That powerful connection between exercise and teens’ brain development

A teenage girl is using a weight ball as she does crunches.  PHOTO | GETTY IMAGES

What you need to know:

  • Teenage years are a time of rapid growth. Exercising is a good way to boost brain activity and improve mood while reducing stress levels.

Teenage years are a time of rapid growth. Exercising is a good way to boost brain activity and improve mood while reducing stress levels.

The good news is, exercise does not have to take up a lot of time or require you to leave the house.  You can go from an elliptical machine to push-ups right in your room.

Cardio exercises

Cardiovascular activity is any workout that helps you improve your heart and lung performance.

Cardio can help with weight loss. In addition, it tones and strengthens body muscles, and it may even help prevent health problems such as diabetes or heart disease.

Cardio workouts include:

Walking: A brisk walk is an excellent low-impact exercise.

Running: Find a safe, flat course and run for thirty minutes at eight to 10 miles per hour. Maintain this speed for the entire duration of your run.

Swimming: Swimming is one of the best cardio workouts because it does not strain any muscle group.

Jumping rope: Jumping rope is a great way to get your heart rate up.

Yoga: It is a gentle form of exercise that strengthens your muscles and improves flexibility.

Strength training

Strength training is an exercise where weights build muscle and increase your strength. Benefits include a stronger, more muscular body and bones that will be less likely to break from falls or accidents.

Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two strength-building exercises done using weights. They involve using resisted equipment or weight so that the muscles are under tension and can be lengthened to increase in size.

This allows muscles to generate more force, which improves their ability to exert prolonged pressure without fatigue. The exercises that make up these types of workouts include:

Squats: They target the muscles in your lower body and are essential for building a robust and balanced physique.

Bench Press: They strengthen your chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps of the upper body. They also increase explosiveness because they allow you to extend before contracting entirely.

Deadlifts: Targets the muscles of your lower and upper back, as well as hamstrings.

Dumbbell Curls: Strengthens your biceps muscle group in the arm with a weight held at an angle.

Core exercises

A strong core will help you in many areas, including sports, and make it easier to get out of bed. Examples:

 Crunches: Lie on your back and bend your knees so that you are in a sitting position. Exhale as you curl up, bringing your chin to touch the top of your thighs, inhale as you return to start.

Sit-Ups: Lie faceup with hands positioned behind the head for support. Keep the spine straight, exhale while lifting the torso off the floor and bringing your upper back towards your lower spine; inhale while returning to start.

Bicycle Crunch: Lying on a mat, with neck supported by hands or elbows, bring one knee up, so it is next to the same side of the body as the opposite elbow. Exhale as you lift the lower leg towards the opposite elbow; inhale as you return to start.

Leg Lifts: Lie on your back with your legs straight, extending over a bench or chair positioned near one end of an exercise mat. Using arms for support if needed, exhale while lifting both feet off the ground and bending toes down, so they point away from the body. Inhale and return to start position, always keeping hips on the floor.

Hip Lifts: Lie flat on your back with knees bent as you bring both feet off the ground so that they are positioned next to hip bones; place hands behind head for support. Exhale while lifting hips off the ground, moving them towards your chest; inhale while returning to start.

Planks: Lay on your stomach with elbows and forearms positioned under shoulders, so they are in line with feet. Hold a plank for 30 seconds or, if you can, maintain form without any shaking from the tension.

Lunges: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward, then step one foot out at a diagonal into a lunge position; keep knees in line with toes. Push off the back leg to return to start. Switch legs when desired or for 30 seconds on each side if you are doing them as part of a cardio interval.

Workouts are beneficial. Find a workout regimen you enjoy and stay on top of your weight management, mood regulation, stress relief, and memory enhancement.


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