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Time for a Teen Fitness Regime

2 weeks ago / by Jassimrat Kaur Bhatia

The correct exercise practices can help ensure a long, healthy, happy life

A teenager exercising
A teenager exercising. Shutterstock

Keeping fit, both mentally and physically, is imperative for teenagers. 

Remote school, food delivery services, and screen-time pastimes can dramatically reduce the time we spend on our feet, leading to less exercise, and more stress that reduces mental productivity and upsets emotional balance.

So getting up and moving is a critical part of staying healthy. Developing healthy habits in the impressionable teen years leads to greater health and satisfaction in the short term. It also sets up habits that can lead into adulthood.

Why Exercise?

The CDC says regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve their cardio and respiratory fitness significantly. This lets them build strong bones and muscles, maintain weight loss and gain, and reduce the risk of developing deadly health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. 

Staying fit also tremendously benefits one’s mental health. Improved self-esteem is a key benefit of regular physical activity. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, which reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger positive feelings, similar to that of morphine, the symptoms of which they mimic. According to medical writer Dr Debra Fulghum Bruce, regular exercise can ward off anxiety and depression, improve sleep and reduce stress.

How Much Exercise?

According to the Department of Health Services, children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 need to be active, doing moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes every day. It is important, though, to avoid too much exercise. Overexerting yourself can lead to disturbed sleep, high hormonal fluctuations leading to mood swings and irritability, vulnerability to injury, soreness, excessive fatigue, and possible irregularity of the menstrual cycle. It can also take a toll on your mental health. There can be more symptoms of anxiety and depression, isolation, stress surrounding the need to work out. Excessive focus on the body can lead to disordered eating and a compulsion to burn excessive calories.

What to Do?

Start easy, first practicing some of these activities for 30 to 45 minutes daily: pleasure walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and home mat exercises. Physical activities that are continuous cause the heart rate and breathing rate to increase and build up a teen’s capacity for exercise. Such activities may include brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, regular outdoor sports and jumping rope. Overall, it is important to have a wholesome plan that includes equal parts of cardio, strength, and mobility work. Teenagers can gain from weight and agility training. However, exercise should also focus on the mental aspects. Practicing things mindfully — such as with yoga, breathing exercises and meditation — to help reduce stress and anxiety. It allows your body to be calmer. This is increasingly relevant for those restless teenagers who are always looking to the next big thing.

Exercise in a Busy Schedule

Today’s teenagers are not kids that spend their time compulsively playing. Rather, they are young adults with goals and schedules. What’s important is finding time to keep oneself healthy and fit.

Here are a few quick tips that may help to inculcate fitness in the day-to-day of a bustling teen:

  • Take a quick screen break every hour for 10 minutes: Studies suggest that an average attention span is between 30 and 35 minutes. So a 10-minute break after a maximum of 45 to 60 minutes is a must. During it, you can shut off your screen, take a walk, stretch a little and maybe do some jumping jacks.
  • An empty water bottle is a sign to get up: The water running out is a signal for you to get up and fill up the bottle. This lets you move your body and hydrate yourself. Try using the filled bottle as a weight, and do 10 to 15 reps of it with each hand.
  • Take a 20-minute walk after consuming a meal. This will aid your digestive system in moving faster and breaking down foods and juices more easily.
  • No taking calls sitting down. Immediately get up to receive them. This will make sure your body is moving.
  • Do 5 burpees after every email sent. It helps you get in that necessary cardio.

Your body will function only as much as you will allow it to. Keeping fit, physically and mentally, could help you to lead a long, healthy and happy life.