, start with small steps. A 10-minute walk every day after school is a good starting point. Set small goals and work towards increasing exercise time. Seeing the minutes add up can help boost their motivation.

Tip 2: Make Screen Time Count
Teens love screens. You should work together to reach a compromise on screen time. Getting away from the tv or social media is a great time to get in some exercise and get away from social pressures.

Tip 3: Make Workouts Enjoyable
You will find a positive response to the workouts when your teen finds enjoyment in them. Don’t push something upon them that is going to overwhelm them. Playoff of their likes and dislikes. If they love the outdoors, suggest bicycling, or getting involved in outdoor clubs. If your teen loves dancing, look into Zumba classes or lessons at a local studio. There are plenty of resources out there. Remember the activity does not have to be intensely rigorous, anything that is off of the couch is a great start.

Tip 5: Encourage Participation in Sports
If your teen has shown interest in playing a sport or has a passion for a certain game, act on it. Sports are a great way for them to build a healthy community and interact with others who share similar interests. And clearly, sports are a form of exercise. So it’s a win-win.

Asheville Academy can help

Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 10-14 who struggle with learning, behavioral, and emotional diagnoses. This program is social/emotional, and academically focused in order to empower girls to move forward and transition smoothly back into the home and school life. Students gain a greater sense of confidence, and ability to manage emotions and communicate effectively.

Learn more about our program by calling 800-264-8709.

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