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Why Is Exercise Important to Teenagers?

author image Sharon Kirby
Based in southeast England, Sharon Kirby has been writing health-related articles since 2005. Her work has appeared in "Nursing Times" magazine, "Issues" magazine and The Online Journal of Sport Psychology. Kirby's education includes a Master of Science in sports science and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Essex University.
Why Is Exercise Important to Teenagers?
Exercise helps teenagers maintain a healthy weight.

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.

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Aerobic Exercise

Soccer is a popular sport with teens.
Soccer is a popular sport with teens. Photo Credit: 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

Strength exercises prevents joint injury.
Strength exercises prevents joint injury. Photo Credit: 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

Exercise helps teens from gaining weight.
Exercise helps teens from gaining weight. Photo Credit: 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

Exercise improves mood.
Exercise improves mood. Photo Credit: 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

Jumping strenthens bones.
Jumping strenthens bones. Photo Credit: 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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