The benefits of regular physical activity are hard to dispute. It is not only one of the most effective ways to control your weight, but it also is a way to prevent many chronic health problems. With the rise of childhood obesity, exercise has become even more vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for teenagers. As with adults, the amount of exercise needed is pretty much the same across the board.
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Current guidelines suggest that teens get at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These 60 minutes, however, needn’t be completed in a solid hour of exercise. It can be broken up into two 30-minute sessions, three 20-minute sessions or even six 10-minute sessions. So, if a 13-year-old enjoys jogging, for example, spending 20 to 30 minutes on a treadmill is completely fine, especially if other physical activities are part of his daily routine.
Teenagers new to exercise, on the other hand, may not want to spend as much time running on a treadmill. Even though the goal is 60 minutes of physical activity a day, it’s best to start slow and gradually increase the duration as well as the intensity of the exercise. Walking for 50 minutes and then jogging for the last 10 might be a better option at first. As fitness levels improve, transition to 45 minutes walking and 15 minutes jogging.
It’s also important to note that teens — as well as adults, for that matter — can overexercise. Your body often gives you physical cues to tell you when you’re pushing yourself too hard, so pay attention to these signs. If you feel pain, weakness or fatigue, get off the treadmill. Pushing your body beyond its physical capacity can lead to sprains, strains and other overuse injuries.
Although running on a treadmill is an effective way to stay fit, it’s not the only option out there. Everyone, including teenagers, has their own set of interests, particularly when it comes to athletics. You don’t need to start running on a treadmill to reach the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity. Biking, walking, hiking, dancing, swimming, cross-country skiing and taking part in a competitive sport, like tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, hockey and rugby, can all be used to reach the goal for daily exercise.