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What is the Importance of Physical Fitness for Teens?

written by: Donna Cosmato • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 6/30/2010

Decreased physical activity, a danger of adolescences entering the teen years, puts kids at risk for weight gain, potential obesity, and a general decline in overall health and fitness. Let’s examine the importance of physical fitness for teens.

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    As children enter the teen years, they find themselves faced with more choices and opportunities than they had in childhood. While many of these opportunities can be beneficial, like earning extra money for college or taking extra classes to prepare for college, they can also lead to a decrease in physical activity levels. What is the importance of physical fitness for teens?

    importance of physical fitness for teens 

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    Decreasesd Physical Activity Teen Males or Females

    Who is at higher risk, males or females? According to the abstract for “Encouraging Physical Activity in Teens,” “Physical activity levels of girls decline dramatically during adolescence and may be a contributor to the increasing number of obese teens in the United States.”

    While all teens need to be aware of the need for maintaining physical fitness levels, teen girls should be extra vigilant about working enough exercise and physical movement into their daily routines. Smart ways to take care of daily exercise are by walking rather than driving, riding a bike, roller blading, or other fun activities. If you must chat with friends on the cell phone, go for a walk and talk while you move. For more information on exercises for teen girls, please read “Best Exercises for Teenage Girls.”

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    How Important is Physical Fitness?

    The idea of mortality and growing old may be hard for teens to grasp. Here are some key facts for teens to consider about the benefits of regular physical activity and movement.

    • Exercise helps one maintain healthy weight, or lose unwanted pounds.
    • Maintaining proper body weight increases self-esteem.
    • Being physically fit is the best way to build strong bones and muscles, which in turn acts as insurance against future illness or poor health.
    • School performance is enhanced; regular exercise increases the oxygen flow to the brain and helps teens think better and clearer.
    • Fitness and exercise reduces the risk of stress or depression.
    • Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system and may help prevent future heart problems like heart attacks or strokes.
    • Daily tasks like carrying books to class, working after school, or household chores are easy to complete when one is in good physical condition.

    Everyone benefits from regular exercise, but teens that make a conscious effort to develop good health habits like participating in daily physical exercise are making an investment in their future health. Now that you understand the importance of physical fitness for teens, why not take a walk, stretch, bend, or just move around today?

    For more information about the value of exercise for teens, please read “Fit for Life – Teen Fitness and Self-Image.”

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    Sources

    Indiana University, Computer Sciences program, “Encouraging Physical Activity in Teens,” Toscos, Tammy, Faber, Ann, Connelly, Kay, Upoma, Adity Mutsuddi, accessed 06/30/2010

    University of Illinois Extension, "Physical Activity Affects Youth for a Lifetime," States, Melinda Jo, 5/2010, accessed 06/30/2010

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    Image Credit

    <a href="http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3935&picture=tennis-player">Tennis Player</a> by Petr Kratochvil