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Fitness is easily achieved through playing with friends at younger stages of life, and most adults are aware of exercising to keep the body fit and healthy as they grow older 2. But the teenage years can be more complex -- if a child is not active in competitive sports, he may struggle between feeling too old for outdoor games with friends and too young to step on to exercise equipment. But it is still important that teenage boys have options available through which they can stay fit.
It's never too late to join a competitive sport, whether it is individual or team. Most high schools feature athletic departments that offer a number of sports, including team activities such as football and basketball and more individual performance-based sports such as wrestling and track and field. Club sports are also offered outside of high school sports, depending on where you live -- these clubs are more common in urban areas. If your child is unwilling or uninterested in sports activities, other activities such as the marching band and some jobs can help them get active and promote physical fitness 2.
It is recommended that any person exercise most days of the week. High school and club sports often provide an acceptable amount of exercise to teenagers, but if you and/or your teen boy are trying to develop a fitness schedule on your own, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise four days of the week 2. You can exceed this amount of exercise, but you shouldn't go below this minimum exercise threshold.
The benefits of exercise to teenagers are numerous. For individuals of any age, physical fitness can help prevent heart conditions and improve cardiovascular health 2. It can reduce stress and anxiety levels as well. But there are considerable social benefits to teens as well -- team sports can help teenagers improve social skills and find friends. They can also boost self-esteem and self-confidence, which can have a spillover effect into other aspects of their lives.
In addition to a regular exercise routine, you should also encourage your child to eat healthy foods. Limit his access to unhealthy treats and snack foods filled with sugars and empty calories. You should also make sure your child is getting plenty of sleep at night -- chronic fatigue can hurt a child's performance in school and athletic activities
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