Healthy Habits for Teenagers (Part 1): The “5 Best Ways” to Improve Energy

Health Tips for Teenagers

Do you ever wake up feeling groggy, sluggish, and lacking of energy? Is it a struggle to get to school, pay attention, and exert seemingly any amount of energy?  

We have all been there and we understand what you (teenagers) are going through. You would be surprised that a lot of these feelings and struggles that many teenagers face can be alleviated with some very basic solutions. While we are not doctors, and we do recommend seeking professional help if you feel there may be a bigger problem that you are struggling with, here are a couple tips we suggest all teenagers try. See how they work for you and let us know!

Tip # 1 – Drink Plenty of Water 

  • Calculate ½ – 1 x your bodyweight = your recommended intake in ounces of water per day.
  • Replace sodas and sugary juices with water or soda water. 
  • Infuse your water with frozen fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and lemons to “trick” yourself into enjoying the transition. 

The Institute of Medicine says teenagers should consume about two to three quarts of water a day. Researchers suggest that adolescent boys generally need to drink more water than girls do. In general, teenagers need about 6 to 8 cups of water a day. Consuming fresh fruits and veggies are full of water and are a great way to stay hydrated. 

Here is a link to a free water intake calculator.

Tip #2 – Eat A Healthy Diet 

  • Reduce your intake of processed foods. 
  • Replace refined sugars with natural sweets (honey and maple) and dried fruits. 
  • Focus on eating more fresh, whole foods. 

Teenage years are a time of transition between childhood and adulthood, and a really important stage of physical, emotional, social and mental development. As your teenage years are such an important time for growth and development, a healthy, varied diet is essential to ensure that you receive all the energy and nutrients you need. If you are worried about your weight, don’t be tempted to follow one of the popular ‘fad’ or ‘crash’ diets (diets that seriously limit the amount of food you can eat or ban food groups from the diet completely). These might lead to weight loss in the short term but these types of diets are often very difficult to maintain and as soon as you start eating normally again, you are likely to put some, if not all, the weight back on. 

Resources: British Nutrition Foundation  

Tip #3 – Adopt a Regular Exercise Program 

  • Body Mobilization  
  • Stretching 
  • Basic Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Hinges, Push & Pull, Twist 

Regular physical activity in children and adolescents (including teenagers) promotes health and fitness. Compared to those who are inactive, physically active teenagers have higher levels of fitness, lower body fat, and stronger bones and muscles. Physical activity also has brain health benefits for school-aged children, including improved cognition (e.g., academic performance, memory) and reduced symptoms of depression. 

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Tip #4 – Relieve Stress   

  • Practice breathing meditation and lower belly breathing. 
  • Challenge your mind with some new games and other fun activities. 
  • Consider keeping a diary – everybody needs to purge negativity sometimes, and it’s better to spew onto a piece of paper than onto friends and family. 

Left unchecked, long-term stress can contribute to a long list of physical and mental health problems. Prolonged stress can cause high blood pressure, weaken the immune system and contribute to diseases such as obesity and heart disease. It can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression—disorders that are becoming more common in youth. Resources: American Psychological Association

Tip #5 – Get Enough Sleep 

  • Turn off/unplug all electronic devices. 
  • Practice visualization techniques to control racing thoughts. 
  • Try to give yourself at least 9-10 hours of rest per night. 

Teenagers often find themselves either “burning the midnight oil” or sleeping the days away. Both of these can create an unhealthy imbalance resulting in both mental instability and lack of energy. Whether it be school and homework demands or social influences, teenagers that do not have healthy sleep habits can expose themselves to very serious conditions. Most teenagers need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Evidence suggests that disturbed sleep and sleep deprivation are associated with deficits in functioning across a wide range of indicators of psychological, interpersonal, and somatic well-being. For example, adolescents with disturbed sleep report more depression, anxiety, anger, inattention and conduct problems, drug and alcohol use, impaired academic performance, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  

References: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Oxford Academic Sleep Research Society 

 

Check out these other great articles and FREE resources:  Virtual & In Person Activities for Teens and Body Positive: Health & Fitness Tips