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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 2 - March/April 2014

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Impact of Physical Activities on Teens

By Marina Passalaris

Being active is an important part of a teen's daily routine. It's a great way to spend time with friends, meet new people, feel good and break up long stretches of sitting and studying.

With the ever-expanding social media addiction, teens are devoting more time on screen activities and less on physical activity.

Although families are aware that not getting enough physical activity can put each member at risk of being overweight, developing high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, these are not acting as major incentives for adopting systematic physical activity.

Physical activity is important for everybody, including all teenagers, but especially for teen girls who are generally less active than boys the same age.

As teens juggle the transition from primary school to high school there are other pressures that come with it - socially, at home, and at school.
Issues such as body image, the onset of menstruation, and general feelings of insecurity about the changing body can surface in the teen years.

Physical activity sometimes takes a back seat to other priorities. However, physical activity is an important part of health and wellbeing, and in setting a habit for remaining active as they grow up.

Australian guidelines recommend children aged 5-18 years have at least
60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Being active every day can help:

  • Improve heart health & fitness
  • Develop strong muscles, bones & good posture
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve concentration & memory
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve sleep

Teens that are active are less likely to turn to drugs, alcohol or any other destructive behaviour when life gets tough. They tend to use physical activities as their stress release instead.

It is important that the family set the tone for regular physical activities. Make time together as a family to go for walks, go to the beach, play tennis, as these set firm foundations for physical activity and show kids from a young age that participating in any form of exercise can be fun.

It's important for parents to imbue in teens that physical activity isn't just about winning in competitive sports. Non competitive activities that allow teens to socialise in a positive way can help them feel good about having a go, rather than feeling pressure to be the best.

Partaking in sports is a great grounding. It stops the head chatter and unplugs teens from the 24/7 world in which they have become so accustomed to.

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." Jim Rohn

About Marina Passalaris

Marina Passalaris is the Founder of Beautiful Minds, an Author, Teen Expert and Radio Presenter. Beautiful Minds, a program for girls aged 11-17, that helps teens discover who they are through life skills, fun and inspiration. One of the things Marina instills in teenage girls is that in life, when things get stressful, it is imperative to have free activities one can do to make them feel better about themselves. Marina and her team run courses in 8 locations around Australia.

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