Make Your Move

Running is a great way to get fit. 

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There’s a fitness crisis among American teenagers. Phys-ed budgets are being slashed and team sports are becoming more competitive than ever—making it difficult for many teens to get involved. But at least 30 minutes of cardio should still be an important part of your daily routine, regardless of where or how you do it. Whether you’re a track star or a couch potato, turn the page to find a routine that will keep your heart pumping.

Back in seventh grade Brianna hit a fitness hurdle. “There were only 14 spots on the volleyball team, but I could already see myself sporting the team jersey on game days,” she says. On the last day of tryouts, she watched her three best friends jumping for joy when they discovered they had made the team. But Brianna’s dreams were spiked—she had been rejected. Instead of spending the season on the court, she went on hiatus. Sound familiar? If you spent your childhood hitting homers in Little League only to be cut from the middle or high school team, you might be tempted to hang up your gear for good. Instead, take a cue from Brianna: After recovering from the sting of rejection, she rededicated herself to perfecting her skills and landed a spot on the volleyball team the following year. Now in tenth grade, she’s hoping to compete at the national level. Your sports story can have a similar happy ending. First, keep in mind that your school team isn’t the only option—community and church leagues provide team spirit as well as a place to practice your curveballs. Meanwhile, ask the coach what you can work on to improve your chances for next season. The bottom line: Even if you get cut, it doesn’t mean you can’t get ripped—or at least get in shape.

The Competitor

Yes, you live for the thrill of competition. But when you hear the word move you think chess, not fitness. Winning matters in whatever you do. As does being the best.

  • Your Challenge: Finding a sport where you can channel your intensity, but not feel like a loser because you’re new to the game.

  • Your Move: Competitive types thrive on, well, competition. But consider something unconventional like Ultimate Frisbee or table tennis, advises Josh Moore, president of the American Ultimate Disc League. “Most people start playing these sports during high school, so you don’t need prior experience or skill sets.”

  • Bonus Points: Get extra exercise by challenging friends to see who can log the most physical-activity minutes in one month. Use a website like shapelink.com to compare your progress.


The Socializer

Whether you’re in the lunch line or online, you’re in a constant conversation with your besties. Hanging out is your favorite activity—sports would take you away from the group.

  • Your Challenge: Finding a friend (or a bunch) to work out with—otherwise you’ll feel like you’re missing out.

  • Your Move: Running is the perfect way to combine socializing and getting your heart rate up, suggests Jon Crane, a certified personal trainer in New York City. “You’ll motivate each other to go farther and faster.”

  • Bonus Points: Sign up for a 5K race (just a tad over three miles). It will give your jogging sessions purpose, and the atmosphere on race day is a total party.


The Chillaxer

You’re most likely to be found reading a book, doodling, or watching TV. Daydreaming is your forte—you’ve spent many a gym class trying to fade into the background.

  • Your Challenge: Discovering that you can be laid back and work up a sweat at the same time—maybe even finding your fitness flow in the mellowness of your own home.

  • Your Move: Workout videos are great for beginners—you don’t even have to leave your bedroom. Plus, there’s always pause and rewind when you need to see a move again. “You can expect an increase in strength and muscle definition in as little as two weeks,” says Elle Shindler, director of training at Kids Fitness NYC Inc. Try a yoga or Pilates series if you want to start off with a slow burn.

  • Bonus Points: Use sites like yogisanonymous.com and flirtygirlfitness.com to stream live classes, and YouTube for instructional videos.


The Gamer

There’s nothing you like better than settling in for some FIFA 13 or NBA 2K13. When you’re gaming, you get such an adrenaline rush that you think you’re really on the field.

  • Your Challenge: Turning your passion for passive play into something with heart-pounding cardio.

  • Your Move: “Exergaming” has just been officially given the thumbs-up by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition as a legitimate way for teens to get—and stay—in shape. If you spend 30 minutes on a high-intensity game like Wii Boxing or Exerbeat, you’ll be getting a real workout—not just a virtual one.

  • Bonus Points: It’s easy to become used to a specific drill. To continue improving your fitness level, you need to keep yourself challenged. To beat the boredom, try out a different game or move.

 

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