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Children and teenagers, like adults may be experiencing a lot of change at this particular time, which may be having a big impact on their lives. School, life and family can all be contributing factors to increasing stress amongst our young adult population and now all of this is more than likely to be happening under one roof. Which is why it is important we are giving our young adults the stress management tools they need in order to cope with the added pressures and to support their health and well-being right now.
Parents have a tough job balancing their own health and well-being along with their children's on an average day, let alone during a time of uncertainty. So it is very natural to feel upset and unsure about what to do for your children and other loved ones at this particular time.
Stress is the body's reaction to feeling under pressure or threatened. Stress is common and can quite often motivate a person to achieve something in their daily life or to meet demands of work, home and family life. However too much stress can start to affect people's mood, relationships and much more. High levels of stress over a prolonged period can be dangerous to all which is why it is important for everyone to learn effective coping strategies as well as finding the activities and relaxation methods you enjoy to reduce stress.
Effects of stress in the short term have been reported as; muscle and tension pain/headaches, chest pain, abdominal pain, fatigue and aggression. Understanding signs of symptoms of stress can allow you to put some coping strategies in place for your children and maybe the entire household. The more long term effects of stress are recorded as; withdrawal, anxiety, depression, physical illness and poor coping skills (alcohol/drug abuse).
There are plenty of useful books, charities and studies out there to help parents support their young adults during stressful times. Some great resources for parents at this particular time are; Mind.org.uk, NHS: Every Mind Matters and Hey Sigmund. At MVP we specialise in exercise, which is why we want to share with you the importance of staying active for not only your children/young adults but yourselves too.
Benefits of Exercise:
Exercise in almost any form is a key factor to
reducing stress - Endorphins are the key hormone that are released during exercise and other physical activities. The natural 'high' that people get after a good hard workout is from the release of these endorphins. The word endorphin comes from putting together the words “endogenous,” meaning from within the body, and “morphine,” which is an opiate pain reliever. In other words, endorphins got their name because they are natural pain relievers.
Endorphins are among the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. They can be found in the pituitary gland, in other parts of the brain, or distributed throughout the nervous system. Since endorphins act on the opiate receptors in our brains, they reduce pain and boost pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. Endorphins are released in response to pain or stress, but they’re also released during other activities, like eating or exercise.
As Exercise is a natural producer of endorphins there are many positive associations between exercise and improving mental well-being. Endorphin deficiency is not well understood but studies have shown that if your body does not produce enough endorphins you may experience; trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, aches and pains, moodiness and impulse behaviour. This highlights the positive effects exercise can have not only for your young adults but for your entire family right now.
Ways to approach exercise in lockdown:
Family Fun; Plenty of fun can be had involving physical exercise. If you are lucky enough to have a garden then family obstacle courses are always full of fun, this of course can be done inside too. Chalk to create hopscotch, snakes and ladders and other activities that sometimes you see on school playgrounds. We are seeing a lot more families going on family bike rides, walks and running trips together which is fantastic, but you should plan the most appropriate time to go to avoid being in close proximity to others. A great tool to keep up family fun physical activity could be to create a rota that gives each family member a go at deciding the family fun activity of the day. This may mean that you have to be willing to agree to the water gun fight in the garden, or join in in the family disco in the garden. Remember exercise in almost any form is a key factor to reducing stress.
Micro Exercise Sessions; Having mini exercise sessions throughout the day can be a great way to keep up productivity for both children with their school work and adults working from home. Especially as these both may involve lengthy times of sitting in one position. Organising 10-15 minutes exercise/movement times throughout the day can help people to re-energise and return to their work more focused. Micro-dosing exercise can also be done in people's leisure time, TV ad breaks are the perfect time for the family to get up and move/complete some stretches. You could also encourage your children to micro dose some movement sessions in to their gaming time or when they may be watching episode after episode of their new favourite netflix show - 3-5 minutes of stretching after sitting in the same position for 1 hour can be beneficial for both the body and mind. We at MVP post great movement/exercise routines via social media, and blogs so keep an eye out. Some ideas could be jumping jacks, floor stretches or following a short exercise instructional video.
Yoga; There are plenty of yoga videos you can follow, which can bring a sense of calm to yours and your children's day. People have preferred times of doing yoga, and your child may choose a different time to you. But encouraging an activity such as this is a great way for them to learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, as well as being physically active.
Individual Sessions; We are all in lock down together which is why sometimes it is important to have time apart. If your child wants to follow a separate exercise path to you some days of the week then this is perfectly okay. Remember the effect that exercise is having on them and parents can even take this time to focus on themselves. If you are looking for safe exercise videos/apps for your children to use then MVP have the perfect one for you. We have made available our training app that we use for our young adults nationwide and have workouts to suit all ages and abilities. So whether you or your children have no exercise equipment or some exercise equipment follow the link below to see what training program of ours we recommend for you.
Remember that any form of physical exercise is a key factor in reducing stress, so next time you see your children running wildly around your house using your cushions to play 'the floor is lava' try to remember the goodness that is coming out of it!
Disclaimer: Remember to work out responsibly in these uncertain times, cleaning equipment/shared living spaces before and after exercise is important as well as listening to the what your body is telling you. Exercise can be an effective way to boost the immune system but over-training can have some negative effects. Therefore if you are uncertain about what you or a certain member of your family should be doing please seek advice from medical practitioners. As exercise advice may be bottom of a medical personnel's list at the moment right now, maybe take it easy until you are used to the movements and rest if you need too.