A healthy Teenage Lifestyle? Why and How?
As kids grow into their teens, rapid physical growth and development come when there is an increase in pressure to do well at school, participate and excel in co-curricular activities, fit in, and maybe even find a part-time job. Coming to acknowledge and cope with all of these changes and working out a personalized healthy way of life would mean the need to put in consistent, conscious, and continued effort and time. Seemingly tricky at first, it’s easy to overlook the role that this plays in the long run.
Why is teenage fitness so necessary?
- Crucial to cognitive, psychological, and physical development, adolescence plays a vital role in forging the adult a child will grow into. Fitness habits developed during this time establishes a lifelong understanding of a positive body image and healthy living and dietary choices.
- A maintained fitness routine builds strong bones, muscles and helps one stay agile well into old age. Additionally, it also helps maintain a healthy weight, building lean muscle while burning fat. Hence, it helps in reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and helps lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, improve blood circulation, and boost the immune system.
- Physical exercise prompts the production of feel-good brain chemicals, including Endomorphins, Dopamine, and Serotonin, among other neurotransmitters. These boost your mood, relieve pain and stress, improve appetites and sleep patterns as well as positively impact your self-esteem.
Breaking down the concept of health into smaller portions for more straightforward navigation we see, physical, mental, and emotional health. All these work in tandem and a great place to start working through them understand how your body works.
Ask yourself if you are eating a healthy diet, tailored to meet your needs and goals, maintaining a healthy weight, and working to stay active and keeping to a consistent sleep pattern, giving you a solid nine hours of sleep each night or at least an average of seven.
So often overlooked, but as important as your physical health is your mental and emotional health. One of the most important things to learn when change engulfs you is how to manage stress and find a balance between school, friends, and family. Watch your moods and feelings with extra care; lookout for signs of anxiety, tiredness, loss of interest, and drastic, unexpected changes in your personality.
But in the daily rush to get to classes, finish homework, chores, work a part-time job, or spend some quality time with friends and family, fitting in an exercise routine, a sport, or time outdoors takes a back seat. Other important things to keep in check are unhealthy outlooks or misconceptions about health, fitness, and exercise. Seen as a way to feel more comfortable in their skin, rather than as a route to conform to what society often portrays bodies to be, an exercise routine should all be about building stamina and endurance while staying positive, having fun, and getting your heart pumping.
Where and how do we start? One of the surest ways to start is to set a goal, small, attainable, and paced to your needs. This helps set a routine in motion, establishing a healthy, body-positive understanding of fitness, well into adulthood.
Let us now start at the basics and work toward understanding the core components of a perfect routine – aerobics, strength training, and flexibility/stretching.
- Aerobics exercises are those that quicken your heart rate and breathing and are suitable for your heart. These are usually high-intensity workouts and include sports like football, tennis, basketball, volleyball, brisk walking, running, cycling, or swimming.
- Strength Training allows you to work on building your strength and endurance. This can involve time spent using playground equipment or climbing trees. It can also mean structured routines that include squats, push-ups, crunches.
- Flexibility and mobility training is a great way to stay agile, improve posture and lower the risk of injury as well as a way to wind down after a stressful day, affecting positively not only our physical health but also our mental health. This also serves to warm up before a strenuous dance, yoga, aerobic routine, or a big game.
- Promising to be a successful complementary therapy for adolescents and kids, a yoga and meditation routine helps you build a deeper connection between the mind and the body, easing stress and anxiety.
Involving an unwavering focus on the present and disengaging with thoughts of everything else, Yoga Nidra is a powerful technique for controlling the body’s relaxation response and is as restorative as sleep. Some of its benefits include improved sleep, a release of tension and pain, and a great way to detach from your thoughts.
Next, we chart out a fitness plan. As a teenager, practice making your exercise routine a regular part of your day. It doesn’t matter if in a gym class, as a part of a sports team, or just on your own; the important thing is to keep moving and keep at it. Trust me, the reduced stress, increase in energy, and overall sense of wellbeing is motivation enough. At this point, strength, conditioning, and building your stamina should be the core of your focus. In case you are seeking to see fitness in terms of weight loss, please consult a medical professional.
While studies show that teenagers need to get about 60 minutes of strenuous routine on at least three days a week and a toned-down, moderate one on other days to maintain good health, fitness, and a healthy weight, a basic framework informs us
- Always make sure you are wearing proper protective gear when your routine involves a high-intensity cardio workout. Activities that fall under this category include most team sports, brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming.
- Strength training helps you build strength and endurance. However, always make sure you are assisted by a trained professional like a coach or a trainer while following this routine. If it falls on your schedule more than two or three days a week, make sure you get at least a day of rest in between.
- Regulate the amount of time you spend in front of the television, the computer, or playing video games. Go outdoors for a walk, jump rope, go for a bike ride or play ball with a friend.
- Avoid powerlifting. Focusing on how much one can lift at a given time, it is tough to maintain good form, and since teens are still growing, it stresses the body abruptly, resulting in injury.
- Avoid going overboard. Is there something as too much exercise? Often seen in teens who participate in competitive sports, compulsive exercise, the push to excessively exercise every day, maintain a stricter diet, and maintain a harsher control on weight, can lead to injuries, calorie deficits, eating disorders, bone loss, or fractures. Some of the symptoms of exercise compulsion include a slower than normal resting heart, insomnia, lethargy, and fatigue, as well as deteriorating physical performance.
- Don’t expect quick results. Safe weight loss is a gradual process, slow, and doesn’t happen overnight. Shortcuts to speed this up like unhealthy diets or excessive exercise, often do more harm than good and can be detrimental in the long run.
What does a healthy lifestyle for a teenager mean?
Along with a well-planned exercise routine, a few other choices that positively contributes toward creating a sustainable and healthy lifestyle include
- Focus on nutrition. Have three well-rounded meals a day. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and lean protein. Avoid food that is high in refined sugar and saturated fats as much as possible. A balanced meal not only sources the nutrients and the energy that power your workouts but also has a positive impact on your overall mental health.
- Hydration and nutrition are two sides of the same coin. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any exercise. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates your joints, replenishes the body of essential nutrients, boosting performance, and prevents injury.
- Get about nine to ten hours of sleep or at least a minimum of seven.
To conclude, helping teens navigate the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges that come with adolescence, a healthy lifestyle, fitness, and nutrition is extremely beneficial in the long run, setting patterns well into adulthood, molding a well-rounded individual.