There is a rise in obesity in teenagers these days. This is mainly attributed to their sedentary lifestyles and insufficient exercise. This obesity, if not controlled, can lead to future health problems like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Most teenagers tend to think that exercise is a waste of time. They have so much to study and have to excel in their classes that they cannot afford to spend time exercising. While studies are necessary, exercise too is important to teenagers. All you have to do is spend one in a day’s 24 hours of some moderate or vigorous physical exercise every day for the following reasons:
1. Helps control weight
Regular exercise helps with weight control. The training uses oxygen to burn the stored fat in your body so that you can maintain your weight. Walking 4 miles a day four days a week helps burn 1600 calories or about half a pound every week.
This means you can quickly lose 12 pounds by walking regimen for only six months! Of course, it’s also important that you maintain a healthy diet with restricted fats and sweets for optimal weight control and loss.
It’s not necessary that you walk the 4 miles at one time. You can instead take short walks through the day and cover 4 miles in a day. You can go walking a mile before or after school and perhaps take a walk around the school grounds. It’s anyway much better than wasting time chatting and hanging around with friends! Even better, why not grab your friends and have them come with you too!
2. Stress reliever
Exercise not only benefits the body but also the mind. It helps you sleep better and thus concentrate and focus better on studies. It helps overcome low self-esteem and depression by making you feel proud of accomplishing goals while exercising.
3. Strong bones
Regular weight-burning exercises like walking, dancing, jogging and running help keep your bones strong. Even resistance and strengthening exercises like weight training help give strong muscles and boost bone mass.
4. Better skin
Exercise proves helpful at improving blood circulation in the body. This, in turn, delivers vital nutrients to the skin. It also simultaneously removes toxins to help detoxify the body. By boosting oxygen to the skin, exercise also helps increase the natural production of collagen. Moreover, the improved blood flow improves your skin color and gives it a radiant glow!
5. Active calorie burning muscles
It’s a fact that exercise gives strong muscles. However, did you know that muscles also help you burn calories? It’s because muscle mass is a metabolically active tissue where the more mass you have, the more calories you burn. In fact, muscles help you burn calories even while you are asleep, and not exercising!
You can thus burn an additional 35-50 calories a day for each added pound of muscle to your body. As men have more muscle mass, they tend to burn calories easily and lose weight when compared to girls.
However, it doesn’t imply that girls can’t lose weight! It just means that she needs to work out every day. Once she gains muscle mass and develops strong muscles, she too can gain muscle mass and lose weight faster!
6. Makes you feel better
Exercise even helps improve psychological health by changing the chemical levels of some hormones in the body. It makes the brain release the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin to send happy and positive messages between brain cells.
Exercise also helps the body produce endorphins, which is a chemical that helps you feel happy and peaceful. All this together proves that exercise helps overcome mild and moderate depression by making you feel much happier with a more positive attitude towards life!
7. Improving body immunity
Regular exercise is known to improve the body’s resistance levels. A better immunity system helps reduce the chances of your contracting colds, flu, and other similar infections.
8. More focus and brainpower
As exercise improves blood flow to the brain, the brain receives more oxygen and nutrients. Your brain waves are thus activated much faster which in turn helps you think quicker and concentrate better on your studies. In fact, daily exercise may help you tackle the dreaded subject mathematics too!
9. Helps with personality development
Any form of exercise be it swimming, walking, jogging to team sports help improves your confidence and self-esteem levels. This, in turn, changes your walking motion, the way you speak to people and overall perceptive towards the world. This is especially noticed in the obese that look and feel so much more confident after losing weight and finally getting the figure they once dreamt of!
Tips to start exercise
There are three types of activities you need to include in your weekly exercise regimen.
- The stretching exercises involve moving your body limbs to the extremes without any pain. Examples of these exercises are yoga, dance, tai chi and other similar activities.
- Examples of endurance or cardiovascular exercises are walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics and climbing stairs. These will play a major role in strengthening your body muscles while building endurance and coordination levels.
- Resistance exercises help build strong muscles through weight training. This is achieved with the help of free weights, ankle and wrist weights, resistance bands, resistance machines and free handheld weights.
It’s better to have at least 3-4 sessions of cardio exercises and 2-3 sessions of resistance exercises every week. Stretching exercises are preferably performed every day for improved body flexibility.
On the last note, make it a point to remain hydrated while you exercise as your body produces lots of heat while exercising. So even though you, like most teenagers may detest drinking water, you need to start drinking now! Drink some water before the training to compensate for sweating and then drink more while exercising if you feel thirsty.
Try exercising for an hour a day for a week, and you will realize how much better and how beneficial regular exercise is for you. It helps you in three ways- physically, mentally and psychologically. All you need to do is invest in an hour of regular exercise every day, and as you continue the habit into adulthood, you can reap it’s lifetime benefits!