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Physical activity

Physical activity can help reduce anxiety and depression in children

April 2, 2021

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In a recent report by CBS 13 Action News, educational psychologist Reena B. Patel outlined the effect of inactivity on children, under the pressure of pandemic restrictions.

For many children, in-person learning with the host of teachers and social opportunities has been swapped for at-home screen-based learning, with very little opportunity for getting active. She added:

“Doing something that increases their heart rate, gets them really active and that they’re really motivated to do, could be as simple as going for a run, playing basketball, or even something as simple as Simon Says.”

For many parents, studies have simply corroborated the behaviours they had seen in their children during restrictions. Most commonly they were feelings of anxiety, depression and bouts of anger after being away from friends and active learning.

Physical activity, especially for children, has incredible benefits according to Reena Patel, for their cognitive, motor and psychological wellbeing and development.

The question is, how do we help children with their wellbeing and their physical activity in a safe and structured way?

Activities providers are therefore in a unique position to create engaging active environments for children, with schemes of work similarly dedicated to the four main areas that Reena Patel stresses:

  • To think of movement and motion as a pathway to helping children focus better in class
  • To create the types of simple routines with activities children love and are motivated to do
  • To keep children safe in small groups or bubbles where they can interact and play sport
  • To create a healthy outlet for children to exercise and learn sportsmanship in their own naturally active way


Echoing the recent sentiment of BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, he stressed that sport could teach children about winning, losing and getting on with people, something they will sorely need in later life.

See here for more on protecting children’s wellbeing through activity.

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