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How Long Should Teenagers Exercise?

by
author image Christa Miller
Christa Miller is a writing professional with expertise in massage therapy and health. Miller attended San Francisco State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a minor in journalism and went on to earn an Arizona massage therapy license.
How Long Should Teenagers Exercise?
Hobbies such as skateboarding count as exercise. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Teenagers who regularly get exercise are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, less likely to develop certain diseases and more likely to feel good in mind and body, according to TeensHealth from Nemours. You probably already know that exercise is good for you, but what you may not know is how long or how frequently you should exercise to reap the greatest benefits.

Daily Cardio Needs

Most teenagers should aim for at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, most of which should come from moderate-intensity cardio exercises such as brisk walking or vigorous cardio exercises such as running, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Include vigorous activity in your workout sessions at least three days each week. Although you need about 60 total minutes of exercise a day, the length of any one exercise session can be shorter. For example, you could do two 30-minute sessions or four 15-minute sessions spread throughout your day.

Daily Strengthening Needs

Activities that strengthen your bones and muscles should be a part of your 60 minutes of exercise at least three days out of the week. Activities such as gymnastics build your muscle and bone strength, but a gym workout also helps. Strengthening exercise options include body weight workouts such as pull-ups and crunches, resistance tubing exercises, free-weight exercises and weight machine exercises.

Getting Active

You won’t need to spend time calculating how many minutes you did which exercise if you commit to being more active in everyday life. Enjoyable hobbies such as skating, doing yoga, snowboarding and playing with a footbag are exercise, too. If you’re not used to being physically active, begin by adding some active habits to your life. Simple changes such as taking stairs rather than escalators, biking to school and stretching during your favorite television show will help you develop the active habit.

When It’s Too Much

No single number is set as the maximum amount of exercise you should get, but there is a time when a healthy habit goes too far. Common reasons you may end up exercising more than a healthy amount is if you’re trying to lose weight or quickly improve your athletic performance. Talk to your doctor if your current exercise plan has you feeling increasingly edgy and fatigued, if you have no appetite, if your heart rate is constantly up during exercise and rest, if your physical performance is suffering, if your muscles and joints constantly feel sore and if you have trouble sleeping, recommends the American Council on Exercise.

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