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How Much Should a Teenager Exercise in a Week?

by
author image Tina Pashley
In 2008, Tina Pashley put her passion for animal advocacy to work by writing a weekly pet adoption and care column in the Martinsville Chronicle. She currently contributes to two consumer advocacy websites and several healthcare publications. Pashley holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Phoenix.
How Much Should a Teenager Exercise in a Week?
Two teens are wearing roller blades. Photo Credit Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images

A 2007 to 2008 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 18.1 percent of Americans age 12 to 19 are obese. Lack of physical activity is a major factor in overweight and obese teenagers, as their free time is spent playing video games, watching television and using computers. However, replacing some of these activities with physical activity every day will help reverse this effect.

Under 18 Aerobic Activity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests teens under 18 perform a minimum of an hour of activity every day. Aerobic exercise should account for the majority of this activity. Vigorous forms of aerobic exercise will help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight more efficiently. Examples include jogging, running, bicycling on hilly terrain, or swimming laps in a pool.

Under 18 Strengthening

As part of your 60 minutes of daily activity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests strengthening exercises three days a week. Use free weights, strength-training machines or your own body weight to perform exercises that target your major muscle groups. Try pushups to target your chest and triceps, underhand pullups for your back, shoulders and biceps, and squats for your lower body. If using free weights or strength-training machines for strengthening, ask a fitness professional to teach you proper form and technique for exercises.

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Older Teen Aerobic Exercise

For teens over age 17, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests following the adult physical activity recommendations. Moderate aerobic exercise is recommended at least 150 minutes a week. Alternatively, you may perform intense forms of aerobic activity 75 minutes per week. For moderate exercise, try brisk walking, leisurely bicycling or low-impact aerobics. More vigorous forms include jumping rope, in-line skating or running.

Older Teen Strengthening

Teens over age 17 should perform a full-body strengthening workout at least twice a week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you are a beginner, use strength-training machines at a fitness facility to help you master exercise technique. Ask a gym employee to show you proper use of the equipment. However, you may also choose to incorporate free weights and body-weight exercises in your strengthening workouts. Target every major muscle group in each workout and allow at least a full day of rest from strength training between workouts.

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