Daimhlinn Darling shares the unique challenges teenagers face when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
Being a teen is hard work. We have to deal with assessments, acne, attitude and romance. On top of all this we are constantly thinking about achieving the ‘perfect body’ as portrayed in various forms of media. We are bombarded daily with images on Facebook and Instagram of peers seeking approval on how they look based on likes and comments. Society today pressures teenagers to transform their body into a model-like, ‘carved by the gods’ sort of masterpiece, that -let’s face it- is just ridiculous. I mean, as teens, we are only starting to figure out our bodies and now society wants us to sculpt them into fine art?
The amount of work that students of our age need to complete in order to improve our education and hopefully obtain a college degree is staggering. We work day in and day out to get good grades and feedback from teachers. We spend countless hours researching and studying for tests that will land us a better future. This leaves little time for teens like myself to go out for a nightly jog or a quick trip to the gym. Additionally family commitments and schedules may restrain us from keeping fit. Finding the right way to juggle these responsibilities is a difficult task and usually results in cutting out the ‘keep fit’ attitude that many teens already lack.
To help tackle this struggle of balancing our obligations, a healthy diet can be set in place to make up for the lack of exercise (although exercise is necessary, too). Bringing a healthy lunch and snacks to school, including fruit and vegetables instead of chocolate and potato crisps can greatly benefit your health. Replacing your love of Coca-Cola with drinking lots of water can not only improve your health but it leaves your skin clearer and smoother. Eating healthier can make you feel better. I know, as a teen, fighting the urge to binge on junk food is easier said than done. The temptation is undeniably challenging, but think of it this way, that sneaky chocolate bar after dinner or quick sip of Coca-Cola could be the very stepping stones to the downfall of your health and wellbeing.
Most of the time, the most crucial step turns out to be the hardest. Heaving yourself off the couch after a long day at school to go to the gym or waking up early at the weekend to go play a team sport can make you want to cave in and give up. All teens suffer from a disease called ‘lazy’ which seems to really kick in when effort is required. Getting over this hurdle can feel insurmountable. However, it is critical.
Finding the right facilities can also be a big factor that defines your attitude to keeping fit. If you live right next to a gym or a swimming pool, you are more likely to do some sort of fitness at least once a week than if the nearest gym was 20 minutes away. Similarly, the cost of these facilities and how much of your pocket money will be spent on the trip will contribute to your motivation, or lack thereof. For a teenager, there’s a big difference between spending $100 on a new jacket and spending $100 on a gym membership. Most teens would prefer spending their money on instant gratification rather than something that may be beneficial in the long run.
Having friends with similar attitudes towards fitness can help motivate you to persevere through the difficulties. If you have a buddy with you whilst you work out or go for a run, you’re much more likely to want to continue! Participate in team sports or plan to go for a hike every Sunday with your best friend and you’ll be keeping fit without really thinking about it. You’ll notice the changes in no time!
Most teens find keeping fit daunting, however, I assure you that fitness isn’t always running laps or doing pushups. You can keep fit in many ways. Playing team sports, going for a swim in the pool, or simply going for a walk everyday are only some of the possibilities. No matter what body shape, responsibilities or commitments, if you have the right mind set, keeping fit should be a piece of cake (as long as you don’t eat one)!