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Top Teen Exercise Tips: No Gym Required

By Laurel Leicht
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD

teen wearing swim cap and goggles

So you were never a star soccer player or ballerina. And maybe you dropped gym class from your school schedule as soon as you could, or you’re counting the days until you can.But does that leave you with no exercise plan?

You’re definitely not alone. Less than 10% of teens get the hour of daily exercise they need. Rachel Straub, a certified personal trainer, saysbad experiences in school or sports can mean exercise just isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.“Teens can feel forced. P.E. might have put a bad image in your mind,” she says.

The truth is that everyone needs to be active. It makes you happier and helps you feel good about yourself. And it makes you more likely to choose to be healthier in other parts of your life, too.

Despite the word, a workout doesn’t have to be hard work. Try these tips and workout ideas to get your move on -- even without gym class.

1. Move more all the time. It’s great to ride your bike or play basketball on the weekends, but it’s not enough. “A healthy teen should be exercising at least 5 days a week, a mix of cardio and strength training,” Straub says.

Exercise should be part of your daily routine. But remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Take a few minutes to move in the morning, after school, or whenever you have a bit of extra time. Walk around the house when you’re on your phone, dance at a slumber party, or do lunges during TV commercials. It all adds up.

2. Make it social. One way to turn exercise into something you actually want to do is to get your friends to be part of it. Invite one along for a hike or to walk around the mall. Another idea: Show your friends how fit you’re getting on social media, says certified personal trainer Gina Guddat: “Snapchat a squirrel you see on the walk with your dog, or Instagram a photo of yourself jumping rope. Your friends will like to see it, and it makes you feel good about your achievement.”

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