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In conjunction with “Youth Sports Safety Month,” the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion has compiled five recommendations for teenagers who are interested in launching a fitness routine.
The average teenager’s schedule is filled by juggling school, work, post-high school plans, family life, dating, friends and studying. It doesn’t leave much time for physical fitness, but since one out of three kids in the United States is considered overweight or obese, health and wellness of teens is a topic that can’t be ignored. Not only will participating in fitness activities help teens maintain a healthy weight, it also combats stress and depression, boosts energy levels and builds confidence.
But getting teens on board the fitness train is only the first step – injury prevention education and preparation are also critical. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 7.3 million high school students annually partake in physical fitness by participating in organized sports. And since, according to the Centers for Disease Control, high school athletics account for more than 2 million injuries annually, preventing traumatic injuries should be top of mind for all parents and active teens.
During April’s “Youth Sports Safety Month,” the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion has identified five essential habits that should be adopted by teenagers who are beginning to pursue a physically fit lifestyle:
1. Start small. All worthy accomplishments take time to achieve, and so does physical fitness. When teenagers begin, they shouldn’t expect massive results to happen overnight. Steady marked improvements are normal, however, when teens set reasonable goals and stick to their workout schedules. Setting smaller goals will allow participants to regularly meet and celebrate their achievements, reducing the likelihood of discouragement when larger goals aren’t rapidly attained.
2. Eat healthy. A lot of people, young and old, think that exercise is free pass to eat whatever they please. The most physically fit people know, however, that fitness is a whole body experience, including food consumption. People who start healthy eating habits in their teens are more likely to maintain those habits when they’re older, giving them a life-long fitness advantage. A few suggestions include: eat a daily healthy breakfast, cut down on processed foods, enjoy an endless amount of raw vegetables, consume lean proteins, and eat smaller meals five to six times per day.
3. Hydrate properly. The human body is, on average, made up of over 50% water. It’s an essential ingredient under normal circumstances, but when exercise and increased perspiration is involved, hydrating is even more crucial. Not only should a person drink water throughout their regular day, they should also stay reasonably hydrated during their workout. Remember that when thirst occurs, a person is already dehydrated, so keep a glass or bottle of water handy at all times.
4. Don’t skip on sleep. Teen bodies are still in flux, growing and changing – this requires a lot of sleep. When adding exercise into the mix, the body needs even more rest so it can properly repair and rebuild muscles. Teenagers should strive for at least eight hours of quality sleep every night.
5. Partner up. It’s easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed when tackling a new challenge like physical fitness, so find a friend, classmate or family member to join in the activity. Not only does the buddy system make the routines more enjoyable, partners have the advantage of being able to assist one another during difficult exercises and help each other maintain proper form to avoid injury.
Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at http://www.medinmotion.com.