By Tara Daye, PTS/FIS
Yeah, yeah…we all should be exercising! We know this – whether we already exercise regularly, go in spurts, or even if we refuse to exercise, we all know this as fact. For teens however, it is particularly important in regard to their development. Just how important is it to start young?
As it turns out, very. Many studies have been conducted on the subject, and all come to a similar conclusion. Moderate and regular physical activity for adolescents has many positive repercussions well into our adulthood, especially if maintained into our later years. Healthier kids lead to healthier adults. This reduces the cost of healthcare and thus, the strain on the economy which translates back to the people and easing financial burden (at least that’s how it’s supposed to work, right!?).
One of the benefits of beginning at an early age can include increased concentration. When we exercise it actually increases our energy. This allows for more alertness and ability to focus on our daily tasks. Increased concentration often leads to better grades in school, improved problem solving, increased sports performance, and the ability to get a good nights’ sleep after a hard days’ work!
Exercise can trickle into the ability to better maintain our weight throughout our lives. When we exercise on a regular basis we are even more naturally inclined to eat healthy and drink more water. This aids in keeping a healthy blood pressure, warding off the onset of heart disease, some forms of cancer, and osteoporosis by strengthening our bones. Making better food choices helps to improve our skins’ appearance and the strength and growth rate of our hair and nails. It aids muscle growth, balance and function and raises our metabolism. By improving our metabolic rate, we will burn more calories even at rest!
Adolescence can be a very emotional and tumultuous time. Physical activity can improve overall mental health. Because of the ability to better solve problems, or in other words have rational and logical patterns of thought, it is easier to sort through the racing emotions facing teens. A benefit to our mood, a reduction in symptoms of depression and therefore a reduction in harmful or suicidal thoughts can occur with regular exercise. With studies showing that 1 in 5 people have mental health issues in Canada, this is a huge win!
The positives of exercising when in our teens are numerous and definitely outweigh the downfalls. It is increasingly difficult to get our children to get active these days though, with all of the electronic devices that exist. As parents today, we appreciate these devices in a way that our children will not be able to. Many of us grew up without computers, tablets and cell phones (heck, I still call the DVD Player a VCR on occasion!) To children these days, it is just a normal part of life, nothing big…everyone has a cell phone!
We are seeing more youth venturing through our doors, but sadly the number is still small. As parents, one of the best habits you can instill in your teen is an appreciation for physical fitness and activity. It is a gift that will last them throughout their lives!
For information on our upcoming summer teen fitness program, please visit our website at www.lifestylesfitnessstudio.ca