In the teen years, kids who formerly were bundles of nonstop energy might lose interest in physical activity. Between school, studying, friends, and even part-time jobs, they have a lot of interests and responsibilities vying for their time and attention.
But kids who started out enjoying sports and exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. So they might just need a little encouragement to keep it going during adolescence.
Immediate benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, feeling more energetic, and promoting a better outlook. Participating in team and individual sports can boost self-confidence, provide opportunities for social interaction, and offer a chance to have fun. And regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems later in life.
Fitness in the Teen Years
It's recommended that teens get at least 1 hour of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Yet physical activity tends to decline during the teen years. Many teens drop out of organized sports and participation in daily physical education classes is a thing of the past.
But given the opportunity and interest, teens can reap health benefits from almost any activity they enjoy, from skateboarding, in-line skating, yoga, swimming, dancing, or kicking a footbag in the driveway. Weight training, under supervision of a qualified adult, can improve strength and help prevent sports injuries.
Teens can work physical activity into everyday routines, such as walking to school, doing chores, or finding an active part-time job. They can take be camp counselors, babysitters, or assistant coaches for young sports teams, jobs that come with a chance to be active.