Teen Health and Fitness
Source: General Conference Nutrition Council
If you want a firm body, stress relief, healthier skin, more self-confidence, increased energy, less depression, improved digestion and regularity, weight control and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer - exercise regularly! Make a conscious effort to include exercise in your daily routine until it becomes habit. Once you experience how good exercise makes you feel you gotta have it.
Get Plenty of Sleep
To look beautiful or handsome youíve got to get your Zís. When you sleep, your body gets rid of waste products that have collected in your muscles during the day. It also builds up a fresh supply of energy for another dayís activities. During sleep the body mends and builds new cells more quickly. You look better and have more energy and emotional stamina when you get enough sleep. Because of growth and other changes occurring in their bodies, most teens require between eight or ten hours of sleep each night to look and feel their best.
Choose Nutritious Foods
Surveys report that a teenís diet is often a nutrition nightmare. Many teens love junk food and hate vegetables. If you are a typical teen, you skip meals. You starve yourself to lose weight, which can be dangerous because your body is still growing. You gorge on sweets. You binge on fats. You eat out a lot; these poor habits have a negative impact on your health and appearance.
But, the good news is that you feel and look better and have more energy when you eat right. Also, how you eat now will affect your adult health. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are often related to a poor diet, so you reduce your risk by eating right.
Making the right food choices is a major step toward enjoying a healthy active life. What should you eat? To be healthy, you must eat enough food to get the adequate number of calories to fuel your bodyís energy needs.
How many calories do you need each day? The number depends on age, weight, level of activity, and whether you are male or female. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as part of its nutrition guidelines, suggests 2200 calories is about right for most teenage girls and 2800 calories is about right for most teenage boys.
Not just any foods will do, however. Your body needs nutrient rich foods that provide rich supplies of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients and phytochemicals.
Did you know the Bible describes the best foods for our bodies in Genesis 1:29 and 3:18? God provided the nutrient rich food we need in a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, legumes, (beans, peas, lentils), nuts and seeds.
Drink Adequate Water
The human body is 75% water. Studies show that when athletes drink more water than their thirst dictates, their performance improves dramatically. Thatís because water is necessary to transport energy to the cells and muscles and remove impurities. We canít live without water or be our best without lots of it. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Drink more if you are larger or more active than the average person is.
Nutrition Experts Give this Advice for Making Healthful Food Choices
- Start the day with a hearty breakfast
- Eat two to three regular meals a day
- Choose a diet with plenty of whole grain products, vegetables and fruits
- Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
- Avoid too much sugar
- Avoid too much salt
- Do not use beverages containing caffeine or alcohol
- Avoid fast foods, junk foods, and between meal snacks
- Eat a wide variety of whole, unrefined plant foods throughout the week
Abstain From Harmful Substances
A key responsibility in staying healthy is to "say no to drugs". These include tobacco, alcohol, other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, caffeine as found in coffee, tea, cola and carbonated beverages, and misuse of over the counter or prescribed drugs.
Your appearance can have a great impact on your self-image. You do not need beautiful features to be attractive, but you do need to be well groomed. The best cosmetics are exercise, sleep, good food and water. Grooming means bathing, shampooing your hair, brushing your teeth and using personal hygiene products regularly. If you apply these health habits you will have a healthy glow, and lots of energy and you will look good.
Trust In God
It is normal for teens to have emotional highs and lows from day to day. Donít forget that Godís love for you never changes. Spend time with Him and trust Him and He will see you through. Romans 8:38-39.
The teen years should be the best time of your life. During this period you grow from being a child to becoming an adult. The hormones released by your body produce new emotional, physical, mental, and social characteristics. Because of the rapid changes that take place, you may experience new and confusing feelings.
One of the smartest moves you can make to look and feel great is to practice good health habits. The health habits you establish now will affect the quality of your life for years to come.
To look and feel your best, pay attention to the following guidelines:
- Exercise Regularly
- Choose and Eat Nutritious Foods
- Drink Adequate Water
- Abstain from Harmful Substances
- Practice Good Grooming
- Trust in God
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Several studies suggest that children and teenagers who eat their meals with their family have better eating patterns and a better quality of diet than those who eat by themselves.