Make Your Move | Benefits of Being Active for Young People

Make Your Move | Benefits of Being Active for Young People

Make your move blog

Mental health is a top priority for young people in Leeds. More than 80,000 children and young people contributed to creating the Child Friendly Leeds 12 wishes – and mental health came first on their list.

It’s no wonder. Children’s happiness levels have been falling for more than 10 years, according to research by the Children’s Society. The My Health, My School survey in Leeds shows that anxiety levels have been steadily increasing too. The Covid-19 pandemic made this worse, with a 50% increase in referrals to mental health support through the MindMate Single Point of Access service in 2020.

A group of young people in Leeds wanted to share the joy they’ve found from being active, and tell others about the mental health benefits, so they created the Make Your Move campaign.

Young people making a difference in Leeds with public health child friendly leeds campaign

When children and young people develop mental health problems, support is needed. But did you know that one of the most powerful ways you can support your mental wellbeing is by moving your body more?

Children and young people who are active are less likely to develop depression in the first place. Studies also show that exercise can help to reduce symptoms of depression in children and young people. The reasons for this will be different depending on each person, but some key benefits include:

  • improved sleep,
  • feeling better about your body and yourself,
  • getting a feel-good high from the exercise hormones,
  • connecting with other people,
  • focusing on something that takes your mind off your worries,

…and just the sheer pleasure of doing something you really enjoy.

The young people have also helped to create a page on the MindMate website which focuses on ways to get active in Leeds: Get moving – MindMate

Aged between 11-21, the young people created 19 videos to share on social media: Make Your Move – YouTube

‘Whenever I have problems with my mental health, what helps me is playing basketball. It’s increased my confidence and self-esteem.’

Lem, 14, plays basketball with Let’s Do More CIC

Tian, 17, has discovered a boogie in her bedroom is the best way to refocus her mind when revising for exams.

Dancing is what makes others tick – like Maisha, 12, who loves Bollywood dancing.

Aya, 13, who says: ‘Dancing makes me feel free.’

Dolly, 11, and Liliana, 12, became friends through roller-skating, which gives them both a sense of community.

‘I like to skate when I feel sad, angry, or any emotion,’

Liam, 18, skateboarding is a way to express emotions, both positive and negative.

Don’t forget to have a look at this fantastic page created by young people on the MindMate website which focuses on ways to get active in Leeds: Get moving – MindMate

If you’re looking for something to do that’s free or low cost and will give you a warm welcome if you feel low, anxious or unconfident, this is the right place to start.

So go on, make your move!


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