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Top Teen Exercise Tips: No Gym Required

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3. Don’t overdo it. If you’re inspired to train for a 5k race, great! Just don’t expect to be able to go the distance on your first run ever. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll probably end up hurt or just give up because you think you can’t do it. Start slow, even with a 5- or 10-minute jog or one set of pushups at a time. Then you can add a little more every week.

4. Reward yourself. At the beginning of the week, set a goal. Maybe you’ll take 500 more steps every day after school or do 10 minutes of yoga before bed every night. Write it on a sticky note on your bedroom door, or make it the background of your phone so you can look at it over and over. When you hit your goal, give yourself a little reward: Buy a new nail polish or go see a movie. “We’re really motivated by rewards, so looking forward to that can help you stick with it,” Guddat says.

5. Start basic and build from there. You don’t have to go to the gym and sweat for a grueling hour. “Start out with something easy in the privacy of your home,” Guddat says. “That way, you don’t have to go into a weight room and worry about what other people think.”

If you’re trying weight training for the first time, begin with basics like squats, wall sits, and push-ups, Straub advises. Or cue up an exercise video on YouTube that uses light weights and follow along in your bedroom.

You can also try one of these routines designed by Guddat. All you need is a set of stairs or a jump rope.

Workout 1: Stairs

  • Run up a staircase or set of bleachers; walk down. Repeat 10 times.
  • Triceps dips: Stand at the bottom of the stairs, facing away from them. Put your hands on a step, fingers pointing forward; arms should be straight and knees bent. Bend your elbows and lower body to the stairs. Straighten your arms to push back up. Repeat 10 times.
  • Lunges: Walk up the stairs, skipping every other step and lowering into a lunge. (Don’t let your knee go past your toes.) Repeat 2 times.
  • Push-ups: Stand at the bottom of the stairs, facing them. Put your hands on a step with your arms and legs straight. Bend your elbows and lower chest to the stairs, then push back up. Repeat 10 times.
  • Repeat everything, in order, once or twice.
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