Physical Activity

Physical activity is important, especially in the teenage years, as it helps with proper growth and development. It also improves mental health and cognitive function. However, in modern society, teens tend to be less involved in physical activities, which can be detrimental for their health.

Facts on Physical Activity

  • Only 24% of children aged 6-17 engage in the recommended 1 hour hour of physical activity per day.

  • Only half of high school students attended physical education classes each week in 2017

  • 15.5% of high schoolers were obese in 2019.

Physical Activity Tips

Aerobic (cardio): most of your 60 minutes per day of excercise should be aerobic. This includes:

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Walking/running

  • Rowing

Muscle/bone strengthening: include it in your 60 minutes or more of exercise at least 3 days a week.

  • Weightlifting

  • Push-ups

  • Sit-ups

  • Squats

  • Climbing

  • Jump rope

Effects of Physical Inactivity

  • Increased risk of obesity

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

  • Increased risk of cancers

    • Breast cancer

    • Colon cancer

    • Endometrial cancer

    • Lung cancer

  • Osteoporosis

Becoming More Physically Active

  • Limit screen time: Limit the time spent surfing the web, playing video games, watching TV, etc. to no more than 2 hours per day.

  • Join a sports team or a gym

  • Make an excercise routine: aim for 60 minutes of excercise per day.

  • Do what you enjoy: any excercise you do is good, so the one you enjoy the most will be most likely what you will do on a regular basis.

The benefits of becoming more physically active:

  • Improved coordination

  • Improved mental health

  • Stress management

  • Social interaction

  • Teamwork

  • Improved cognitive function

  • Improved sleep

  • Improved physical health, short and long term

Asking the Experts

Interview with:

Coach Michael Sessa

Physical Education Teacher

American Heritage School

Q: How important do you think physical activity is for teens?

A: I think physical activity is incredibly important because it greatly affects and contributes to, not only the physical well being of teenagers, but the social and emotional well being, also. Of course, physical activity helps muscle growth and development while aiding in the growth of one’s height and weight as the teen goes through their high school years.

Moreover, physical activity also promotes self esteem, self confidence, and the ability to understand and develop social skills, the ability to express oneself in a constructive and positive way, and the ability to understand the importance of self health, happiness, and the confidence to positively contribute to society.

Physical activity also helps teens to deal with their stresses and anxieties, overcome obstacles, and handle life’s difficulties. Teens can use physical activity as an outlet to manage pressures, disappointments and failures.

Overall, physical activity is a vital part of a teen’s physical, mental, social, and emotional health.

Q: What are good ways for teens to stay physically active?

A: Play. Doesn’t have to be anything organized. Play with friends, make up games and activities. If you like specific activities or sports, join organizations.

Get out of the house. Set limits to TV viewing and get off of the phone/social media.

Sleep. A rested body will be able to be more active throughout the day.

Eat Well. Body needs fuel to run properly