Physical activity is vital for living a long healthy life, and yet for many teenage girls, it’s the last thing they want to spend their time doing. Studies have shown teenage girls are twice as likely to not exercise as teenage boys, despite the figures being comparative before the age of 12. This drop-off in physical activity can have detrimental short and long term effects, with many young women never coming back to physical activity once they stop.
Girls Make your Move is a free initiative from the federal government to encourage young women to participate in physical activity regardless of shape, ethnicity or sporting abilities. Across Australia organisations like No Lights No Lycra, the AFLW, Netfit are teaming up with the government to provide a safe space for teenage girls to exercise free of judgement and to completely be themselves. Football and netball clinics, colour runs and free dancing in the dark parties will be taking place for girls age 12-19 across Australia between March and May.
As teens transition from child to adulthood they can start to feel all sorts of pressures both socially and at home. Puberty can be a daunting time, particularly for girls with the onset of menstruation, who feel they must adhere to impossible beauty standards. This is compounded in our social-media dominated visual culture, where worth is defined by a Snapchat selfie. The drop-off in taking part in physical exercise and activity can have long-term negative effects, not to mention that exercise is a great way for teenagers to relieve stress, build mental well-being and feel socially included.
Below are some points to help educate your teens about the benefits exercise can have on their life.
Increases self Esteem
Aside from the obvious outcome of exercise to looking trim, toned and slim studies have shown regular exercise lowers your risk of chronic disease and blood pressure, strengthens your heart and bones and can help with depression and anxiety. Exercise can boost your oxygen and energy levels not only chemically leaving you feeling better, physically looking fitter but the sense of achievement you can feel when you have set out and achieved a goal can boost one’s self esteem.
Fights depression and stress
Per some studies exercising can be as effective as medication. Working with your doctor exercise can improve concentration and alertness, reduce fatigue and promote healthy cognitive functionality. When we get stressed the effect it has on your brain can be felt all over your body due to its connectivity to the nerve cells, hence stress and anxiety effecting your entire body. Exercise can produce endorphins which are chemicals in your brain that act as natural pain killers that can enhance your mood and help you sleep.
Promotes healthy ways to have fun and socialise
There are so many ways you can exercise. Going for a walk or run by yourself or with a friend or pet, joining a gym or a class of some sort (f45, yoga, Pilates or karate etc.) A great way to exercise is to join a local sports team. You are instantly part of a community, are more accountable to show up to train and play the game so not to let your team members down. Most importantly for teenagers it creates a fun and healthy way for them to interact with friends and be social. Keeping them healthy and out of other recreational hazards such as alcohol & drugs.
Helps teens learn how to work hard for a goal
In life, there are so many goals we have. Getting teenagers involved in sport is a healthy and fun way to teach them how to set a goal and work step by step to achieve it. As they work towards their goal they start to see their hard work paying off and feel a sense of achievement. As they grow up they can learn in their adult years how to apply this strategy to other areas in their life.
More isn’t better
Studies have shown even exercising 20-30 mins a day with something you enjoy doing can help you stay fit, confident and in shape. 30 Mins of moderate exercise releases beta-endorphins which increase well-being and feeling good whilst also lowering cortisol a hormone associated with anxiety and stress. So even just getting out there for 20-30 mins a day doing something you or your teen enjoys can leave you feeling and looking good.
So no matter you or your teens shape, ethnicity, skills and talents it’s time to get out there and enjoy the benefits of moving your body.