Fitness and sports often play a key role in the health of developing teens. Many teens may focus on one area of activity and neglect others. Some teens may not understand dietary requirements for fitness, and some teens may wish to participate in many different team events. The benefits of participation greatly outweigh the risks for most teens, helping them to develop both physical and social skills that can last a lifetime. Programs such as school sports and the United States’ presidential fitness challenge can put teens on the right track. Sports for teens and fitness programs tailored for that age group can provide the following benefits:
- Excellent overall health
- Improved self-confidence
- Leadership abilities
Many teens become focused on their outward appearance during their adolescent years. Regular exercise can enhance the overall appearance of many teens, and sports designed to tone muscles, promote strength or flexibility, and increase cardiovascular performance can also improve this outward appearance. Many teens participate in sporting activities as regular exercise regimens are much easier when performed as part of a social or team event. Physical activity can reduce instances of many skin conditions, help to maintain balance and help a teen look good in a variety of situations.
Appearance isn’t all that matters. Many teens find themselves gaining self-confidence and developing their leadership attributes when they engage in sports and fitness activities. The relationships built during these events can last for years, and many adolescents will build a group of friends that will last a lifetime from these interactions. School teamsmay offer the bulk of these activities, and many local school districts have leagues that involve students from many different backgrounds and regions of the district. Some teens may seek additional fitness and sports activities outside of their schools, enrolling in local city, county or state programs and competitions.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that, as recently as 2004, approximately 17.4 percent of teens in America were overweight. Overweight teens face a variety of physical and social challenges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day for all children and teens. This guideline exists to reduce instances of sedentary lifestyles and can help to promote physically healthy life choices in their place. Modern teens may struggle to work fitness and sports into their busy schedules but they should be made a priority.
The long-term benefits of fitness and sports for teens can make a major difference in the overall quality of their lives. Fitness activities are closely linked to the development of strong muscles and boneswhich can help to prevent injuries. Confidence and leadership skills developed during this period can assist a teen as they finish their education and enter the workforce. Teamwork and social skills advanced through fitness and sports activities translate well in many modern work environments as well.