According to the experts, there are many social benefits of physical activity for teens. Everyone knows the health benefits, such as weight control, lowered blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular health, and because of that, the social benefits tend to take a back seat.
What Type of Physical Activity Should Teens Be Engaging In?
Studies say that as children get older, they're less likely to engage in physical activity. They need to know that as they grow, their activity level shouldn't drop off. Yet once you tell a teen they should be doing some type of exercise, they always want to know how much they should be doing. This can either be in the form of sports, or more individual fun, such as rollerblading or dancing.
- Moderate Physical Activity - This is the cardiovascular level of taking a brisk walk. Teens should do this five or more days a week, for thirty minutes a day, in at least ten-minute segments.
- Vigorous Physical Activity - This is the cardiovascular level of jogging. Teens should do this level of activity three or more days a week for at least a 20-minute duration.
The Social Benefits of Physical Activity for Teens
When it comes to exercise, many teens want to know what's in it for them. While some teens will do it solely for the physical benefits, not all will. They'll appreciate knowing they can reap other benefits as well, ones that can help them socially.
- Improve Self Image - No matter if they're heavy or thin, teens often have a very poor self image. They tend to think everyone else is more attractive. Through regular physical activity, they'll improve so much physically, that even if they don't see the good results, others will certainly notice. Physical activity helps more than just dress size; active teens will see improvement in other things as well, such as skin.
- Increase Self-Esteem - While self image tends to be about how teens view themselves when they look in a mirror, self-esteem is how they view themselves as people. It's hard not to feel good about yourself if you're doing something that will make you healthier in the long run.
- Reduce Stress - Not only does regular physical activity give people more energy throughout their day, it also gets their endorphins moving. Teens are more stressed out than ever with so many demands on their time and so much pressure from so many different sources. That release of the endorphins gives them that natural high, which might stop them from seeking drugs and alcohol to get a very different type of high.
- Make Friends - Many forms of physical activity can be helpful for teens looking to meet new people. If their preferred physical activity is in organized sports, that team aspect will bring teens many new friends. Yet even if teens are participating in an individual activity, such as rollerblading or hiking, there are other teens out there rollerblading or hiking as well.
- Improve Grades - It only stands to reason that with all the other social benefits of physical activity for teens, they end up improving their grades as well. If they feel better about the way they look and who they are as individuals, are less stressed, and are making new friends, those good grades are right around the corner.
The Physically Active Teen
Teens who are engaging regularly in physical activity get all those obvious physical benefits as well as all the not-so-obvious social benefits. Teens can have a tendency to be very sullen, but if adults encourage them to get moving, get outside, and get off the computer or cell phone, they stand to gain so much.