Why exercise can boost young minds

Exercise physiologist Cindy Chung helps children to manage strong emotions.

For more than 40 years Westmead Hospital’s Redbank House has been at the forefront of specialist treatment for children and teenagers experiencing severe, complex and treatment resistant mental health issues.

Managing strong emotions or anger is just one of the techniques children learn to help them regain control, prevent self-harm or stop them from hurting others.

And that’s where Redbank’s exercise physiologist, Cindy Chung comes in.

During a recent visit to Redbank Westmead Medical Research Foundation head of development Joe Conneely had the opportunity to meet Cindy and see the important work she is doing.

Cindy has experience in the assessment, design, and delivery of exercise and behaviour change interventions.

“Our exercise program stimulates endorphins and serotonin that improve the mood, as well as the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning,” Cindy said.

Her individually designed exercise programs make a valuable contribution to each child’s recovery.

Research shows that exercise has many short and long-term benefits, not only for the children’s physical health but also their mental health.

Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, assist with recovery from mental health issues and boost the immune system.

The ongoing generosity of donors such as Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation has been crucial for Redbank, which has received support in the form of exercise and music equipment.

More recently, Redbank has used this support to also fund the exercise physiologist position.

If you would like to support the work of Redbank or any other area of Westmead Hospital, please contact Westmead Medical Research Foundation on 1800 639 037 or visit wmrf.org.au.