Keep on moving: make exercise a regular part of your day
My son, Alex, just returned from college and is actively involved in rugby and the training it involves.
My daughter, Zavia, is also heavily involved in our local rugby programme. However, what if your child has not found a sport that they enjoy? How can they still maintain a healthy level of fitness?
Any type of regular, physical activity can improve their fitness and health. The most important thing is that they keep moving!
Exercise should be a regular part of their day — like brushing their teeth, eating, getting dressed and sleeping. Teens can find gym classes, join a local sports team or grab some of their friends to work out with.
Try some of the following tips:
Stay positive and have fun
A good mental attitude is important. Find an activity that you think is fun. You are more likely to keep with it if you choose something you like. A lot of teens find it is more fun to exercise with someone else than exercising alone.
Start with small changes
For example, walk or ride your bike to school or to a friend's house. If you must get in a car or on a bus, get out while you're still a distance away and walk the rest of the way. Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
Try exercises that get your heart pumping
Swimming, basketball, running and other aerobic activity increases your fitness level and makes your heart and lungs work better. It also burns off body fat.
Don't forget to warm up
Do easy exercises or mild stretches before you do any physical activity. This warms your muscles and helps protect against injury. It is also important to stretch after you exercise to cool down your muscles.
Your goal should be to do some type of exercise every day. It is best to do some kind of aerobic activity without stopping for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time. Do the activity as often as possible, but not to the point of pain.
A healthy lifestyle
In addition to exercise, making just a few other changes can help keep you healthy, such as:
• Spending less time playing computer or video games. If watching TV, try doing some sit-ups and stretches. Use hand weights or a stationary bike or treadmill
• Eat three healthy meals a day that include at least four servings of fruit, five servings of vegetables and four servings of dairy products
• Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during and after any exercise. Try drinking mostly water and occasionally sports drinks that are low in sugar. This will help replace what you lose when you sweat
• Try to eliminate regular soft drinks from your diet
• Eat less junk food and fast food. (They are full of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.) I think this one is a challenge for everyone, not just teens
• Get eight to ten hours of sleep every night
• Don't smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or do drugs
Let's keep our teens healthy and B-Active For Life!
• Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Check her out on Facebook: facebook.com/B.ActiveForLife