Why Is Exercise Important to Teenagers?

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Regular exercise is important to teenagers because it helps maintain their physical and mental health. Teens should strive for at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, aiming to spend less time being sedentary and more time being active, according to TeensHealth. If teenagers can discover physical activities they enjoy, they are more likely to exercise on a regular basis and continue exercising into adulthood. Parents can encourage teenagers to exercise regularly by setting a good example and becoming more active themselves.

Aerobic Exercise

Boys playing soccer
Soccer is a popular sport with teens. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Aerobic exercise increases the heart and breathing rate, strengthens the heart muscle and improves oxygen delivery to all body parts. Good aerobic fitness boosts energy levels and allows teens to stay physically active for longer periods without fatigue. It also enables them to respond to unexpected physical demands such as running for a bus or climbing stairs. Examples of activities that provide a good aerobic workout include hockey, soccer, rowing, basketball, tennis, hiking, in-line skating, dancing, aerobics, brisk walking, swimming, running and biking.

Strength Training

Smiling girl exercising legs in the gym
Strength exercises prevents joint injury. (Image: prudkov/iStock/Getty Images)

Strength training exercises such as pushups, pullups, squats, leg raises and crunches increase muscle mass and help build strong arm, leg and stomach muscles. Strong muscles help protect the joints and prevent injury. Muscle uses more calories than fat when the body is at rest and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Weight Control

Woman on a scale
Exercise helps teens from gaining weight. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Exercising burns calories, helping teenagers avoid weight gain and develop lean, toned physiques. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of diseases such as type II diabetes and high blood pressure, which are becoming more prevalent among teens, according to TeensHealth. People vary in the amount of exercise they need to do to lose weight. Some people may need to do more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly to maintain their weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mental Health

Player taping his boots before a game
Exercise improves mood. (Image: Cameron Spencer/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Physical exercise encourages the body’s production of endorphins, chemicals that improve mood. Exercise reduces the risk of depression, increases self-esteem, builds self-confidence and promotes restful sleep. It also enhances thinking and learning skills and may improve school performance. Taking part in 30- to 60-minute aerobic and muscle-strengthening sessions three to five times weekly can improve mental health, according to the CDC.

Disease Prevention

skipping girl
Jumping strenthens bones. (Image: mandygodbehear/iStock/Getty Images)

Regular exercise reduces the risk for type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and breast cancer. It also helps lower blood pressure and increases HDL blood cholesterol, or good cholesterol. Weight-bearing exercise such as brisk walking, running and jumping strengthens bones and helps prevent loss of bone density and osteoporosis in later life. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones, which increases the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening hip fractures in older adults.

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