Rising obesity rates are showing that our young people are becoming more and more susceptible to obesity related illnesses such as: hypertension, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, lung failure, kidney failure and some cancers.
It’s absolutely imperative that we stop this trend and help our overweight teenagers to become healthier. Small changes carried out over time will have a big impact on weight and energy levels. Follow some or all of the tips below to make small changes that will lead to big results.
1) Get a pedometer and record how many steps you take in a day. Wear it every day for a week to establish what your base daily step count is. Pedometers are small and unobtrusive and can be worn under clothing. Once you have your base step count set goals to try and increase it by small amounts each week. For instance, an extra 200 or 300 steps per day. Think of rewards for achieving your goals, i.e. for every day that you meet your target put 50p in a pot towards a new item of clothing or cd. The ultimate aim is to achieve a healthy 10,000 steps per day.
2) Cut out soft drinks, chocolate and sugary snacks. Many people drink fizzy drinks throughout the day boosting their sugar intake to incredibly high levels. Swapping these for less sugary drinks such as squash or ever better, water will make a huge difference to your calorie intake. Also, there are numerous alternatives to chocolate and crisps available today. Obviously the best options are fruit and nuts to if that’s a step to far then things like cereal bars or low salt rice crackers are a good option.
3) Take packed lunches to school, college or work. Buying lunch at the last minute usually means that you’ll go for higher calorie options. If you make your lunch and take it with you will ensure that you’re not tempted by the worst foods available but have thought ahead and hopefully chosen a better option. You’re not limited to sandwiches, try wraps, soup and a roll, pasta salad or healthy home-made pasties.
4) Get a dog. Ok, this one might be a bit extreme and you’d need to check that your home is suitable but a dog has to be walked every day, rain or shine so this could give you the added incentive you need to get out there and get moving! Combine it with the pedometer and you’ll see the changes quickly. You’ll also have a great friend who’ll be happy to get active with you as often as possible for years to come.
5) Get an active computer game. If you just can’t give up the computer games that have kept you sedentary for the last few years then get one of the new ones that’s designed to make you a little more active. The Nintendo wii has lots of games that have been developed to get you off the sofa and moving around so check them out and invite your friends round. You’ll forget that you’re burning calories because you’ll be having so much fun.
Being more active doesn’t mean that you’ve got to join a football team or run 10 miles a day. Any activity that gets you moving and slightly out of breath will be doing you good and if you can manage over half an hour a day then you’ll start to see some benefits. On top of that make small changes to your diet and the benefits will start to mount up and you’ll begin to feel fitter, sleep better and have more energy.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional if you have any concerns about your weight or before embarking on any health program.
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