Teenage girls can improve their posture, reduce health problems, improve athletic performance and prevent health problems later in life, such as osteoporosis, with a simple, regular physical fitness program. Fitness includes heart health and muscle strength, stamina and flexibility. Teenage girls can get and stay fit following a few basic guidelines for staying active.
Build Aerobic Fitness
Most of your daily exercise should be aerobic, which is vigorously intense exercise such as jogging or jumping rope. You should break a sweat, but you should be able to talk while you are exercising. To build heart and lung fitness, start by getting your heart rate up and taking a break after a few minutes if you need to. Don’t stop completely, though. If you’re new to jogging, jog for a few minutes, then walk until you catch your breath. Then, start jogging again. If you are cycling or rollerblading, add coasting and downhill grades to your route to give you a break. After you have built up your stamina, exercise at this level for at least 30 minutes, three to five times per week. You can dance, swim, jog, skate, cycle or use exercise machines to create aerobic workouts.
Ask mom and dad for a heart rate monitor to help you find and stay in your zone during workouts. It’s one present they’ll be happy to buy you any time during the year.
Where to buy heart rate monitors.
Add Some Muscle Strength
When you build muscle, you can run faster, jump higher and hit balls harder. You can use your body’s weight to do muscle-strengthening exercises, such as doing pushups, situps, squats, lunges, pullups and chinups. Circuit-training workouts with calisthenics are easy to learn and fun to do.
Add dumbbells or resistance bands to help build more muscle. Use enough weight or resistance so that your muscles start to burn slightly after 8 to 10 reps of an exercise, then do a few more. Do an upper-body exercise, then a lower-body exercise, then a core exercise, and keep alternating each time.
To help with your basketball shooting, volleyball spiking, softball throwing and tennis serving, work on your lower-body strength with a variety of jumping exercises each week.
Core strength also helps with good posture and helps prevent back pain. Add five minutes of ab exercises three times each week.
Stre-e-e-e-e-e-e-tch for Flexibility
Flexibility is a key component of fitness and can help you throw farther, hit hard, jump higher and run faster. Many people stretch incorrectly, so make sure you do it right. Use dynamic stretches, or quick, short movements, before working out. Use traditional stretch-and-hold moves for after your workouts.
Improve Bone Strength
Weight-bearing exercises also help you maintain bone density, which is important for girls and women. In fact, half of all women will suffer a fracture during their senior years. As you get older, your body will produce less estrogen and you’ll lose bone density. You can take calcium pills, but weight-bearing exercises are the best prevention.
Use dumbbells and resistance bands to do exercises such as biceps curls, which have you lift weights up and down from your hips to your shoulders. Strengthen the backs of your arms with triceps extensions. Put your hands behind your head, then lift the dumbbell or pull the band straight up, turning your arm forward so your palm faces away from you. To work on your chest, do flyes. Start with your arms straight out at your sides, then bend your elbows inward and bring your hands together so they meet in front of your chest.