Exercise and Teenagers
Exercise is an important part of keeping teens healthy. Encouraging healthy lifestyles
in children and teens is important for when they grow older. Lifestyles that are learned
in childhood are more likely to stay with the child into adulthood. Some changes in
lifestyle can be harder to make as a person ages. The best way to promote healthy
lifestyles is for the whole family to become involved.
Establishing an exercise plan
A daily exercise program is a fun way to share physical activity with family and friends
while helping to establish good heart-healthy habits. The following exercise guidelines
for teens can help you and your teen plan activities:
Teenagers need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most
days to maintain good health and fitness, and for healthy weight during growth. Physical
activity should include aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening exercises.
Parents are encouraged to limit a teen's screen time (TV, video game, phone, tablet,
and computer) to less than 2 hours daily and replace these sitting activities with
activities that require more movement.
Even low-to-moderate intensity activities for as little as 30 minutes a day can be
helpful. These activities may include the following:
Regular aerobic physical activity increases a teen's capacity for exercise. It also
plays a role in the prevention of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. Aerobic activities
are continuous activities that cause the heart rate and breathing rate to increase.
To prevent dehydration, encourage your teen to drink fluid regularly during physical
activity. Also, have them drink several glasses of water or other fluid with no added
sugar after the physical activity is completed. Examples of vigorous activities may
For teens, daily exercise may help prevent conditions such as weight gain, high blood
pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels, as well as poor lifestyle habits that lead
to heart attack and stroke later in life.
Exercise on a regular basis is part of a healthy lifestyle. But some teens can exercise
too much. If your teen begins losing weight and falls below expected growth patterns,
or if exercise interferes with other normal activities including school, you should
talk with your teen's healthcare provider.
Benefits from regular exercise or physical activity
According to the American Heart Association and the President’s Council on Fitness,
Sports, and Nutrition, the following are key benefits of physical activity:
Improves blood circulation throughout the body
Keeps weight under control
Improves blood cholesterol levels
Prevents and manages high blood pressure
Prevents bone loss
Boosts energy level
Improves the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
Helps manage stress
Fights anxiety and depression
Increases enthusiasm and optimism
Increases muscle strength