Exercise and Weight Management in Adolescence
Exercise and weight control is critical for young men as it “forms a habit” for future behavior.
While some teens often have a keen interest in sports, this can sometimes involve watching sports rather than actively participating in them. Watching hockey games on TV, and playing them on the XBOX rather than on the street or on the ice, can lead to weight gain. If this becomes a habit, it can lead to obesity-related health problems later in life such as:
- Heart disease
But remember, exercise is only one part of being healthy. Developing proper eating habits not only ensures success during these years, but also helps young men maintain a healthy body weight. The quest for physical perfection can sometimes increase the already competitive nature of young men, which isn’t always a good thing. This can lead to a number of possible eating disorders such as anorexia (not eating in order to stay thin) or bulimia (eating excessively and then purging by vomiting or using laxatives).
What are the symptoms of unhealthy behavior?
- Sudden weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Excessive exercise
- Dramatically reduced or increased food consumption
- Pale complexion
- Sudden mood changes
What can be done?
Parents can still play an important role in ensuring that their children are healthy at this stage. By making sure that they're eating proper meals, they can keep their metabolism working properly. Additionally, encouraging an active lifestyle is important. Engaging your son and taking part in sports with him is an excellent motivator. This kind of interest in exercise can promote the development of a healthy body.
If motivation seems to be an issue, try varying the sports. Some people are uncomfortable with team sports and prefer to work on their own. Some like low impact activities like yoga while others enjoy highly competitive ones like judo. Regardless of the chosen activity, it may be a good idea to make sure there is adequate supervision because some activities require safety gear or risk damaging a young man’s body.
While exercising can reduce weight, it may not be the only component which needs to be addressed. Genetics and pre-existing health conditions may be slowing or stopping progress. During puberty, hormonal imbalances may also cause significant disruption to regular bodily functions. For this reason, seeing a doctor may be required to ensure there are no underlying health concerns.