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Physical fitness is directly related to mental health

Over the last decade, research has shown a decline in psychological well-being among the teenage population and an increase in cases of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm. Interestingly, a large proportion of depression diagnoses occur during teenage years, and 60-75% of cases diagnosed in adulthood stem from their earlier years.

It is important to know what the signs and symptoms include as many may attribute their low mood down to other factors. Depression often presents in the form of a lack of energy and an increased sedentary lifestyle, which leads to a decreased level of physical fitness. Physical fitness could then be considered an indicator of physical and mental health in adolescents, through both biological and psychosocial mechanisms.

A study researched the interrelationship between physical fitness and mental health. There was a strong link between lower levels of physical fitness and higher levels of depression, and that better physical fitness appears to be related to higher levels of self-esteem in adolescents, and this was especially more prevalent in girls.

The results from the study suggests that the risk of depression in adolescence could be minimised by increasing self-esteem, which in turn could be achieved by improving the physical fitness of this population group.

Henderson, E. 2023. Physical fitness directly related to mental health in Compulsory Secondary Education students.


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