The Importance of Physical Activity in Youth

by Michael

The ongoing rise of mental health issues among youth is interlinked with the decline in playing opportunities among kids & teens. Although our society has started to learn the importance of physical activities in childhood development of physical, social cognitive & emotional skills teens have been minuses of this equation. For teens, it is equally critical to stay physically as for the younger kids & it’s more challenging to incorporate it in their hectic lives. We must make sure that teens develop fitness and workout habits at an early age of development so it will keep them fit & happy for upcoming years. 

A sedentary lifestyle is more common among adults these days than ever.  They spent very little time doing physical activity. Most of their day is spent on the computer, watching television, or playing video games. Indulging yourself in physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to involve yourself in rigorous activity. People can stay fit by doing everyday activities or a little workout at their home. 

Consequences of Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity can cause adverse effects on health. It can cause energy imbalance which makes you obese and overweight. A sedentary lifestyle also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obesity & glucose intolerance. Not moving enough can develop type 2 diabetes. While increasing the risk of terminal diseases such as colon, breast, endometrial & lung cancers. Also, a sedentary lifestyle can result in low bone density which can end in osteoporosis. 

Benefits of Doing Physical activity

Following are the benefits that your child will reap by performing physical activity after getting in workout clothes. 

  1. Strengthens your heart

Like all other muscle groups in the body, the human heart is also a muscle, its performance increases when you challenge it regularly by working out. As you get moving your heartbeat increases. Making more blood pump through. Your heart responds to physical activities by becoming stronger & more efficient. Strengthened heart muscle helps in warding off cardiovascular disease. 

Working out regularly reduces harmful cholesterol & fat content in the person’s blood. The flexibility of your heart walls & blood vessels increases, while your blood pressure stays in control this reduces the risk of getting a heat stroke. 

2) Strengthen your lungs

 Working hard increases lung capacity and their efficiency in moving air in and out of the body. As a result, more oxygen is drawn into the body and more carbon dioxide and other waste gases are expelled. Regular exercise helps prevent the decline in oxygen intake that occurs naturally with age or as a result of inactivity.

3) Reduces the blood sugar level

Exercise regularly prevents the sugar from accumulating in your blood and triggers muscles for taking up the glucose from your bloodstream & utilizing it for supplying energy. It reduces the person’s risk of developing diabetes.

4) Controls weight

When a person leads a sedentary lifestyle, he tends to consume more calories than required. The unused amount of calories accumulates fat. A physically active person might encounter a calorie deficit that takes away fat & lowers weight. Controlled weight plays a good role for your heart muscles & provides benefits to people who have diabetes.

5) Strengthens your bones

Same as your muscles grow strengthened and stronger while you perform a physical activity your bones also respond in the same manner by becoming stronger. Most adults tend to lose their bone mass in their early 20s, but the people who work out regularly delay this natural process. Strengthened bones prevent osteoporosis. 

6) Improved relationships

If an adult feels lonely & unable to make friends, performing physical activities together gives them a sense of companionship. An adult with social anxiety​ can face difficulty when it comes to making a group environment or focus. Playing sports together can help in relieving this social pressure. Sharing experiences, developing rapport & working for common goals help kids focus & develop confidence for speaking up in the class. This helps in fostering friendships.

7) Improved body image 

When the child gets to know it’s fun to walk, dance, jump, stretch run & play they want to keep on enjoying this stage of being active throughout their life. Feeling & appreciating what the body is capable of doing, compared to how it functions is an amazing way for the child to develop a positive body image & self-esteem. Developing awareness in your child during the early stages of their lives is an effective way of boosting their self-image. 

 

8) Mental health Benefits

Along with physical activity, several mental benefits come with regular physical activity. As fun as a teenager is, it’s equally stressful. The academic pressure, maintaining grades, tests & college applications, societal pressure of making friends & personal pressure for giving time to the ideas of your own. While establishing independence from parents. It can be a lot of stress to deal with altogether. Luckily performing physical activity can help in relieving this stress. 

Getting active physically makes your brain release endorphins. It’s a chemical that boosts happiness. Working out regularly not only keeps you healthier but happier as well. 

Establishing a workout plan

Young adults must perform at least 60 mins of moderate physical activity for maintaining good health & fitness & for maintaining a healthy weight as they grow. Physical activity includes muscle-strengthening, aerobic & bone-strengthening workouts. Parents should encourage teens to limit their screen time. Doing regular physical activity boosts the teen’s capacity of performing an exercise.

Aerobic exercises are continuous activities that cause heart rate & breathing rate to get elevated. 

How to get started with  

  • Start doing exercise gradually:

Do not rush in or be too fast to perform any exercise. Follow the general rule, start by performing an activity at the pace that you are able to keep the conversation going on while you perform it but not being able to sing. Keep in your mind that all types of physical activity performed at any pace is beneficial. You can get started by climbing the stairs then taking the escalator or doing a 5 – 10 min walk. As you get used to it you can gradually increase your pace and time. Your progress can be slow or you can have a real hard time when it comes to seeing benefits. They have to be patient and consistent. Do not give up, keep on going with the routine and once you have set for yourself soon you will start seeing the effects. 

  • Making it social

Doing exercise with a group of your friends or your family can be inspiring, helpful & fun if you work out with a friend. Letting someone else come in with you increases the motivation & offers you the opportunity of catching up socially. 

  • Try Making it a part of your routine

With the hectic life schedule, including optimum physical activity in your daily routine can be difficult. You can spare a particular slot i.e before dinner or after for exercising, best time to do it is in the early morning try to spare an extra 10 minutes of your morning for working out. Or you can try walking to your school if it’s a couple of miles away rather than catching the bus. 

  • Making it fun

If you are choosing something you enjoy, then being active & exercising can not only be the easier but a fun part of the day. It’s not necessary that you have to go to a fitness center. You can catch up with your friends and play soccer or basketball. All that helps in shedding calories and keeps you fit. 

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