Exercise for Teenagers: What Parents Should Know

Oct 26, 2023 | Parenting

Share this story now

Exercise for teenagers is a great way to help your children become healthy adults. However, your kids may not need to exercise as long as you think to get the full benefit.

New research claims it doesn’t take long for teens to get the physical activity they need. They just have to be willing to sweat for it.

How Much Exercise Should Teens Get Compared to Adults?

For adults, 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise leads to improved health. Recent research published in Pediatrics found that teens should push themselves a little harder.

According to the findings, teenagers should exercise “vigorously” every day. With vigorous exercise, your teen will:

  • Become red in the face
  • Pant
  • Sweat

The research also found that intense exercise for teens only has to last 20 minutes a day. In the study, once teens reach the 20-minute mark, the benefits from the workout plateaued. Working out longer didn’t seem to give any added benefit.

Benefits of 20 Intense Minutes

Though short, these 20-minute exercise sessions for teenagers reap lifelong rewards. Regular exercise early in life helps build habits that carry over into adulthood. Such habits set your teen up to enjoy good health throughout life.

A few benefits of regular exercise your teen can enjoy include:

  • Better mental health
  • Enhanced academic performance due to better ability to focus and remember information
  • Improved ability to reduce body fat and obtain and maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduced risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions

Choosing Exercises for Teenagers

The teens in the study published in Pediatrics participated in aerobic activity — in this case, it was running.

Though aerobic exercise was studied, other types of exercise for teenagers reap rewards. A well-rounded exercise program should also include strength training.

When teens lift weights, they build stronger bones and muscles. This type of exercise can help burn more calories and increase muscle mass and muscle strength. These benefits help teens better manage their weight, which reduces their risk for potential health problems.

To fit more exercise into your teen’s life, pay attention to how they exercise. What exercises does your teenager enjoy? If something gets your teen moving vigorously for at least 20 minutes, that’s the perfect exercise for your teen.

Options include:

  • Cross-training in the weight room
  • Going outside or hitting the treadmill to run a few miles
  • Playing basketball, soccer or another sport that involves lots of running

Need help getting your teen moving? Connect with an exceptional pediatric provider to get started.

Get our articles delivered straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like…