How do I Choose the Best Teen Workout?

Bill LaFleur

The best teen workout would typically be the one that works best for the teen in question. One teen may be a high school athlete wanting to improve his or her performance for a specific sport, another may want to lose a little weight for the prom, and yet another may despise working out altogether. The key generally is to find out what the teen is interested in and then tailor the workout to the teen.

Sports, like soccer, can provide a good workout for teens without the potential boredom of a standard gym routine.
Sports, like soccer, can provide a good workout for teens without the potential boredom of a standard gym routine.

For an athlete, a weight-resistance program coupled with plyometrics drills could be good for building strength and power. To burn off a little fat for the big dance, a teen might consider walking at a good pace for 30 minutes three times a week; used in tandem with a good diet, it could help remove the excess pounds. For the teen who resides in the virtual world where exercise is foreign, there is now a virtual-world solution to get the blood flowing and muscles burning without even having to look away from the glow of an screen — the Wii Fit™.

Tennis is a good bone-strengthening exercise for teens.
Tennis is a good bone-strengthening exercise for teens.

Typically, the first step in figuring out the best teen workout is a physical and mental assessment. For example, if a teen is significantly overweight, out of shape, and loses his or her focus easily, the less-is-more approach may be best. Low impact aerobic exercising, such as on a recumbent bicycle, can minimize stress to the joints while providing a reasonably comfortable way of burning calories and gently improving the cardiovascular system. A modest weight-training program can then be put into motion to help rebuild the metabolism, which generally is the long-term key to effective weight control.

Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout and have fun.
Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout and have fun.

The amount of weights for a teen workout typically should be kept light and the repetitions high in the beginning, usually in the 12 to 15 repetition range, thereby allowing the body to adjust to the new demands placed on it. As the teen progresses, the weights can be increased and the reps decreased accordingly for greater muscle gains. For optimal results, the truly overweight teen’s diet should be evaluated by a nutritionist.

Aerobic fitness equipment like a trampoline can benefit the entire family.
Aerobic fitness equipment like a trampoline can benefit the entire family.

If the teen is in reasonably good shape but thinks the whole workout thing is boring, he or she could engage in a sport, such as surfing, snowboarding, aerobic dancing, basketball, soccer, or tennis. For the cyber-minded teen, the Wii Fit™, with all its interactive arsenal of fitness challenges, could get him or her up and moving. Simply by having fun, the engaged teenager could achieve the American Heart Association’s suggestion that teens raise their heart rates for 20 minutes without stopping, three or more times a week.

Aerobic exercise can help with teen weight loss.
Aerobic exercise can help with teen weight loss.

Teen athletes typically will gravitate toward a gym. With a smorgasbord of workout tools available — barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, stack machines, medicine balls, foam rollers, and mini-trampolines — the dedicated teen likely will never run out of equipment with which to challenge him- or herself. The one factor to be aware of with a teen workout is not letting the teen over-train — he or she should receive proper rest between sessions to maximize the fitness gains and avoid injuries.

A high school athlete should find a workout routine that's conducive to the sport they play.
A high school athlete should find a workout routine that's conducive to the sport they play.
A teen who is already healthy may consider adding running to their exercise routine.
A teen who is already healthy may consider adding running to their exercise routine.
Teens who are new to aerobic activity might benefit from trying step aerobics.
Teens who are new to aerobic activity might benefit from trying step aerobics.

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Discussion Comments

anon77015

I like the common sense approach -- there is no "one size fits all" workout for any individual. This writer gives alternatives to fit the needs of the particular person.

anon77014

great advice. The writer seems very knowledgeable.

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