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Five Benefits to Exercise for Adolescents

December 4, 2017

 

We all know that exercise, particularly consistent cardio-vascular training, can add years to the lives of adults. But do adolescents receive benefits from training? I mean, aren't they really too young to get much benefit? Here are five ways in which exercise will enhance the lives of young adults (13-20).

 

Cardiorespiratory Wellness

 

Most people think of the heart when they hear cardiovascular. But the cardiovascular system is so much more. It consists of the heart for sure, but it includes the entire vascular system (the blood vessels themselves). This system is responsible for feeding the body, by carrying nutrients and oxygen to feed body tissue.

 

Every system in the human body is important, but research has shown that the health of the cardiovascular system, in otherwise healthy people, will go a long way in determining each person's "biological age" (how old their body performs, not how old they are in calendar years), and by extension, their total life expectancy.

 

Strong Bones and Muscles

 

Exercise feeds kids' muscles. It increases strength and power as well. What is less commonly known about exercise is that it builds bone strength and bone density, lessening the chances of fractures. Osteoporosis (a condition where the bones become weak and brittle) is commonly thought of as a disease of the aging. And the risk certainly does increase with age, but it primarily increases with age because our level of exercise decreases over time.

 

Exercise is a natural hedge against osteoporosis and poor strength related injuries. Good health means so many things, but good bone health should always be considered a bell weather gauge of health. 

 

Control Weight

 

Today, sugar has been largely replaced in our foods by High Fructose Corn Syrup. Without getting too much into the weeds, HFCS began to invade our food supply in the mid 1980's, as a way to reduce the cost of food. HFCS is less expensive than sugar. 

 

Here's the problem. HFCS is a foreign substance to the body. The liver can't process HFCS the same as it does pure sugar. If we take the example of 120 calories of each, and start with sugar, the liver can process 90 of those calories through the body and pass them as waste. That leaves only 30 calories to be stored in the body (as fat), or burned as energy. 

 

Now, take the same 120 calories of HFCS and the liver doesn't recognize it. The liver does the best it can, passing 30 of the calories through as waste. But this leave 90 calories to be burned as energy or stored as fat. That's 3x the calories our kids have to exercise off. And they don't do it well overall, which helps explain the explosion of childhood obesity in our society today.

 

Reduce Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

 

According to Psychology Today, "Exercise not only increases blood flow to the brain, it releases endorphins, the body's very own natural antidepressant. ... Multiple systematic clinical trials of antidepressant medications have shown that they are significantly more effective than placebo in relieving symptoms in people with major depression."

 

Reduce the risk of Health Conditions such as Heart Disease and some Cancers

 

According to the CDC, there are six major categories health diseases that are highly correlated to a lack of physical exercise. Of course, these conditions can occur whether your kids exercise or not. It isn't a vaccination against bad things, however, there is significant analysis that demonstrates that the occurrence of these conditions is much smaller in adolescents that are active, with their weight under control.

 

These conditions are:

  • Heart Disease

  • Cancer 

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Osteoperosis

  • Obesity

How do we help our kids avoid these problems?

 

Well of course, you bring them to us! We will give them an hour of training that helps ward off these conditions, ailments and pathologies, but also improves their conditioning to be performant in their chosen athletic pursuits. 

 

Would you like to know more? Contact us at 314-783-6955 or email todd@crossfitstl.com today.

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