Written for students, by students!

Did you know that only 14 percent of children aged 5-11 years old get enough exercise every day? (participACTION 2013) And that’s children – the ones who are supposedly full of energy! That percentage drops to a shocking five percent for teenagers aged 12-17 years old (participACTION 2013). Between balancing school, friends, family, and possibly a part-time job, getting enough exercise can seem challenging for teens.

Due to work, school, and social life, many adolescents drop out of sports, making it difficult to get moving. It’s recommended that teenagers get at least one hour of exercise every day, but unfortunately, fitness has been put on the back burner – or so it seems. Here are five simple tips to squeeze physical activity back into your day:

  1. Don’t get a ride! If you live within three kilometres of your destination, consider walking instead of driving. It’ll save on gas, which saves money and the environment, (bonus!) and you’ll get some exercise. You can even try speed walking to get more of a workout. Aside from walking, you can also try other modes of transportation such as biking or skateboarding.
  1. Sneak exercise in. Keep in mind that you should try to minimize screen time; time spent in front of a screen is time that could be spent exercising. Sneak simple exercises into your routine, for example, when you’re watching TV or doing homework. A few examples of uncomplicated exercises are crunches, leg lifts, arm circles, chair dips, knee tucks, leg extensions, and more. You may think you look silly, but in the long run, you’re helping your body by working your muscles.
  1. Join a sport. Lunchtime intramurals, after-school sports, and community sports teams are all great ways to incorporate more exercise into your everyday life. If you enjoy sports, consider joining a team. Even if you aren’t the best player, non-competitive teams are a great way to go – they’re fun!
  1. Start small. If you’re getting back into exercise, don’t immediately throw advanced moves at your body; it takes time for your body to adjust. If you begin with difficult exercises, you will tire easily, resulting in a higher chance of quitting. Start off by doing small exercises and working your way up to more challenging moves, but keep it up – it will be worth it to see your progress.
  1. Find a buddy. Everything is more fun with a friend! Convince someone you know to exercise with you so you can encourage them and they can encourage you. This way, you’ll both stay motivated and it’ll be more enjoyable for everyone.

The most difficult part about adding physical activity into your life is choosing which activities to do. All teenagers are busy, but time-management is an essential part of life, and it’s important to make time for the things that matter, which in this case, is you.

With data and information from: ParticipACTION and Prevention.com.

Article by Koral Lambert.