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Reasons for Lack of Exercise in Teens

by Amber Keefer, studioD

Your teen needs at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, according to the TeensHealth website. Exercise for your teen doesn’t have to be a boring workout regimen -- participating in activities that keep his body moving is what counts. Have your teen choose a mix of activities that allow him to get aerobic, muscle-strengthening and flexibility exercise.

Not Fun

KidsHealth points out the reason some kids don’t exercise is because it isn’t fun. She's more likely to stay with an exercise program if it matches a physical activity to her interests. If she likes to be in nature, hiking or biking might be an activity she enjoys doing. Participating in a variety of different physical activities will keep her active as well.

Not Knowing the Benefits

Teens don’t always know the benefits of regular exercise. In an article for “USA Today,” Dr. Yolandra Hancock, a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., notes that even when teens want to exercise to lose weight, they don’t always know how to go about it. Besides aiding in maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active helps teens sleep better, builds strong bones and muscles, and decreases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Physical activity keeps your teen mentally alert so he does better in school. Exercise increases blood flow getting more oxygen to the brain. WebMD points out that increased blood flow also carries more nutrients to the skin, contributing to a teen having a healthier complexion.

Not Knowing What Counts

While many teens think they don’t have enough time to exercise, fitting in some physical activity each day isn't that difficult. Your teen can walk or jog around the track during lunch at school to get her heart pumping. Playing team sports is another way she can give her body the aerobic workout it needs. When it comes to strength-training exercise, climbing stairs helps strengthen muscles and build endurance. Biking, in-line skating, cross-country skiing and skateboarding are other activities that make muscles stronger. Karate and dance are activities your teen can do to become more flexible.

No Role Model

Teens are more likely to exercise if they see their parents exercising regularly. You can set a healthy example for your teen by being active yourself. Dr. C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. surgeon general, advised including physical activity as part of your family’s daily routine, according to the American Medical Association. Role-modeling is an effective way to encourage a teen to take up healthy habits. Families can go biking or for walks together, help each other with yard work or play catch after dinner. The key is to choose physical activities you can do as a family.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.

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