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The Importance of Physical Activity for Teenagers

Updated: Jul 3



Teenagers need a mix of vigorous, moderate and light physical activity every day for their health and wellbeing.

The physical and health benefits include:

— Improves heart and lung health
— Boosts immune system
— Develops strong muscles and bones
— Helps posture
— Maintains a healthy weight
— Reduces risk of developing high blood pressure

The mental and social benefits include:

— Breaking up long periods of sitting, studying or playing on technology
— Improves concentration and memory
— Helps with learning new skills
— Improves self-confidence
— Reduces stress and risk of developing anxiety and depression
— Improves sleep
— Improves social skills and help with making and keeping friendships
— Builds healthy habits that they can carry throughout their life

Moderate to vigorous physical activity

It is recommended that teenagers do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily. This can be a few shorter bursts of activity throughout the day rather than 60 minutes at one time. Figuring out what your child is interested in is a game changer is getting them motivated and excited to be active. Whether it’s joining a team sport, swimming, bike riding, surfing, skating or dancing, encouraging your child to try new things will help them find their passions.

Muscle strengthening

Muscle and bone strengthening is recommended as part of the daily 60 at least 3 times per week. Activities could include rock climbing, yoga, running, team sports, push ups or swinging on monkey bars.

Light physical activity

When your teen is not doing moderate or vigorous physical activity, sleeping or resting, they should be doing light physical activity. This can look like walking to school or walking the dog, going to the park with friends, helping with chores around the house, exploring with friends or building things. This is where teenagers should be spending a lot of their time building new skills, getting outdoors, socialising and being mentally stimulated. If your teen spends too much time on their technology or being sedentary then try to encourage more light physical activity.

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