Manage Your Child's Training

Encourage your kids - Read some helpful research compiled by Sanitarium's Nutritionist Anja Sussmann.

There are many reasons to be active and to encourage your kids to participate in physical activities:

  • Adolescence is a critical time during development when social, emotional, and physical factors tend to influence perceptions of the physical self (1).
  • It is well established that physical activity has many health benefits, from improving muscle and bone strength to cardiovascular health, to name just a few examples. Apart from physical benefits, exercise has also been shown to have numerous positive effects on mental, social and academic performance in children and adolescents (2) (3).
  • Not only may exercise improve or maintain fitness and body shape and weight, and thus be beneficial for self-esteem and self-image (4), it has also been shown to improve self-esteem independent of weight loss.
  • Furthermore, physical exercise enhances emotional wellbeing in children (5), and can promote motivation and teach life skills that are helpful even beyond sport (6). Research also indicates that good self-esteem is a predictor of physical health (7) and it is also a well-accepted measure of psychosocial health in youth (8).
  • Moreover, self-esteem has reliably been shown to predispose to, or buffer against, the development of numerous psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders (9).
  • Thus, physical exercise can directly as well as indirectly, by promoting a healthy self-esteem, help improve a child’s resilience against physical and mental conditions.

Compiled by Anja Sussmann, BSc
(Human Physiology, Psychology, Genetics), Master in Nutrition and Dietetics, Accredited Practicing Dietitian
(APD), Accredited Nutritionist (AN).

So encourage your kids to have some fun swimming, riding and running in the lead up to the event. They will become fitter and stronger. Enjoy the local parklands and swimming venues with them. If you enjoy swimming riding or running encourage your kids to go with you. And perhaps you could help them organise some swimming, riding and running outings with their friends. They will really enjoy the out of doors too!

Find out how to get your child started with their TRYTRAINER Programme.

1. Harter, S. (1999). The construction of the self: A developmental perspective. New York, NY: Guilford.
Article:Coe DP, Pivarnik JM, Womack CJ, Reeves MJ, Malina RM. Effect of physical education and activity levels on academic achievement in children. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006; 38(8):1515-9.
3. Gary S. Goldfield, PhD et al. Effects of Modifying Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior on Psychosocial Adjustment in Overweight/Obese Children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2007;
32(7):783-793. © 2007 Oxford University Press
4. Kirkcaldy BD, Shephard RJ, Siefen RG. The relationship between physical activity and self-image and problem behaviour among adolescents. International Center for the Study of Occupational and
Mental Health, Haydnstrasse 61, 40593 Duesseldorf, Germany. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2002 Nov;37(11):544-50.
5. Fox KR. The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, UK. Public Health Nutr. 1999 Sep;2(3A):411-8.
6. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (USA). [accessed 20/9/2010]
7. Rhee H, Holditch-Davis D, Miles MS. Patterns of physical symptoms and relationships with psychosocial factors in adolescents. Psychosomatic Medicine 2005; 67:1006-1012
8. Rotenberg KJ, McDougall P, Boulton MJ, Vaillancourt T, Fox C, Hymel S. Cross-sectional and longitudinal relations among peer-reported trustworthiness, social relationships, and psychological
adjustment in children and early adolescents from the United Kingdom and Canada. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 2004; 88:46-67
9. Fairburn CG, Welch SL, Doll HA, Davies BA, O’Connor ME. Risk factors for bulimia nervosa. A community-based case-control study. Archives of General Psychiatry (1997) 54:509–517.