Big Idea: Exercise should not be underrated as a tool for your mental wellbeing.
The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a video interview of a psychologist about the importance of muscles in mental health. She said that when you contract your skeletal muscles (the ones you can control), they release a ‘hope molecule’ that increases your sense of wellbeing.
I then listened to the whole episode of The Model Health Show and am now ready to go down the rabbit hole of the effects of exercise on mental health and how modern adults and kids are too sedentary, and this lack of movement is the ultimate physiological cause of the spike in mental health issues.
One guest (Dr. Kelly McGonigal) said that there are two equally effective treatments to amp up the reward system in your brain: going for a walk and surgically implanting an electrode in your brain. Which would you rather do?
Being the skeptic that’s often preaching about looking at both sides of an argument, I tried googling various permutations of “Negative effects of exercise on mental health.” The only thing it could come up with is that exercise can sometimes be addictive and people can go overboard.
This week, try this: There doesn’t seem to be a consensus about how much exercise is enough, although there are several big studies that mention 10,000 steps daily which is I guess why FitBit keeps me stepping toward that goal each day. Maybe start by following another article today that mentioned 11 minutes per day.
Quote: "Exercise can not only ward off the ill effects of chronic stress, it can also reverse them." ~John J. Ratey, MD
Educator Resource: Indoor Games - There are 21 games ‘for youth and teens’ on this website that features some classics like Knots and Simon Says as well as some I’d others, like Messenger (get ready for a mess!).
Dad Joke: Why did the chicken go to the gym? To work on his pecks.
It's March. Get out and march!
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SEL Coach Matt Weld creates and delivers in-person and online SEL-related content.