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The Best Ways to Keep Fit for Teens

author image Amy R. Green
Amy R. Green is a writer and counselor whose articles have appeared in "The Globe and Mail" and "alive" magazine. She is a certified Canadian counselor with a Master of Arts in counselling psychology from the University of British Columbia. Green's love for writing was fueled when she published her first article for her university newspaper while completing her Bachelor of Arts in psychology.
The Best Ways to Keep Fit for Teens
Believing in yourself is part of a healthy lifestyle. Photo Credit: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

With so many fad diets and fitness trends on the market, it can be daunting for teens to figure out the best ways to stay fit. The good news? Being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. There are several simple ways you can incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle.

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A Balanced Diet

Teenage girl eating fruit salad
Teenage girl eating fruit salad Photo Credit: Cathy Yeulet/Hemera/Getty Images

It can be tempting to think that foods labeled “low-fat” or “diet” are automatically better for you; however, these foods tend to be highly processed and low in nutrients. Instead, try eating mostly whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, fish and whole grains instead of sugary drinks, processed meats and potato chips. Achieving a balanced diet also means having a healthy relationship with food: instead of viewing food as your enemy, remember that healthy foods keep your body and mind nourished. And, rather than eating meals while texting your friends or browsing online, which is associated with less healthy food choices, try to sit down at the table and simply enjoy and appreciate your food.

An Active Lifestyle

Girl vacuuming her bedroom
Girl vacuuming her bedroom Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Teens should engage in about an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Seem like a lot? Choose activities you love, and fitness will be easier to integrate into your routine. Research also shows that small bursts of exercise scattered throughout your day are just as effective for your health as longer bouts. For example, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of your favorite show, take the stairs instead of the elevator or surprise your parents by offering to vacuum!

A Good Night's Sleep

Boy watching tv in bed
Boy watching tv in bed Photo Credit: Buccina Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images

Although it can sometimes be tempting to stay up late, getting enough sleep is crucial for your health. In fact, sleep deprivation is associated with higher rates of obesity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens should get around nine hours of sleep per night. To make sure you get a sound slumber, adopt good sleep habits. For example, go to bed at the same time every night, try not to watch T.V. or browse on your cell phone in bed and make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet when you go to sleep.

A Healthy Mind

Teen confiding in doctor
Teen confiding in doctor Photo Credit: Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

The more you believe in your ability to make healthy choices, the more motivated you will be to create positive habits in your life. However, from time to time, everyone experiences moments of negative self-talk -- saying things like “I’ll never be able to jog for 20 minutes." Remember that these thoughts are normal and be gentle on yourself. If you notice your negative thoughts persisting for more than a week, or if they are seriously interfering with your ability to adopt healthy habits, find someone you can talk to -- like a school counselor or an adult you trust.

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