Preteens can benefit significantly from physical activity -- in fact, children and adolescents who exercise more often and participate in fitness activities will be less likely to grow up overweight. Preteen exercises can include warm-ups, aerobic activities and strength training 2. However, preteens -- and adults supervising them -- need to exercise caution in exercise routines because preteens' muscles and bones still are developing, and they risk injury performing exercises that are inappropriate for their age or fitness level.
Before engaging in vigorous aerobic activities, preteens should warm up with up to eight minutes of fast walking, jumping jacks, stretching or calisthenics, according to New Mexico State University. This will help them increase flexibility, which might prevent injuries. Although preteens can simply walk around a track or jump in place to warm up, adults supervising a group activity also can create a game around the warm-up process. For example, a fast version of "Simon Says" can raise preteens' heart rates and warm up their muscles.
Preteens should participate in at least 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercises, plus at least another 45 minutes of moderate physical activity on almost every day of the week, according to New Mexico State University 1. Vigorous exercises include fast bike riding, running, jumping rope or swimming laps, while moderate exercises include walking to school, playing on the playground and shooting baskets. Adults organizing group activities for preteens should try to follow these guidelines, always remembering that they're minimum guidelines -- additional exercises and activity can help improve preteens' current and future health even more.
Preteens won't begin to build real muscle mass until they hit puberty, so strength training using weights, with the goal of creating new muscle, shouldn't begin until that point, according to the website KidsHealth.org 2. However, preteens can benefit from exercises that use their own body weight to tone their muscles and prepare those muscles for the growth they'll experience in puberty. Try 15 to 20 minutes of exercises such as pushups, stomach crunches, pullups and leg lunges. Preteens should perform these on alternate days to make sure their muscles and ligaments have a day to recover from a session.
Preteen exercises should be fun -- otherwise, they'll feel like a chore, and kids won't want to perform them. If you're supervising a group of preteens, try making their exercises into games. For example, you can hold jump-rope contests or races for the aerobic part of their exercise routine, or perform lunges and stretches to music. In addition, preteens should make sure to cool down after aerobic activity or strength training 2. Make sure to incorporate three to five minutes of walking slowly and light stretching following preteen exercises.
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