Home > Fit Teens > Aerobic Fitness for Teens

Aerobic Fitness for Teens

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 22 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Fitness For Teens Aerobic Fitness For

Many teens express concerns about their appearance and sometimes those who work out and watch their diets do so strictly for aesthetic reasons. Rarely do they cite the health of their cardiovascular and respiratory systems as the reasons that they exercise, but teens are on the brink of adulthood and should begin to consider their long term health.

What is Aerobic Fitness?

Aerobic means "with oxygen," and aerobic fitness refers to the use of oxygen by muscles. In order for a workout to be aerobic, activity must be sustained for an extended period of time, usually at a moderate level, although high intensity workouts can certainly be aerobic as long as they incorporate the types of activity that gets the blood pumping and increases respiration. Weight training and running sprints are not aerobic, but swimming, cycling, or running distances are. The benefits of aerobic exercise cannot be understated; truly healthy bodies not only look good, but function at their best, as well.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Teens (as well as adults) can reap priceless benefits from paying attention to their aerobic fitness levels and gearing their workouts to improve their health. Not only will they look better, they'll also:

  • Strengthen their lungs, making them better able to transport oxygen throughout the body.
  • Strengthen their hearts, making it more efficient (and longer lasting!).
  • Improve circulation and help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Increase muscle endurance, enabling them to sustain activity without fatigue.
  • Stabilise blood sugar levels, decreasing the incidence of diabetes.
  • Reduce their risk of developing some forms of cancer.
  • Relieve anxiety and depression and help them to manage stress.
  • Improve self-esteem and help to develop healthy body images.

How Much Aerobic Exercise is Best?

Many experts recommend exercising at either a moderate to intense level for 30 minute sessions, five days a week or exercising at a vigorous level in at least 20 minute sessions, three times a week. Teens should be active for at least an hour daily, but not all activity need be aerobic in nature. It's also important for teens to understand that all activity counts, not just when it is done all at once. Teenagers today often lead very busy lives, with obligations to school, friends, family, and part-time jobs. Ten minute walks and bike rides count toward total activity, but it is important that they do carve out blocks of time for aerobic workouts, as well. Walking, cycling, cross country skiing, and swimming are all good choices for teens.

Gauging a Workout

While experts often agree that teens should exercise at a moderate rate, many kids don't understand what that means. Typically, teens in good overall health should try to exercise at their target heart rates, which can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Take this number and multiply it by .6 and you have your lower exercise range. Multiply it by .8 and there's your higher exercise range. Those who prefer not to crunch the numbers can gauge the workout by how hard they are breathing:

  • If you can sing while working out, you need to step up the intensity.
  • If you can maintain a conversation, you are probably doing about right.
  • If you can't talk while working out, the level is too intense.

Genes and Jeans

Knowing their family health history can sometimes help to motivate teenagers to pay attention to their fitness levels and exercise to improve their health. Genetic factors can play roles in many illnesses including diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart disease, but being diligent about diet and fitness can help teens to stay healthy. While their immediate concerns may be about their jeans, a little information about their genes may provide them with a more long term outlook.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Irene
    Re: Activities for 3-5 Year Olds
    I like the comments exercise is very important for young children
    8 October 2019
  • Cat
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son is 8 yrs old and was in football club today. When I came to pick him up they were in shorts and t-shirt outside in heavy rain he…
    24 September 2019
  • Dave121
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I see some comments on here saying that PE is compulsory, however, the Education Act of 2002 prohibits the Secretary of State for…
    12 September 2019
  • PeIsBad
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I'm in Year 10 and P.E is made a living hell for me, the girls in the class shout at you and put you down swearing at you and telling you…
    10 September 2019
  • ASN teacher
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    There is more to pe than simply sports. It is good for growing brain cells (for real). It is good for social skills (if delivered…
    25 August 2019
  • ellz
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son went through he'll at school because of his bullying pe teacher my son has a pigeon chest and shortness of breath and is currently…
    6 August 2019
  • Joel
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I’m 12 and PE in my opinion is stupid. To me, it’s an entrance ticket for bullying. My school especially needs to understand not everyone…
    8 June 2019
  • fina
    Re: Active Games for Teens
    wow interesting thanks this is my essay!@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    29 May 2019
  • Waleed
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    Im in year 9 and we have 1 double lession a week and in those lessons we are forced to do exercise. The think I hate is the treadmills…
    23 April 2019
  • EndPE
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    PE needs to not be compulsory for GCSE students, if the kids are unfit that's their problem but PE does not and will not help them,…
    26 March 2019