Young children are famously active, running circles around their parents and other adults. But as they grow older they tend to slow down. During the teen years, boys often stop getting an ample amount of exercise because of the pull of TV, video games and computers. Still, it's important for teenagers to get their hearts pumping every day and to know how much physical activity they need to lead a healthy and active life.
Maximum Heart Rate and Target Heart Rate
You can determine your maximum heart rate simply by subtracting your age in years from 220, the American Heart Association reports. That means for a teenage boy, his maximum heart rate will vary from 201 to 207 beats per minute depending on exactly how old he is. Your target heart rate is the range that is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. A 13-year-old boy's target heart rate is 176 to 203 beats per minute, while a 19-year-old's target heart rate is 171 to 200 beats per minute.
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Physical Activity Recommendations
Children -- including adolescents and teens -- should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The majority of that should come from moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, things that get your teen's heart rate pumping in the target heart rate range. Teens also should engage in bone-strengthening activities -- things like running or jumping rope -- and muscle-strengthening activities.
Your teen will immediately benefit from getting regular physical activity in the form of a healthy body. When your teen gets his heart pumping, it allows the body to better use energy and calories, which leads to a fitter body and a faster metabolism, MedlinePlus reports. Helping establish good habits in his teen years can also help reduce his resting heart rate and lower his risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
Intensity of Exercise
Checking your heart rate at the end of a workout will tell you how hard you have been working. You can see how fast your heart is beating by taking your pulse for 10 seconds and multiplying the total by six. Exercises that get your heart beating in the target heart range for your age are what you should strive for. You can also try the simpler "talk test," the CDC recommends. If you can talk but not sing while performing any activity it is a moderate-intensity workout. If you cannot speak more than a few words without pausing to catch your breath, that is a vigorous workout. In general, walking, biking and playing tennis serve as examples of moderate workouts, while running, swimming and jumping rope are vigorous workouts.