Advantages of teenagers practicing sports

As with adults, exercise provides many health benefits for teens, as it increases endurance, strengthens muscles and bones, and improves aerobic fitness.

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Exercise helps young people maintain a healthy weight and sleep better, which are key factors in adolescent growth and development.

Likewise, it helps mental health, releases endorphins – hormones that reduce stress – and reduces the production of stress hormones. It improves the ability to think and remember, which helps them in school and in social situations.

Exercise also reduces the risk of depression and helps teens feel more active and have a positive outlook on life.

One of the greatest benefits of regular exercise for teens is that it creates a healthy habit that lays the foundation for a lifetime of fitness.

Studies have shown that active children and teens become active, healthy adults.

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How much exercise does your teenage son or daughter need?

The Department of Health and Human Services advises children ages 6 and older and teens to exercise at least one hour a day, five or six days a week.

If your son or daughter participates in sports activities, he or she probably already gets enough exercise every day. But if the season is over or you don’t participate in sports, you may need help finding an activity or exercise to do each week.

As part of one hour of exercise daily, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and teens incorporate these types of activities at least three days a week:

  • Aerobic exercises. Activities such as running, cycling, swimming, dancing, aerobics classes, using an elliptical trainer, and walking.
  • Muscle strengthening. For example, lifting weights, using a resistance band, climbing stairs, dancing, riding a bike, doing push-ups, squats, and sit-ups.
  • Strengthen bones. These can be activities such as jumping rope and running, as well as sports that involve jumping and making quick changes of direction.
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However, motivating a teenager can be the real challenge, although it is not impossible. Here are some tips if your teen seems more interested in sitting than exercising:

  • Instill healthy exercise behaviors: You are a role model for your children. They are more likely to be physically active if you make it a family priority. Talk to them about how good you feel after exercising, planning a vacation where you have to be active, going for a family outing in the evening, going to the gym or exercising together at home.
  • Find the fun side: Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Find exercises that your children find fun and interesting. Try a new sport. Turn on the music and have a dance party in the kitchen. Explore a nature trail or go to the park on a bike. Try a new online exercise video. Something fun will make them want to exercise instead of being afraid to exercise.
  • Incorporate movement into your daily routine. Don’t forget that every detail is important. Encourage your children to go out for a walk with their friends, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park in the back of the parking lot.

All this is a new way to instill healthy habits in your children.

*By Cynthia Weiss, Mayo Clinic News Network

With information from Dr. Kimberly Beecher, Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System, St. Peter, Minnesota

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