New study shows after school activities have mood altering benefits

CSRA News

After school activities prove to have mood altering benefits, helping kids in the long run.

A new study performed by MCG found that behavioral activities improve moods just as much as exercise.

Happy, sad, angry, or peaceful. Different moods can be the result of different actions.

Professor with MCG, Catherine Davis, wondered what types of activity stimulates these moods.

“Is it the exercise? Is it physical movement? Or is it being in a program that seems to improve mood?,” says Davis.

They studied 8-11 year olds who are above the normal average weight.

“Obese children and overweight children are likely to benefit more from an exercise intervention,” says Davis.

Kids were put in two after school programs: an inactive group based on social interaction, and an active group based on interactive excercise.

Research Associate, Celestine Williams, says, “both programs improved mood and quality of life factors.”

Williams tested these groups with questionnaires and eye tracking devices. She noticed a difference in results between genders.

“Boys in the sedentary group, they improved more in the depression scores. The boys in the exercise group actually reduced what we call anger control. Girls improved the same in both groups,” says Williams.

Even though both activities enhanced moods, physically, the exercise group had added benefits.

“The amount of fat children had in their bodies was reduced. Their aerobic fitness, an aspect of health, was better in the exercise group, and we saw some changes in their brain structure, as a matter of fact, where the children in the exercise group showed somewhat better white matter integrity,” says Davis.

Physical or not, it is the structure behind the program that is the driving force to success.

“They get social benefits. They get to feel better about themselves because they get to see people that they normally wouldn’t see in their daily lives,” says Williams.

Around 175 kids performed in this study and it took around 8 months.

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