When your children were little, it may have seemed as if they were always active, running around and playing outside. As they move from childhood to adolescence, it’s not unusual for them to slow down and stop living such an active lifestyle. While this change is normal, it is still important that teenagers get a certain amount of exercise each day, but how much is too much or too little? How much exercise should a teenager do?
While teenagers generally do less exercise than children, they actually need a similar amount. For optimal development, teenagers should be getting a full hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day involving mainly aerobic activities that increase their heart rate. This may seem like a lot, especially if your teen is barely doing any exercise at the moment, but this doesn’t mean they have to work out for a solid hour every day.
The 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity can be separated into multiple small bursts of activity that add up to 60 minutes (or longer). Shooting hoops, playing half-court basketball, or kicking the ball around at lunchtime all counts!
Some form of exercise involving resistance training is also really important for the development of a teenager’s body. Read more about that here.
Other lower intensity activity like walking to and from school or the bus is an added bonus.
Here are some ideas to get your teen moving.
The easiest way to sneak in some more movement throughout the day is to have your teen walk or ride their bike to school. If your teenager currently has no activity in their life, even this small amount of exercise can make a big difference. Not only is it great for their overall cardiovascular health, but it also means they prepare for their school day with some gentle exercise, helping them focus, as well as wind down at the end of the day.
Teenage years are crucial for healthy development. During this time it’s important that your teen is doing some sort of exercise that will build strong muscles and bones. Learning and participating in functional movement at a gym designed for youth can be a great option for this. It will not only build their strength now but will build healthy habits for their future. Sign up here for a free trial at Fitter Futures.
Joining a sport at school or on the weekend is a great idea for teenagers. Not only does it mean they will be out raising their heart rate every week, but it is also great for social development. If your teen doesn’t have any interest in the usual team sports, encourage them to try something a little different like martial arts or rock climbing until they find something they like. Variety is important too, so encourage your teenager to try a variety of sports and activities, rather than playing the same sport year-round.
As well as doing less exercise, teenagers also tend to spend less time with their families than they did when they were young. This is a normal part of growing up, but just like exercise, family time is still important. Combine the two by going on weekly family adventures, such as hikes or trips to the beach. This not only encourages and sets the example of a healthy lifestyle for your kids but gives you precious bonding time with them before they grow up.
With school, before and after school activities, and casual jobs, it can seem like your teenager just doesn’t have enough time in the day to exercise. A solution to this problem is to encourage an active after school job. While it isn’t vigorous exercise, jobs such as hospitality and cleaning means that they will at least be on their feet for a few hours, getting in some movement time.
Though 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day may seem daunting, it can be made much easier when broken down into manageable chunks. The most important thing to do is keep encouraging your teenager to move and try new physical activities until they find something that they really love! For more helpful information, check out our blog.
If you’re wanting to help your child increase their self-esteem, build their confidence, work on having a positive body image and be surrounded by amazing kids and awesome coaches, sign up for a free trial at Australia’s leading functional fitness gym for kids, teens and parents by sign up HERE.