Recreational Exercise & Mental Health in Adolescents & Young Adults

Recreational Exercise & Mental Health in Adolescents & Young Adults

A new study found that adolescents and young adults who increase exercise participation over time to even moderate levels (i.e., once weekly or more) experience health and mental health advantages compared to those who are consistently inactive or whose participation decreases over time.

The study was published in PLOS ONE (2024) and used data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth (LSAY), a population-representative cohort study of Young People followed from age 15 to 25.

The study found that at age 25, daily exercisers reported better general health relative to others.

Those who exercised once a week had better general health and reduced rates of psychological distress, were happier with life and were more optimistic for the future relative to participants exercising less than weekly. 

We believe these results indicate that promoting recreational exercise among youths is necessary for promoting both their mental and physical health.

Adding an exercise promotion aspect to substance use prevention and intervention programs and strategies would likely strengthen their effects on youth health and wellness. 

View the entire study:

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