Children who exercise regularly tend to be less angry
Studies have shown that overweight kids tend to be bullies or be bullied. And why do bullies push other kids around? Most likely because they are angry. A new study says that regular exercise may help reduce anger in healthy, overweight children.
For this study, 208 children ages 7 to 11 years old participated in an after-school exercise program. The program was 10-15 weeks long and included children that usually engaged in little activity.
The Pediatric Anger Expression Scale, used to measure expressions of anger, was given to the children before and after the after-school program.
“Exercise had a significant impact on anger expression in children,” said Dr. Catherine Davis, clinical health psychologist in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. “This finding indicates that aerobic exercise may be an effective strategy to help overweight kids reduce anger expression and aggressive behavior.”
While it’s known that exercise often lifts people’s spirits, this study also shows that parents should keep kids moving, which may also keep them from being bullies or bullied by others.
“I think it’s reasonable to encourage children to exercise for a lot of good reasons,” said Dr. Davis. “I think if teachers could see that exercise helps kids control their behavior and get along, they would be the top proponents of physical activity for kids.”
While all children lost weight in the study, they were still considered overweight once the program was over. Dr. Davis is currently conducting other studies that will determine whether it was the exercise or the participation in an after-school program that made the difference in the child’s overall attitude.