A Guide to Exercise as a Teen: Getting Fit Early in Life
So, you want to get fit. That’s admirable, especially since you’re in your younger years. Your health is important, so by wanting to get fit, you’re already making your future brighter. Not to mention, physical education in schools, depending on which one you go to, can be lacking. By learning how to eat right and exercise, you’re bound to do well for yourself.
There are some precautions, but we’ll get to them in time. For now, here’s the basics of what you need to know.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
If you’re simply trying to maintain your health and your diet is steady, an hour of moderate to intense exercise is what’s necessary. This can easily be achieved if you’re the type who likes to hang out with friends outdoors or through some standard exercises you might have learned in physical education. If you have a pool, an hour of swimming will do you just fine. You can also get your exercise in through long walks and playing sports with friends.
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Exercise?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, the younger you are, the more likely that intense exercise can stunt your growth. I’m mainly talking about weightlifting here, but as a teen, too much exercise can still cause injury. How much is too much? Well, here are the signs.
- You’re injured frequently
- You’ve been eating far less than you should
- Major body changes in a short amount of time (that includes weight loss and muscle building)
- Getting anxious about working out
- Getting anxious about the idea of missing out on a workout
- (For girls) Losing your period
- Spending less time with friends or with hobbies in favor of working out
Exercises to Try Out
So before you decide to go about exercising, quickly ask yourself if you’re already getting a good amount of exercise in. I’m talking about those who play sports, run track and field, constantly run around with their friends late at night, or just swim a lot. If any of this defines you, you might be in the clear for maintaining a healthy weight. If not, or you simply desire to get more fit, we’re clear to proceed.
You can get into any of the suggested above for an easy exercise, or you can take a look at the following. If you’re not sure how some of these exercises look, you can simply look them up online with ease.
- Pushups. A standard exercise that strengthens your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Lunges. These will strengthen your hips, legs, and core, as well as improving your overall sense of balance.
- Squats. Strengthens hips, legs, and core. If you’re up for more of a challenge and you’re sure your body can take it, I suggest adding some dumbbells while you practice.
- Hip bridge. Strengthens abdominal muscles, thighs, and hips.
- Bird dog. Strengthens hips, back, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. If you can do squats, these will be a breeze for you.
- Dead bug. If you have a small exercise ball, or anything of similar size, these will work for you. Strengthens your hips, shoulders, and abdominal muscles.
Things to Keep in Mind
I’m sure you get this more than enough times, but with fitness, it’s especially true and crucial to learn: you’re young. You haven’t fully developed, so while it’s great you’re trying to get fit, there are many things you have to keep in mind if you’re to stay healthy and not push your body too far. So here are some key things you should keep in mind.
- Put equal focus on healthy eating. This is especially true if you’re trying to exercise because you want to lose weight. It’s a team effort between your digestive system and your exercise routine. I understand that it may not be easy, given most of you can’t exactly choose what is eaten most nights. However, you can perhaps slow down on things like unnecessary snacks or sweets. Less soda, more water. That sort of thing.
- If you’re doing this because you simply want to look good, then that’s fantastic. That’s as good a reason as any, and the fact that you want to improve your image is great. However, it needs to be said that you need to have a firm understanding of what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re inspired to look like certain figures you see on TV or on social media, you should probably stop right here. Many of those bodies (especially on social media) are unattainable through normal means. Most of them are on some sort of juice, while the rest go through great lengths to achieve their bodies in a dedication that is not only impossible for a teenager, but also extremely unhealthy. So, make sure you know what you’re going for.
- Patience is key. Your body isn’t going to get ripped in a month. You may lose some weight, but you’re eventually going to hit that plateau where you’re struggling to lose any more weight. If you keep at it, though, you’re going to get the results you want. Within reason, of course. If it so happens that you’re building muscle and losing weight rapidly due to a more intense workout routine, you’re going to want to slow it down. It’s unhealthy and can stunt your growth. So if you want to continue to grow a few inches taller, you may want to cool it.
- Try to have some fun. If you’re a teenager, you’re working out, and you’re not enjoying yourself, then you’re doing it wrong. Some people find great fun in working out, true, but if you’re doing everything begrudgingly, then you’re going to need to find a new form of exercise. There are many you can pick from, too. Join a sport, go hiking, swim an hour every day, or just go jogging. You’re a teenager. It’s too early to be miserable every waking hour of your life. If you’re going to improve your appearance and stay healthy, at least make sure that you’re enjoying yourself.