23 Sep How to get more active as a teenager?
Are you feeling refreshed, alert and wide awake?
If you’ve been following The Spark to Your Success Blog series and completing our little challenges, you’ll understand the importance of making better eating choices, staying hydrated and sleeping like a baby for 8 to 10 hours every night. Now it’s time to add the last element to these daily habits for success as we answer the question of how to get more active as a teenager.
“Happiness is a state of activity.”
Change your mindset
How do you feel about getting more active? You might realise that exercise is a good thing but you don’t like to do it. Sometimes, exercising in public can be intimidating and you may feel self-conscious that people are looking at you. You’re not alone. Lots of young (and old) people feel like this.
Maybe you love exercise and like to get active on a regular basis. If so, keep reading and please feel free to let us know about your own strategies, hints and tips. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
One of the first questions to ask is, what’s the recommended amount of daily exercise? The answer may surprise you – it certainly surprised me. NHS England says that young people aged 5-18 years should have 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
If the idea of a full hour of exercise is daunting, then hear me out. We can start by making it a fun challenge.
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being.”
Turn it into a game
Let’s gamify it. Treating exercise like a game where you win points and progress to the next level is a slightly different way of looking at things, but it could work for you.
If you don’t currently do much exercise, set your beginner level challenge at 20 minutes a day.
If you think you’re at an intermediate level, aim for 40 minutes. Those at superstar level should go for 60 minutes and those at superhero level should try and complete 90 minutes of exercise a day.
Wherever you are, make a choice and write it down:
Next, start earning points for doing exercise. Award yourself one point per minute for moderate exercise, two points for strengthening exercises and three points per minute of vigorous exercise.
Finally, give yourself some bonus points:
- 50 bonus points for exercising every day for three consecutive days
- 100 bonus points for exercising every day for five consecutive days
- 200 bonus points for exercising every day for seven days
How many points can you score in a week?
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
Billie Jean King
Find your groove and make it fun
So, what counts as moderate exercise, what counts as strengthening exercise and what counts as vigorous exercise?
- Moderate exercises
Moderate exercise might include walking fast to and from school, college, uni or work. Walk the dog, take your baby brother or sister out for a stroll or get off the bus a stop early.
Collect points for riding your scooter, getting on your skateboard or biking on the flat. You could put on your favourite music and have a dance, go tenpin bowling or head to the park and play Frisbee – anything at all that gets you up and moving, leaves you a little out of breath but so that you can still easily have a conversation.
For every minute you complete, you’ve just earned yourself one point.
- Strengthening exercises
Strengthening activities build strong bones and muscle. Think swinging on the playground bars, press ups, sit ups, chin ups, climbing a rope or climbing a tree, gymnastics or trampolining…the list goes on.
You could consider using free weights or resistance bands. Whatever you choose, remember that strengthening activities are two points per minute.
- Vigorous exercise
Vigorous exercise means those activities that get you sweating, make you feel out of breath and increase your heart rate. You may not do them for as long as other types of activity (but you do get three points per minute).
You could try:
- Running upstairs
- Cycling up hills
- Swimming as fast as you can
- HIIT training (high intensity interval training)
Remember that if you’re not a fan of team sports or going to the gym or you’re not confident enough to join a class, there are so many ways that you can still have fun being active at home. You can exercise in private, in your room if you need to. No one else needs to see or know.
Make a start today
What’s stopping you from starting right now? Are you at beginner, intermediate, superstar or superhero level? Get adding up your points, get active and don’t forget that you get extra bonus points for consecutive days.
You’ll soon be eating, drinking, sleeping and exercising your way to an even more powerful and confident you.
“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”
Choose the life you want to lead
How active you are is a choice, but I guarantee the more active you are the more nourished you will feel in your mind and your body.
Please do share your exercises successes. What works for you and how are you progressing. Connect with me and other readers on social media and please leave your comments and questions. We’re here to help everyone.
Until next time, stay nourished, active and happy.