Any type of regular, physical activity can improve a teen's fitness and health.
Exercise should be a regular part of a teenager's day, like brushing their teeth, eating, and sleeping. Teens can exercise during PDHPE practical classes at school, by joining a sports team, or working out on their own.
When participating in physical activity, teenagers should keep in mind:
- Stay positive and have fun. A good mental attitude is important. Teens should find a physical activity they enjoy as they are more likely to keep with it if they are having fun. Teenagers tend to have more fun when they exercise with someone else, so they could find a friend or family member to be active with.
- Take it one step at a time. Small changes can add up to better fitness in teens. For example, teenagers could walk or ride their bike to school or to a friend's house instead of being driven. They could get on or off a bus a few blocks away from their destination and walk the rest of the way to limit their sedentary behaviour, as well as climbing stairs rather than taking the lift or elevator.
- Get teens' hearts pumping. Whatever physical activity teens choose, they should make sure it includes aerobic activity that makes them breathe harder and increases their heart rate. This is the best type of exercise because it increases a teenager's fitness level and makes their heart and lungs work harder. Aerobic activity also works off body fat. Examples of physical activities that teens could choose are basketball, swimming, or running.
- Don't forget to warm up with some easy exercises or mild stretches before any physical activity. This will warm up a teen's muscles and may help protect them against injury. Stretching makes teenager's muscles and joints more flexible too. It is also important for teens to stretch after they exercise to cool down their muscles.
Teenagers should aim to do some type of exercise every day. It is best for teens to do some kind of aerobic activity without stopping for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time. Teens should do this activity as often as possible, but should not exercise until the point of pain.