Effects of Physical Activity on Children's Psycho-social function

Children need regular physical activities to improve their overall health.

Regular physical activity doesn’t only promote physical health, but also promotes

psycho-social health that impacts a child’s ability to learn.


Physical activity that is specially designed to improve psychosocial health impacts

cognitive performance, self-concept, social behaviors, and more

importantly self-efficacy. Children with established healthy lifestyle patterns

will undoubtedly carry these activities and their benefits for the rest of their lives.

This article will examine the effects of physical activities on a child’s psychological and social function.

Psycho-social aspects of physical activity

Psycho-social aspects refer to the effects of social factors on a person’s mental health and behavior. The Oxford English Dictionary describes “Psycho-social” as the “influence of social factors on an individual’s mind or behavior, and to the interrelation of behavioral and social factors.”

Your psycho-social health includes your social, emotional, spiritual, and mental aspects of what it means to be healthy. Do you know how encouraging it is when you have a workout buddy? Children also need to interact with other children as well. Your friends can help you find the motivation to go to exercise, and you can also make more friends at the gym.

Now picture the opportunity your timid-child can have when he/she goes out to play with their friends. Not only do exercises release those “feel-good” endorphins, but it also expands your child’s mood and their network of friends.

How physical activity can impact your child’s psycho-social functions  

Here are the psychosocial effects of physical activities you probably never knew about!

Improved character development

People who participate in sports competitor tend to show poor behavior towards fair play. This is probably because sporting events place emphasis on winnings rather than developing socially acceptable behaviors.

Notwithstanding, physical activities that aren’t focused on winnings can increase a child’s character development. This has positive impacts on areas such as endurance, persistence, commitment, deeper self-reliance, and motivation. Activities that increase your child’s endurance include:

  • Skiing
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • wall climbing
  • Lacrosse
  • Skateboarding
  • Gymnastics
  • Yoga
  • Basketball, football, hockey, scooter, etc.
  • Playing tag
  • Running
  • Dodgeball
  • Martial arts

Minimizes depression in children and youths

According to a recent survey, there is a general occurrence of mental disorders in Australian children. Roughly one in seven children and young people aged 4-17 years, experience a mental disorder in the past year. This is equivalent to 560,000 Australian children and adolescents.

According to the same report, children with major depressive disorder were 2.8%. Although there is no clear research on how physical activities will improve the effects of depression. However, studies show that there is an associative instead of a causal link regarding the impact of physical activity on children’s psycho-social health.

Research shows that there is an improvement in children with depression when aerobic exercises were applied. Likewise, increased rates of peer acceptance during physical activities can minimize some risk factors for juvenile delinquency due to low experience with positive social prospects and antisocial behaviors.                                                                         

When you’re feeling down there’s nothing like having fun experiences, shared laughs, and friends to lift up your spirit.

We’ve established that our body releases endorphins when we engage in physical activities. These endorphins make us feel happier. Not only does this reduce your child’s depressive tendencies, but it also improves the connections and friendships they build.

Furthermore, it is suggested that when people engage in physical activity, such an engagement is viewed by society as ‘good.’ So, physical activities provide children with a sense of self-control, discipline, and competence which they carry forward into adulthood.

Reduces ADHD and learning disorders

The Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing suggested that children and youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD was the most common mental disorder in Australia (7.4%). Similarly, regular aerobic exercises for over 20 weeks, can result in a growth in physical wellbeing and an improvement in self-esteem.

Research has shown that consistent jogging exercises for more than 10 to 22 weeks can minimize the need for stimulant medication in children and youths with ADHD. The rationale is that when there is an increased motor activity from physical exertion, it replicates the stimulating effects of medication.

Although not every child can be an “expert” in all movement skills. Young kids who do not obtain the essential motor skills will probably find it difficult to switch their movement repertory into certain contexts and participation in physical activity.

Therefore, a full movement repertory is required to participate in physical activities both outside and inside the school setting. It is essential to implement comprehensive physical activities that teach children about the basic central motor skills and their application to sports, games, and other physical activities, particularly during their early childhood.

Helps children with autism  

Physical activities do not only help children lose weight, but it can help improve the health of children with autism. Studies indicate that when children with autism engage in over 20 minutes of physical activities, it reduces stereotypical behaviors, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity.

Moreover, there’s a reduction in self-stimulating behavior when autistic children between 5 to 6 years old, participate in vigorous aerobic exercises for at least 5 to 8 minutes regularly. Regular exercises also help autistic children engage more with their environment.

Asides aerobic activities, full-body physical activities are good for children with autism because it improves their endurance, increases body awareness, coordination, and strength.

Increases academic performance

Studies have shown that physical activities can improve a child’s academic performance. Physical activities can improve a child’s cognitive skills and academic behavior, which are all essential factors for improved academic performance.

A child that participates in regular physical activities would benefit from improved concentration and attention and enhanced classroom behavior. Children who are more physically active tend to have better school attendance, grades, classroom behavior, and improved cognitive performance.

Moreover, physical education classes and physical activity in the classroom can also boost academic performance through improved memory and retention programs.


There is a link between physical activities and psycho-social functions. You need to engage your kids in regular physical activities for the overall improvement of their health. The positive impacts of physical activities go beyond physical fitness. It influences a child’s psychological and social wellbeing throughout their lifetime.

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