The Psychology of Exercise in Teenagers
Those teenagers who participate in sports spend more of their leisure time exercising or engaging in more vigorous activities, have better physical health-related outcomes with higher cardiovascular fitness, healthy cholesterol and stronger bones. Teenagers who exercise have lower levels of stress, depression and anxiety. The mental health benefits can be seen right across the board, not just reducing clinical mental health symptoms but positively improving emotional wellbeing, energy levels, mood and happiness. Extreme levels can prompt muscle dysmorphia where teenagers’ dedication to building muscle from this socio-cultural pressure to be muscular interferes with their physical health and socio-emotional functioning. Developing specific programmes to engage teenagers can be effective, and successful ones have prompted healthier lifestyles and lower rates of obesity. Empowerment-based designs can be employed with teenagers. These interventions focus more on a teenager’s strengths and capabilities than on their weaknesses. Research is starting to emerge around the use of technology and apps in exercise psychology.