Teenagers and exercise

Teenagers and exercise

By Neha Ranglani  on: 13 March 2015
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Gone are the days when kids used to run down in the evening to play some fun games with friends like catch and cook, lock and key, cricket etc. Today’s generation kids also play but not physically. They are hooked on to the tab, ipad, computer etc. and the only part of their body which gets worked out is their fingers. So when do they get their share of physical activity and how would their fitness levels improve? This is the also the exact reason why childhood obesity is so very prevalent everywhere and these kids grow up to be obese, lethargic and sedentary teenagers who have more chances of developing diabetes, heart issues, arthritis and so on.

 It is very important to inculcate the habit of exercise or being active in kids so that they continue it throughout their life. Active children grow up to be active adults who realize the importance of physical fitness even in their most busy schedule. When you tell teenagers to exercise they may feel it as such a burden and something that they are being forced to do. Tell them by exercise you do not mean something boring and monotonous. It could be anything that they like and enjoy. All they need to do is remove 1 hour from their hectic college or work schedule at least 4-5 times/week and invest that time in some activity of their choice. They can choose from:

  • Aerobic exercises: your heart is a muscle which enjoys a good workout. Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, dance, aerobics etc strengthen your heart and improve its ability to pump more oxygen to all the parts. This also makes you less prone to heart problems in your later life. You can also choose any sport like basketball, tennis, football, volleyball, skating etc. make sure your heart rate increases for 20 minutes or more atleast 3 times/week to benefit your body.
  • Strength training: apart from the heart, other muscles also need to be worked out so that they become strong and support your joints and prevent injuries. You can opt for a gym membership or use free weights at home, therabands, resistance tubing or your own body weight like squats, lunges, push ups etc. Working out the entire body 2 -3days a week is ideal but make sure you do this with help of a coach or professional trainer. Avoid lifting very heavy weights as it can cause injury and do not expect to get bulky muscles as such an early age. Focus more on strength.
  • Other activities: exercise may not necessarily mean you to follow a structured agenda. It could also mean adopting an active lifestyle like walking back from school/college to home, taking the stairs rather than the lift, walk the dog, clean up the house, help parents in household chores, going for treks, planning a cycling race with friends etc. this will not only make you fit but also more alert and active. Even a hobby like skating, dancing, hula-hoop etc can be a good form of exercise. 

Exercise tips:

  • Always wear a comfortable gear and shoes while exercising.
  • Eat a small meal like egg sandwich/ idli/ poha/ sprouts salad etc. 1-2 hours prior any activity 
  • Carry a bottle of water with you while exercising and keep sipping in between to prevent dehydration. 
  • Do not over exercise. Sometimes teenagers with the desire to lose weight may tend to over workout which can cause injury or harm their body.
  • When you start any new activity or sport try doing it under the supervision of a trainer.
  • Do not exercise immediately after any meals to avoid digestion issues or late at night as it can disrupt your sleep patterns.
  • If you are a beginner, try keeping exercise sessions small like 20-30 minutes with low intensity and slowly increase time and intensity as your body gets accustomed to it.

How will exercise benefit teenagers?

  • Helps you lose the baby fat, tone up and gives you a better self image by maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Releases happy hormones called endorphins which reduce stress level, lower heart rate and makes them relaxed and calm helping you cope up with study pressures.
  • Reduces the risk of developing diabetes, blood pressure and heart problems which is becoming extremely common in teens.
  • Prevents risk of osteoporosis and back problems in the future as weight bearing exercises like squats, jumping, weight lifting etc increase bone mass.
  • Helps to increase lean muscle mass which protects the bones and joints preventing injuries and fractures. This also defines the body shape and gives you that figure/physique you have only dreamt about.
  • Helps improve self confidence and social integration skills helping them deal with competition in all spheres of life.
  • Boosts blood circulation which helps improves nutrient delivery to the skin removing toxins and revitalizing the skin giving you a glowing, acne free complexion.
  • Increases stamina and energy levels which help you study well, concentrate better and improve performance.
  • Kick starts the immune system protecting you from common cold, cough and viral infections.
  • Reduces chances of depression and increases the blood flow with oxygen and nutrients to brain thereby improving brain power.
  • Active teens have lesser chances of developing cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s , Parkinson’s in their later years.

How to get going?

  • Warm up: start with 5-6 minutes of basic warm up exercises like marching, jogging, neck, 
  • Main exercise: give this part of your regime atleast 30-40 minutes. You can opt for any 
  • Cool down: 10 minutes of cool is good enough. Do not stop at once. Slowly reduce the hand and leg movements, stretching. exercises like walking, skipping, swimming, dancing or playing any sport. Don’t forget to focus on your core which includes the stomach and back muscles to prevent back issues later.intensity of your activity, stretch and breathe.

Always remember exercise is just 30% whereas 70% is diet. So support your exercise efforts with a good healthy diet including fruits, nuts, salads, whole grains, coconut water etc. Give your body enough rest both mentally and physically. Try to involve family members as well like planning a hiking trip with them, playing cricket, swimming on a hot Sunday afternoon etc. We all are born young but how we perish depends on us. Make your youth a part of your personality forever by following a healthy and active lifestyle.

 Related Blogs:
Teenagers and Junk food fascination
13 March 2015
From the ancient age till now, food habits have undergone millions of changes. Our ancestors ate raw and unprocessed foods and today we eat ready to eat foods which get cooked at the hit of button. The trend to eat junk and processed food has cropped up in the past few years. And amongst all the age groups, it is the teenage group that is following this trend religiously. Junk foods are nothing but those which only have high amount of salt, sugar, fat and refined flour.  Any food that tickles your taste buds and the thought of it waters your mouth is the one which actually has no vitamins, minerals or fiber and is extremely high in calories. A few of your junk foods include pizzas, burgers, French fries, vada pav, candies,  colas, chips, chaat  and the list never ends.   Why do teenagers depend on junk food?  A host of reasons affect a teenager’s choice and attracts them towards junk food. Let’s understand a few of them: Junk foods are far tastier and lip smacking than the healthy version of our Indian foods. Easy availability of junk foods at every nook and corner. Infact every food store stocks up variety of junk foods. Inexpensive and pocket friendly foods items available all over. This helps teenagers to save their pocket money. Media source likes advertisements on TV, paper, magazines, hoardings etc. makes it easy for the child to follow up with the new arrivals in the market. Increase in the number of restaurants and fast food joints that serve greasy and spicy dishes. School and college canteen serving junk like vada pav, noodles, samosa etc. which is easily accessible and time saving for the child as they get a short snack break of 15 minutes. Parents not inculcating healthy habits from childhood and giving in to the child’s demands for chips, biscuits, burgers etc. This makes it difficult for the child to avoid junk food in teenage years. Lack of awareness creation by parents and teachers among the children about the ill effects of poor food habits in later years. Working parents who do not have time to cook healthy foods for their children due to which they depend on outside foods. Increase in socializing, parties and get-together which expose them to unhealthy foods. Effects of junk foods on teenager’s health: If you but a brand new car and run it on cheap, low quality fuel, its performance is definitely going to be compromised. Similarly adolescence/ teenage is a period of rapid mental and physical development which calls for good nutrients, a healthy balanced lifestyle and food habits which if not fulfilled a little more than a few health issues: Obesity: it is very obvious that calorie loaded junk foods increase the chances of getting obese in early years which also increase the fat % and chances of other health problems. Heart problems: junk food is extremely high in saturated fats which can increase blood cholesterol and accumulation of fat in the arteries leading to increased chances of mid-life heart attacks.  Hypertension: Since these foods are also loaded with salt, the chances of increase in blood pressure are quite high as salts cause water retention. This can then lead to heart attack/ stroke. Type 2 diabetes: obesity can lead to insulin resistance. Thus we see young overweight people with borderline diabetes and sometimes with very high sugar levels.  Osteoporosis: Calcium is very essential for the teenagers bone development and muscular actions. Junk foods are very low in calcium, so over dependence on these foods do not fulfill the teenager’s calcium needs. This can make their boned porous in the later years and increase chances of osteoporosis. Skin problems: Teenage is the phase when lot of hormonal changes takes place. If not taken good care of, your skin can breakout into acne and pimples make you look dull and pale. Especially high fatty foods clog your pores and increase the risk of breakouts. Hair problems: hair need good nutrients like protein, biotin etc for their nourishment. Junk food lack in proteins and other essential nutrients which can lead to hair fall, early balding, scanty hair, early graying etc. Constipation: refined foods lack fiber due to which 7 out of 10 people face constipation and indigestion problems. An inactive lifestyle adds to the problem. Acidity: junk foods are acidic foods which increase the stomach acids and can cause heartburn and discomfort. Poor concentration: clearly junk foods lack nutrients which are required for the brain and other intellectual development. This leads to a poor concentration span by the child as it makes them more lethargic and sleepy. They also have poor focus and attention span. Mood swings: foods loaded with sugar bring about a high-low in the blood sugar levels which increases sugar cravings again and makes the person irritable and edgy.  Dental problems: junk foods like sweets, candies, colas etc can cause tooth decay and increase chances of cavities in their teeth.  Blood issues: junk foods are low in iron which can reduce blood hemoglobin levels which can be a cause of anemia. This can make the skin, nails, hair weak as hemoglobin is an oxygen supplier to all the body parts. Pcod in women: poor food habits and lack of exercise is the major cause of polycytic ovarian disorder in teenage girls these days. Many college going girls suffer from PCOD.  Junk foods lack the essential nutrients for their healthy reproductive system. How can we bring about a change? Parents play a very important role in shaping the child’s habits and mindset regarding all aspects or their life. The child particularly follows the parents eating habits, so the parents have to make an extra effort to follow healthy habits and influence their child towards it. How can parents change the child’s habits? Take your child to a dietician so that she can explain them about the ill effects of junk foods on their health and personal and professional growth. Do not stock junk food in your fridge and cupboards. Make sure you keep fruits, nuts, salads, dry roasted snacks all around rather than chips, aerated drinks etc. Insist the child eats health breakfast from home like cereals, fruits, nuts, sandwiches etc. so that he doesn’t binge on junk foods due to hunger pangs. Even if you are a working mother, make sure you cook or make some arrangement for healthy lunch options for your child to avoid outside eating. Tell your child to opt for salads and soups before starting their meal especially when they are eating out. Insist your children to meet their friends at a food joint that serves healthy salads, sandwiches, baked foods rather than coffee shops and fast food joints. Cook low fat healthy food options at home for example brown rice biryani, whole wheat burgers, oats dosa, whole wheat frankies, fruit yogurt, low fat pastas etc so that the child does not miss junk food. Dal, sabji, roti etc is a must but try introducing variety to avoid monotony. Bring a healthy twist to a boring routine. Talk to the school committee to change their canteen food options to healthier ones. How can teenagers change their habits? Consider food as an investment for healthy years in your adulthood. Include lot of fiber in your diet like fruits, nuts, raw salads, brown rice, multigrain etc.  1-2 junk meals in a week is permissible. But try to eat all the other meals in a healthy fashion. Carry small meals with you in your bag like apples, almonds, chana kurmura/ khakra/ peanuts etc.  Make sure you have salads prior lunch and dinner to help eliminate toxins and junk from your body. Drink healthy drinks like green tea, jaljeera, fresh lime water instead of black and white aerated drinks. You can also opt for fresh juices and coconut water. Exercise daily as it is proven that exercise increases self consciousness and reduces appetite and attraction towards junk food.  In this age you cannot exempt junk food completely from a teenager’s diet but reducing the frequency and creating awareness is imperative. A little junk here and there would not hurt.  Moderation is the key to a good and healthy life ahead.
Surya Namaskar - For the mind, body and soul
13 March 2015
Surya Namaskar or sun salutation is one of the most highly spoken of forms of exercise today because this ancient yogic ritual can do wonders for your body, mind and soul that no other exercise, spiritual course or meditation can. No wonder it\'s so highly endorsed by all the leading celebrities. Surya Namaskar is usually done in the morning to express gratitude towards the sun. Sun is the source of life for planet earth. Everything we eat, drink or breathe has an element of the sun. Apart from being a great form of exercise, it also helps to build dimensions within us where physical cycles are in sync with the sun cycles. Benefits of Surya Namaskar   Tones up abdominal muscles. Improves digestive system and helps get rid of constipation. Ventilates the lungs and oxygenates the blood. Regularizes the function of all glands. Stimulates the nervous system and improves focus, concentration and memory. Helps you sleep better. Improves skin and hair texture. Prevents menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms. Helps lose weight. Improves muscle, spine and waist flexibility. Helps you feel energetic and adds to the spirit of youthfulness. Helps relax the organs and muscles through deep oxygenation. Helps protect the heart, tone the body and calm the mind. How to go about it? Surya Namaskar is a repetition of 12 postures that need good strength and stamina. So jumpstarting a schedule is definitely not a good idea especially if you haven\'t exercised or stretched your muscles in ages. You need to give your body time to open up by doing some basic exercises, stretches, yoga asana, and flexibility exercises. Once you\'ve reached a basic level of fitness you can start with 3-5 suryanamaskar and then gradually increase it to 10 and 20. The idea is to get each posture right, as the essence of doing this ritual lies in perfection. 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This posture stretches the chest, abdomen and spine and lifts the prana (energy) upwards to the upper parts of the body. 3. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose): Exhale and bend forwards from the waist, keeping the spine erect. Now place both the hands on the floor beside the feet. This helps massage the abdominal organs like liver, kidneys, pancreas, uterus, ovaries and cause a good flow of blood to the brain.  4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose): Inhale, push the left leg back as far as possible and drop it to the ground. The right knee is bent in between both the hands. Lift the spine, open the chest and look up. 5. Parvatasana (Mountain pose): Exhale and bring your left leg back to the right, parallel to the ground and simultaneously push your hips up, keeping the arms and legs straight. Lower your head between the arms forming a mountain-like pose and try touching the heel to the floor. This pose helps strengthen the arms , calves, legs and nerves. Take a deep breath while in the posture. 6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts/Points): Exhale and gently drop both knees to the ground, slowly slide the body down. Bring the chest and chin to the ground. All toes, knees, chest, hands and chin should touch the floor. The butts should be up. Hold your breath. This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms.  7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): On inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward, elbows are bent so that the spine is arched and head is facing up. This posture helps relieve tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves. 8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose): Exhale and resume to posture 5. 9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture): Inhale and bring the right leg in front between the hands. Left leg remains back like posture 4. 10. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot pose): Exhale, bring the left foot forward, join both the legs and resume posture 3. 11. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arm pose): Inhale, raise the arms up and resume posture 2. 12. Pranamasana (Salutation pose): Straighten the body, join arms in front of the chest and resume posture 1. Things to remember Try doing Suryanamaskar in the morning on empty stomach or in the evening 2 hours after a meal. After the whole workout, lie down in Shravasana on the back, with arms and legs relaxed on both the sides. Breathe deeply to feel the calm in the entire body. Pregnant women should avoid doing Suryanamaskar. People with arthritis, osteoporosis, slip disc, knee or back pain should consult a doctor before doing it. Make sure you warm up well before doing the routine to avoid injuries.
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Dietitian Neha Chandna (Ranglani) has 8 years of experience in the field. Food and Health is the matter of interest for most of the people today and realizing the need to create awareness and spread the right information to the society, Neha decided to extensively educate herself in the field of nutrition. As a known fact that diet and exercise go hand in hand, She went a step ahead to certify herself as a REEBOK Aerobic instructor. One of the Most Famous & Online Nutritionists Dietitians in Mumbai (Khar west).Neha Chandna, a dietitian in Mumbai, is a university topper in Dietetics from S.V.T. She has worked as a nutritionist for reputed gyms and fitness trainers and as a consultant with doctors and physiotherapists. She deals with sportsmen, individuals who are obese or victims of lifestyle issues- to name a few- diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis, PCOS etc. and active/exercising sector of society. She educates and conducts seminar/workshops for corporates like banks (HDFC & Standard Chartered Bank), BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living. She also takes workshops on Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation. Neha Chandna also writes articles for magazines and newspapers like New Woman, Beauty and salon, Hello Mumbai, the afternoon etc. She has also done a couple of interviews for TV9 channel. She is an online consultant for a health social networking website www.ihealthu.com. Dietician Neha Chandna is one of the Best Dietician / nutritionist in Khar west , Mumbai.Neha Chandna is a Famous Nutritionist in Khar west & a famous nutritionist in Mumbai for weight loss diet chart and for other diet plan services. Popular dietcian in Mumbai. Consult her for best online Diet charts in Mumbai. 
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