The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least an hour of physical activity a day for teenagers. Between school, part-time jobs, and other extracurricular activities, it becomes very difficult for teens to find time in the day to exercise. In 2013, the CDC conducted a study and found that only 29% of high school students were meeting these exercise recommendations. Creating time and motivation to exercise becomes much easier when one enjoys how they exercise. For example, dancing, playing a sport, or hiking. Teens are also more likely to continue exercise habits into adulthood if they like the way they exercise. Parents can influence teens to make responsible exercise choices by setting a good example and meeting exercise requirements themselves.
Aerobic exercise is exercise that works your heart. It increases the heart and breathing rates, makes your heart stronger, and improves how oxygen is delivered throughout the body. Being aerobically fit improves mood and energy levels and decreases fatigue amount after being active for long amounts of time. Some popular aerobic exercise outlets for teens are soccer, rowing, basketball, tennis, hiking, swimming, dancing, running, and biking. (Reference: https://www.livestrong.com/article/476879-why-is-exercise-important-to-teenagers)
Anaerobic exercise is exercise that is strength training. It increases muscle mass and strengthens muscles such as legs, arms, back and stomach muscles. Strong muscles help to prevent injury and project the body’s joints. When at rest, muscles will use more calories than fat and contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. Some examples of strength training include push ups, sit ups, squats, leg raises, and pull ups. Many people do not enjoys going to a gym and simply using machines or body weight. A lot of aerobic exercises are also beneficial to the body anaerobically. For example, hiking is good aerobically but also strengthens leg muscles. Swimming is also good aerobically but the movements through the water also strengthen muscles all over the body.
Weight Control and Disease Prevention
Exercise helps build lean figures and promotes a healthy body weight because it burns so many extra calories. Having a healthy weight reduces the risk of type II diabetes and high blood pressure which are prevalent issues for Americans down the road. Regular exercise also reduces the risk of stroke, bad cholesterol, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis. Teens often do not think long term and are unable to see how not getting enough exercise will affect them because it is not hurting them in the current moment. Encouraging a change in the mindset of teenagers and starting healthy lifestyle habits is very important.
Many people forget that mental health also has a major impact on the health of someone. Being physically active is linked to the production of endorphins in one’s body. Endorphins are hormones that improve mood. Exercising promotes restful sleep, builds self-esteem, increases self-confidence, and reduces the risk of depression. It also makes thinking clearer and enhances learning. Being more physically active is even linked to better school performance.