Can’t get your teen off the couch? High-intensity interval training may help

Many parents will understand the frustration of coming home from work to find their teenage sons lying on the couch with their eyes glued to their phones or the TV.

This is not unusual, and dozens of studies have shown lower levels of physical activity during teenage years. In Australia, less than 10% of older teens Do enough physical activity.

Adolescence is also a time of high rise Mental illness. that it The main period of human development It is characterized by rapid psychological and biological changes due to the emergence of puberty and the hormones associated with it.

During this time, young people develop a sense of identity and independence as they are Transition to adulthood and establish health-related behaviours. Introducing your teen to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way to get him moving and feel better.

Read more:
Don’t have time to exercise? Here’s a system everyone can follow

What is high intensity interval training?

High-intensity interval training is a form of time-saving exercise that involves relatively short but intense bouts of activity, combined with rest or low-intensity activity.

The intensity of the exercise should be about seven to nine out of ten on the marked effort scale.

What are the benefits?

In our recent work studyIn the study, we found two to three high-intensity interval training sessions per week, lasting about eight minutes each, improved the students’ physical and muscular fitness during the six-month study period. The exercises included things like shuttle runs (running back and forth between two lines) and push-ups.

After the program, the students who participated completed an average of four more laps in the shuttle run test, and had slight increases in the number of push-ups completed. They also had a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, which we measured in their hair.

There is also emerging evidence that participating in high-intensity interval training can have both short and long-term benefits for young people. Psychological health And the Cognitive function.

Football kicked on the grass

Teens should be active in as many different ways as possible.
RF Studio / PexelsAnd the CC BY

We also made a file Studies review In high-intensity interval training, it was found that participating in a single HIIT session can improve youthful feeling.

There is new evidence that participating in HIIT can improve children Cognitive function. In this New Zealand study, children participated in video-based HIIT exercises five times per week over a six-week period. Compared to the control group, the research team found significant improvements in cognitive control and working memory among children who participated in HIIT sessions.

Read more:
HIIT exercises: Just 15 minutes of intense activity can improve heart health

How to get started and make it fun

1) Start simple: A good starting point is to do the exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 30-second rest, repeated eight times. We’ve found this to be effective and enjoyable for teens in a number of studies

2) Incorporating Diversity: We recommend teens complete a variety of aerobic activities (such as bus rides, jogging at once or Burpee), and resistance exercises (such as push-ups, squats, or lunges) designed to increase your heart rate. And while high-intensity interval training can be done in the living room, changing the workout setup can also help meet your teen’s need for variety. For example, doing a session on the stairs at the beach or park may be more motivating than doing the same session in the backyard.

3) Intensity adjustment: As teens improve their fitness, they can increase the duration of their work interval, reduce their rest period, or increase the total number of periods completed during a session to ensure they are getting a good workout.

4) Make it fun: playing music And the Exercising with friends and family These are strategies that can make HIIT more enjoyable. Although most people are not satisfied in the middle Intense workout periodThere is evidence that they will feel satisfied About 20 minutes after you finish your workout. We have found that participating in high-intensity interval training increases the ability of adolescents mood And the Vitality (energy and alertness). Remind teens to think about how they feel next Participate in a training course Helps them experience psychological benefits

5) Use of technology: Wearable technologies (such as activity trackers and heart rate monitors) can help increase engagement during exercise, as they can provide you with real-time heart rate data to see how hard you’re working. While these can be expensive, Low cost options available. If you don’t want to design your own sessions, there are thousands of them fitness apps and online training videos to choose from.

Teens may find that tools like fitness trackers improve their motivation.
Pixabay / PexelsAnd the CC BY

Participate in a variety of physical activities

High-intensity interval training is a great way to get your teens moving and interested in physical activity, but it shouldn’t be the only type of physical activity they do. Instead, it should be part of the teen’s physical activity smorgasbord which includes:

  • Active transport (walking and cycling)

  • Team and individual sportssuch as swimming, soccer, netball and basketball

  • Resistance training such as free weights, body weight exercises, or exercises with elastic resistance bands to improve muscle fitness

  • Other forms of recreational activities, such as dancing, surfing, skiing, and mountain biking.

If we want teens to be active now and in the future, we need to provide them with the motivation, confidence, and knowledge to engage in a variety of physical activities.

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