Promoting Physical Health And Wellness In Young Teens

Danielle Herschitz

The teenage years are a tumultuous time.

Physical and emotional changes come quickly as the result of puberty — growth spurts, body hair, acne, and new types of feelings that can be confusing and difficult.

That’s why promoting wellness and physical health in young teens is so essential. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 24% of those between the ages of 6 and 17 get the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Those who are primarily physically inactive drastically increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It even increases the risk of developing cancer, including breast, lung, and colon cancers.

Danielle Herschitz discusses more below on how to make sure young teens get the right amount of physical activity they need to thrive — and the role wellness plays in proper development.

The Importance of Physical Health

Being physically active should be a priority for all ages, but it’s especially essential for pre-teens and teenagers.

The goal is to encourage some form of physical activity every day. Physically, it helps teens maintain healthy weights, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps them develop strong bones and muscles and a good posture.

It boosts a teenager’s immune system and sets them on a path to proper lung and cardiovascular health.

There are benefits to a teen’s well-being and mental health as well. Promoting physical activity helps improve memory, breaks up long stretches of sitting, helps young teens develop skills such as self-confidence, and reduces stress and anxiety.

Practicing good physical health and wellness strategies also improves social skills at a time when children are particularly vulnerable.

The Road to Physical Wellness

There are many different ways to be a physical wellness mentor for teenagers. Step one: eschew a tendency to sedentary behavior.

Simply getting teens to move more is key. Any type of movement helps but sustained physical activity, even just at a moderate level, goes a long way to help a teenager’s well-being. A focus on exercising that involves light weight training helps teenagers build muscle and maintain healthy bones, even just two to three times a week.

Instilling the importance of physical activity early on can counteract the impact of lower metabolism as we age. As we get older, fewer calories are burned as they used to, and foods are broken down differently. Lean muscle is lost quickly unless exercise stays a priority.

Danielle Herschitz

Making Better Choices

A big part of promoting wellness at any age is committing to eating a healthy diet.

Food choices become food habits around the pre-teen years. Along with exercise, healthy eating is one of the best ways to prevent certain health problems and diseases.

While official diet guidelines often go through changes every few years, the common advice includes limiting the intake of added sugars, avoiding high amounts of high-calorie solid fats, and limiting salt, such as the kind found in highly processed foods.

And Don’t Forget Sleep

Teenagers are often criticized for sleeping too much — but getting the right amount of sleep is vital for teens to maintain good physical health.

Teenagers need somewhere between 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night to be at their best and it’s best to keep regular sleep patterns, such as going to bed and getting up at about the same times every day of the week.

Danielle Herschitz
Danielle Herschitz