The keys to reaching or staying at a healthy weight are regular exercise and good eating habits. Some people think exercise and good eating require lots of effort or planning. But that’s not true. In fact, the best way to work them into our lives is by making small changes that gradually become part of our routine.
We’ve all succeeded in making changes that are now ingrained in our lifestyles — learning to brush our teeth, for example. Here’s the information you need to make these other healthy habits just as easy.
Teens should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. Note the word “activity”: As long as you’re getting your body moving, it doesn’t have to mean doing complicated exercises or hitting the gym every day. All that matters is that each week you get the right balance of activity, including aerobic, strength building, and flexibility exercise. Make exercise a habit by scheduling some every day.
On days when you have soccer practice or an aerobics class, you may have no trouble exercising for an hour or more. But most of us are busy, and 60 minutes a day of activity seems like a lot of time. The good news is that it’s OK to divide it into shorter “exercise breaks” throughout the day.
Just as you might have a healthy snack to stop yourself getting hungry, exercise snacks can keep energy levels high. So get up 15 minutes early and do some yoga or other stretching activity. Fast walk or jog for 15 minutes at lunch. Do the same thing after school — or walk or bike home. Add to that taking the stairs, gym class, and walking between classes during the day, and you’ve probably reached your 60 minutes.
10 Exercise Tips
Here are 10 simple ways to make an exercise lifestyle change:
- Start today. Go outside for a walk.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Instead of driving, walk or bike to places like school or a friend’s house.
- If you have to drive, park farther away than you need to and walk the extra distance, if it’s safe to do so.
- Vacuum your room, wash the car, or mow the lawn. It’s not a chore — it’s an exercise opportunity!
- Limit your time watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games — and when you do play, try interactive games that get you moving.
- Dance. Even in the privacy of your room, letting loose to your favorite tunes could help you burn more than 300 calories an hour!
- Figure out what type of exercise interests you, then give it a try! Take it slow if you’ve never done it before. And if you’re nervous at first, find an exercise buddy to join you. It’s usually easier to stay motivated about exercise if you do something you’re interested in.
- If you get bored or lose interest easily, alternate the kinds of activities you do so they always feel fresh.
- Be sure to include some activity that gets your heart beating faster, quickens your breathing, and makes you sweat.