On Your Health

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How Teens Get Fit in Oklahoma City


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Teenage years are so important when it comes to future health habits. Starting active habits during this stage of life helps build the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle in adulthood. Unfortunately, the 2013 Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that 62 percent of Oklahoma teens did not attend physical education classes and 14 percent did not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on any given day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that teenagers need at least 30 minutes of rigorous activity a day, or 60 minutes of mild exercise. Luckily, during those key years many teenagers are brimming with energy. This implies the issue isn’t physical, but rather, motivation-based. Typically, teenagers start experiencing a phase of life where they make decisions for themselves. This means physical activity has to be desired intrinsically, and not forced on them by authority figures. The good news? There are plenty of options in Oklahoma for teens to get involved in sports and other healthy activities that don’t take much convincing.

Public School Sports Programs

One of the most popular ways teens can get fit is by participating in organized sports. Most public school systems in Oklahoma offer a wide variety of sport teams including football, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball, basketball and dance teams. Oklahoma is home to championship-winning sports programs, including a 10 time national championship-winning dance team from Westmoore High School, two volleyball state championships at Edmond North and Edmond Santa Fe, and recent state championships in football from Heritage Hall, Bishop McGuinness, Kingfisher, Douglass and Albert high schools. Here are the average calories burned by participating in one hour of each of these sports: Football – 544 calories Soccer – 612 calories Cheerleading – 360 calories Baseball – 272 calories Basketball – 476 calories Volleyball – 476 calories

Activity-Based Fitness Centers

Even if your teen isn’t interested in organized sports, there are plenty of activity-based fitness options around Oklahoma. Just because OKC is far from the mountains doesn’t mean you can’t go rock climbing. Rocktown Climbing Gym, located in downtown Oklahoma City, was named one of the 10 Coolest Climbing Gyms in the World by TheCoolist. Rocktown offers 65 routes of differing difficulties with heights up to 90 feet tall. They even offer a huge discount for students. If you live further south, Norman's newest climbing gym, Climb Up, is located just off I-35. They also offer yoga classes, which makes this gym a one-stop shop for fitness. Climb Up also offers discounts for students. Recreational and competitive dance teams are a great way to get fit while having fun, and Oklahoma City is home to some of the best dance studios in the country. Applause Studios, owned by Emily Shock, offers classes for all age ranges and expertise levels. Beginning at age 2, anyone can take hip hop, contemporary, jazz, ballet and many other types of dance classes from Applause’s in-house professional staff, where they also bring in master teachers from around the nation. Shock also coaches the national championship-winning Westmoore High School Pom Squad. Oklahoma is also home to one of Dance Spirit's Top 50 studios, Kim Massay Dance Productions, located in Edmond. This studio offers competitive and recreational classes for anyone over the age of 3. The Kim Massay competitive dancers have earned "National Overall Lines" from 1982 to 2015, and have won 1st overall at competitions such as Starlight, Showstoppers, Showbiz and Star Power National Talent Competitions. Another creative way to get fit is to take classes at Balance Yoga Barre in Edmond. This studio offers daily yoga, barre and other core-building classes. They also offer a student discount.

Important Tips for Teen Activity

According to HealthyChildren.org, “young people gain strength and endurance faster by lifting moderately heavy weights many times, rather than straining to hoist unwieldy loads for just a few repetitions.” Consistency is key for teens and exercise. Weight training has extensive benefits for teenagers, but the weight room isn't the only place where they can realize them. Rather than overexerting on an occasional workout and risking injury, encourage your teens to find an activity they enjoy and to just regularly get up and move, whether that's through organized team sports or individual activity-based fitness. Teenagers are more susceptible to heat and humidity because their ability to dissipate heat through sweating has not fully developed. To compensate, teens should drink at least two 6-ounce glasses of water before, during and after working out. For more ideas on keeping your teen active in OKC, check out our “Steps to Health” series!

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