Exercise is just as important for teens and kids as it is for adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is a great way for teens to stay healthy and process the stresses that come with a changing body. Peer pressure is a real challenge for kids, however, and some teens might feel pressured to exercise too much in an effort to look buff and improve self-esteem. When it comes to exercise, teens can benefit greatly from direction and supervision to make sure they don’t overdo it.
Recommended Exercise for Teens
It is ideal for teens to get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. Teens can sometimes get exercise while at school, but after-school activities are a great way to make sure they are getting enough physical activity. This pattern doesn’t need to stop once they get home, however. Lots of hobbies are very healthy, such as in-line skating, riding bicycles, and skateboarding. The easiest way to get your teen enough exercise is to encourage them in interests that keep them active.
The example teens receive at home plays a large role in their development of healthy habits. If you are the parent or guardian of teens, whether you live an active lifestyle or not affects their perception of what is normal adult behavior. The nutrition your teen gets is also very important for his or her development. A balanced diet will not only give them the energy to stay healthy, but proper nutrition is essential to protect their body from injury if they do partake in strenuous exercise.
Another way to encourage teens toward healthy habits is to remind them that everything has a proper balance when it comes to health, and that extremes are not often the best approach. For instance, weight is often a cultural signifier of whether someone is healthy or not. But this indicator does not always take into account different body types or genetics. Rather than focusing on less important markers such as weight, it can be more beneficial to encourage teens toward healthy habits; habits they are likely to carry into adulthood with them.
Can Teens Strength Train Safely?
Young bodies are surprisingly spry and can undergo a good deal of strenuous activity. This includes strength training, which many young athletes undergo to become bigger, faster and stronger. Resistance training can be safe for teens, but it is important for them to have proper supervision since improper form can lead to injury. When done properly, resistance training can actually be very healthy for teens because it increases metabolism in growing bodies.
As with other areas of health, it is important for teens undergoing strength training to have a “slow and steady” mindset that embraces realistic goals. It is not realistic for a teen to think he can bench press 200 pounds on the first go, or to have huge muscles after just one week of working out. Going slow and steady with strength training prepares a body to take on more mass in a way that is normal and healthy. Starting with realistic goals also teaches a teen to rely on proper form and technique which will help them take on more difficult exercise challenges down the line.
As with fully grown adults, certain activities are not recommended for teens with high blood pressure, seizure disorders or other serious medical concerns. Strength training is one such activity. This is one reason why it is important for a teen who wants to try out for sports first undergoes a thorough medical examination. A medical professional can easily tell whether a teen is ready for the challenges of a team sport or not.
There are reasons to take exercise seriously when it comes to teens, but that doesn’t mean exercise can’t be fun. One of the best ways to encourage your teen to live a healthy lifestyle is to support the healthy activities they already do. Rather than waking them up at 5am to hit the gym before school, it might be better to let them do an after-school activity in which they can get exercise and make friends. Let them establish good habits that will benefit them for the rest of their life.