Thirty years ago, 5 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 19 were obese, while current estimates indicate the number has increased to 18 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, low-self-esteem and joint problems. A regular at-home exercise program can help teens lose weight and get healthy. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Make a Plan
Teenagers should exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. While most of the daily requirement should focus on moderately intense cardio, teens should do two or three strength-training sessions and two or three stretching sessions each week. Getting fit can be fun and need not require a gym membership. An at-home exercise program provides teens with an opportunity to practice self-commitment and can also be a convenient way for a family to exercise and spend time together. Playing ball, going for a walk and flying a kite are all ways family members can be active and lose weight.
Channel Your Inner Child
Jumping rope is an effective, fast and inexpensive way to do cardio. In fact, a 150-pound person jumping rope for an hour can burn up to 750 calories, reports the University of Rochester Medical Center. Jumping rope also builds bone density and improves balance, two areas important to young adult health. A quick test will ensure that you are using the right rope: stand one foot on the middle of the rope and lift the handles -- they should come to your chest. If they don't, use a longer rope. Choose a shorter one if they lift above your chest. Opt for a rope with foam handles and relax your hands as you jump. Correct form will help prevent you from tiring early or injuring yourself. Stand up straight, bend your knees slightly, lift the rope high over your head and only jump as high as necessary to get over the rope. For variation, try hopping on one foot or jumping left-to-right, instead of up and down.
Use What You've Got
Calisthenic exercises rely on body-weight for resistance, require very little space and can be done virtually anywhere in the home. Doing a circuit with little rest between exercises will keep your heart rate elevated and burn calories while you build muscular strength. Examples of calisthenic exercises include pushups, forward lunges and squats. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, stopping when your muscles fatigue. Repeat the circuit two or three times.
Lift 'Em Up
You don’t need a gym to lift weights. Invest in a few dumbbells, store them in a corner and you have a home gym. Lifting weights burns calories and builds muscle, contributing to weight loss and changes in physical appearance. Once again, creating a circuit of exercises is a way to combine cardio and strength training; more effort equals more results. Examples of at-home dumbbell exercises include bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, rows and front raises. Do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise, stopping when your muscles fatigue. Repeat the circuit two or three times.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Childhood Obesity Facts
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Obesity in Children and Teens
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Youth Physical Activity: The Role of Families
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Jumping Rope: A Kid Favorite With Grownup Benefits