There are several benefits associated with teen exercise. Teens can build lean muscle and strong bones. Both of these will serve them well later in life as strong bones are less likely to fracture, and lean muscle burns calories at a higher rate than other muscles. This can lead to a healthier self-image, and a better life outlook. Additionally, teens that exercise experience better sleep, enabling them to better cope with daily challenges, both mental and physical (2). Establishing healthy habits prior to adulthood increases the chances of carrying them through life. Teen exercise lays the foundation for future health.
So it seems that physical exercise for teenagers not only supports a healthy body and self-esteem but also a healthy mind. For parents, there is also the incalculable benefit that while your teen is exercising they are not angsting about the house.
Getting teenagers to exercise can be a daunting task. After all, with the computer and Internet, television, video games and other sedentary temptations, the idea of getting up and moving around can be less than appealing. However, it is important for teens to exercise. The American Heart Association identifies physical inactivity as risk factor for several health problems (1):
Of course, organized sports offer excellent opportunities for teens to exercise, and many of them enjoy the activities. If your teen is interested in organized sports, be supportive of his or her interest. However, you should make sure that practices are not overly long, cutting into family time, and that the teen is physically able to participate in the rigors of organized sports.