The level of physical activity of female teenagers can be enhanced with mental training, according to a study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Tehran and Tehran University of Medical Sciences who investigated whether mental training can improve the level of physical activity in teenage girls. The level of physical activity in adolescents is said to continuously decline, especially among girls. (Related: Shocking: New study reveals that teenagers get no more exercise than SENIORS.)
In the study, 56 girls who were 15 to 16 years old were divided into a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group – which comprised 28 teenage girls – was tasked to exercise imagery intervention. On the other hand, the control group only received recommendations on physical activity enhancement. The experiment lasted for six weeks. The research team evaluated with objective accelerometer monitors. They also assessed physical self-concept in all participants.
The results of the study revealed that the female teenagers who participated in the six-week mental training had increased physical activity in comparison to those who only received recommendations on physical activity enhancement. Moreover, they had better physical self-concept compared to the control group.
The findings indicated that exercise imagery can improve psychological variables, such as physical self-concept, as well as the level of physical activity in female teenagers.
The importance of physical activity and how to motivate teens to be active
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), only 21.6 percent of children and adolescents aged six to 19 years in the U.S. attained 60 or more minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity on at least five days per week, which is the recommended duration physical activity every day. Being physically active every day is important for pre-teen and teenage children, as it keeps their bodies and minds fit and healthy. Regular physical activity can help them improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, manage weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower the risk of developing health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and obesity.
Teenagers face a lot of social and academic pressures aside from dealing with emotional and physical changes. According to research, teenagers spend an average of more than seven and a half hours consuming different forms of media, such as watching television, listening to music, surfing online, and playing video games. As a result, they cannot seem to find the time to exercise. For teenagers to stay motivated in doing physical activities, these activities should be fun and enjoyable. These may include skateboarding, in-line skating, yoga, swimming, dancing, or trying out other sports. They can also be physically active through everyday routines, such as walking to school, doing household chores, or finding an active part-time job like being a camp counselor, babysitter, or assistant coach for young sports teams.
Parents can motivate their teenagers to exercise by letting them decide how they want to be physically active, providing them equipment, transportation, and companionship for their choice of physical activity, finding them an exercise regimen that fits with their schedule. Parents should also limit their teens’ time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching TV, playing video games, and using computers, smartphones, or tablets.
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