Teen guys who get active at least 60 minutes a day are more likely to feel good, maintain a healthier weight and age better than their sedentary peers, according to TeensHealth. Doing at least an hour of exercise a day may sound like a lot, but it won’t be if you break it up and include various enjoyable exercises in your daily workout.
Most of your 60-plus daily minutes of exercise should be cardiovascular, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This type of exercise, which improves your heart’s strength and improves oxygen delivery throughout your body, is any kind that speeds up your breathing and gets your heart pumping. You may already be getting in enough cardiovascular exercise, also called cardio, if you go to daily practice for a team sport such as football or basketball. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to get cardio. Try activities such as swimming, running, hiking and biking.
Your weekly workout plan should include strengthening activities at least three days a week as part of your 60-plus minutes of activity. Having stronger muscles helps you stay active, reduces your risk of injuries and improves your ability to burn calories. Activities such as crunches, pullups, squats and pushups are just a few examples of strengthening exercises you can do without going to the gym.
Lifting weights is another effective way to build your strength, but don’t head for a weight machine or try to lift a barbell without getting tips from a coach or trainer. Your fitness coach will likely recommend you start with 20 to 30 minutes of weightlifting two or three days a week and do eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise. He will also recommend gradually increasing the weight you lift, only adding extra weight after you can do 15 repetitions without strain. Bear in mind that you won't “bulk up” from lifting weights until your body produces enough testosterone as you go through puberty.
Stretching exercises help improve your muscles’ and joints’ ability to bend, which reduces your risk of developing painful strains. One way to effectively stretch your muscles is to do it after every workout. Your muscles will be more receptive to stretching at this point because they will already be warm. You will also improve your flexibility if you participate in a sport or hobby that emphasizes flexibility. Examples of such activities are gymnastics and martial arts.
Start out any new exercise gradually and closely observe your body for signs of overexertion. You may be tempted to put in an extra 30 minutes a day to improve your football performance or go down a weight class for wrestling -- but you will do it at the expense of your health if you don't build up slowly. Some symptoms of overtraining include increased fatigue, reduced appetite, trouble sleeping, depression and increased soreness during and between workouts, according to the American Council on Exercise.
- TeensHealth from Nemours: Strength Training
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone
- TeensHealth from Nemours: Why Exercise is Wise
- TeensHealth from Nemours: Compulsive Exercise
- FamilyEducation Network: Exercise and Teens; Barbara Cooke
- American Council on Exercise: What is Overtraining?