Too Fit to Quit

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Think you’re too young to workout? You’d be surprised.

Are you between the ages of 11 and 18 and think you’re “too young to workout”? That is what I like to call an excuse. You are never too young to engage in physical activity! General health guidelines suggest that adolescents should engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes, three or more days a week. When you’re young, this doesn’t have to be a traditional workout, like an exercise tape or a group fitness class. Simply playing outside with your friends is sufficient and a fun way to stay healthy! I started doing exercise videos on a regular basis when I was 13, but even before that I went outside almost every day after school to ride my bike with my friends or just run around the neighborhood.  There are some things to take into consideration, though when working out at a younger age:

1. Adolescents have a lower sweating rate than adults.

This means that youth have a lower tolerance for high temperatures and humidity. Make sure to drink plenty of water if you are performing physical activities in a very hot and/or humid environment to prevent heatstroke.

2.  Adolescents’ bodies need more oxygen than adults do when performing cardio exercises, such as walking and running.

This means that youth will be more likely to fatigue quicker in sustained high intensity tasks. So, these should be minimal.

3. Glycolytic enzymes are lower in youth than they are in adults.

Now, you’re probably wondering what glycolytic enzymes are. They are the enzymes used in the glycolysis energy pathway, a way your body gets energy when you do anaerobic exercise. Because these are lower in youth, they have a lower tolerance for long strength training sessions.

So what should your fitness program look like if you are a youth?

-Physical activity of at least 20 minutes a day, 3 or more times a week

-Low intensity cardio

-Stay hydrated and beware of extremely hot and/or humid temperatures

-Minimal strength training (maximum of 1-2 sets of 6-8 reps per exercise)

But the most important part of a youth’s training program is HAVE FUN! Your focus should NOT be to lose weight, but to stay active and healthy. And remember, never let anyone tell you you’re too young:-)



Clark, M.A., Lucett, S.C., Corn, R.J. (2008). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.






posted by admin in Special Populations,Youth and have Comments (11)