Exercise has been shown to be important for mental health. One possible explanation for this is the “self-image hypothesis,” that exercise leads to positive feedback from peers, which improves self image and therefore mental health. Another explanation is the “social interaction hypothesis” referring to the social aspects of physical activity, such as friendships made on a sports team, which can improve happiness, and in turn improve mental health. When adolescents are physically inactive, they have been shown to experience more social problems, both internally and externally. Active teens on the other hand are happier, and have better overall mental health. Both hypotheses as to why this may be have substantial supporting evidence.
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