The key to staying healthy as a teenager is to engage in a combination of eating right and forming the right exercise habits. This is particularly important since so many teens today are overweight.
For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published a report containing teen obesity statistics. The report said that 14% of teens in the United States are obese. Translation: 14% of our teens are at elevated risk for high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Apart from these health-related risks to being overweight, these teens tend to have more problems making friends, getting dates, and finding jobs than do their thinner friends. On average, they also suffer from self-image problems and other psychological issues, which can have an effect on the quality of their schoolwork and overall sense of well-being.
The bottom line is: unless an overweight teen gets their weight under control, they are very likely to carry these problems associated with being too heavy well into adulthood – and possibly for the rest of their lives.
If you are looking for good exercises for teenagers, here are 5 free exercises that you can do at home:
1. Work your heart at least 30-60 minutes per day:
Working your heart muscle is known as cardiovascular exercise. While you don’t need to do it all at once, all together you should be getting at least 30-60 minutes of cardio per day. Some free ways to do this include: running, walking, biking, swimming, in-line skating, jumping rope, handball, trampoline, soccer, rowing, Tae Bo, aerobic dancing, and kick-boxing.
2. Improve your balance and flexibility with yoga:
The importance of flexibility and a good sense of balance are an important aspect of a healthy body. Buy a yoga DVD (you can find them used for a few dollars each online) or watch/record/TIVO free yoga shows on TV and watch them frequently. You can do many types of yoga directly on regular carpet. Eventually, you may want to invest in an inexpensive yoga mat. Bonus: many people who do yoga also report feeling more emotionally balanced and centered, as well.
3. Build core strength with butterfly breath:
Here is a specific exercise for building your core strength (i.e., your torso, stomach and back muscles) that you can do anywhere. It’s called “butterfly breath.” Here’s how:
a. Stand up straight with your legs spread hip-width apart, arms lifted straight out at your sides.
b. While breathing out, lift your right knee and touch it to your left elbow.
c. Then, while inhaling, return to position “a”. Switch sides and repeat 12-15 times on each side.
4. Flatten your tummy by doing the bicycle:
A flat, strong tummy is an important mark of the physically-fit. Try the “bicycle” exercise (note: no bicycle required!).
a. Lie out flat on the floor, laying your hands beside your head.
b. Bring up your knees to a forty-five degree angle and slowly act as if you are pedaling a bicycle in mid-air.
c. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then do the opposite side. Keep an even pace throughout. Do about 1-3 sets of 12-16 repetitions.
5. Work your legs with squats:
Now, it is time to work your legs with squats! This is one of the best lower body exercises you can do because it is a multi-joint exercise that works multiple muscle groups, including your hips, butt, and thighs. This type of squats does not require any weights. Here’s how:
a. Place a chair behind you and stand in front of it, with feet slightly spread apart.
b. Contract your stomach muscles, keeping them tight as you bend your knees and squat down towards the chair.
c. Keep your knees behind or just above (in-line with) your toes as you briefly sit down.
d. Now, slowly stand up out of the chair by tightening your hamstrings and glutes (butt). Fully extend your legs straight again.
e. Do 1-3 sets for 10-15 repetitions.
Try these 5 free exercises you can do at home as you get into the best shape of your life.