Aerobic Exercise for Teenagers
Find Your Best Time of Day for Exercise
As you start an aerobic exercise program, it's important to find the right time to exercise -- a time when you feel alert and energetic. This helps to make the exercise more fun and even easier.
You may be a morning person and enjoy using a stationary bike before school. Or, if you're barely awake at 6 a.m., you can hit the track running at lunchtime, during PE, or after school. Maybe swimming is what you love. So enjoy de-stressing while swimming laps on your school's team.
Exercise with a Friend
If you get bored easily and like to talk with someone, invite a friend to be part of your aerobic exercise program. Your friend can act as a coach, motivator, and conscience as well as give you someone to laugh with during exercise.
Exercising with someone can increase the chance that you'll stick with the program.
Join an Aerobic Exercise Class
If you are social or need further instruction, you might prefer being part of a fitness class. Try an aerobics or gymnastics class at the local "Y," an indoor cycling class at a fitness center, or a school sports team: volleyball, basketball, football, swimming.
The options for aerobic exercise are numerous. Just find what you like and make it your daily habit -- your gift to yourself.
Build Your Own Gym at Home
If you like privacy and would rather exercise in the comfort of your own home, set up a personal home gym. Exercising at home allows you to choose the time of day you work out and exercise at your own pace. And all the new home exercise equipment and DVDs that are available make it easier than ever to get fit at home.
Before you spend a fortune on exercise equipment, check out the deals at online auctions or in your newspaper's classified advertisements. Some basics for your gym might include:
- A yoga mat for stretching
- Light, handheld weights
- Exercise bands to use with strengthening exercises
- Instructional DVDs or videos (aerobics, hip-hop, and Tae Bo)
- A fitness ball, used by physical therapists for stretching the lower back and doing abdominal work
- A full-length mirror to make sure your posture is correct during your stretching and other exercises
Aim for 60 Minutes of Aerobic Exercise Most Days
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity for kids and teens on most -- if not all -- days of the week.
But Avoid Overtraining
While you need regular aerobic exercise to achieve your best health, overtraining increases your chance of injury or even illness. Symptoms might include a high resting heart rate, sleeping difficulties, and exhaustion. If your exercise seems excessive, cut back on the time or the intensity or both. Be kind to your body and give it a chance to recover.