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How to Stay Active After School (Teens)
Last Updated: July 9, 2021 References
This article was co-authored by Souad Gharib . Souad Gharib is the Founder of Female Trainer, a boutique women's gym based in West London, United Kingdom. Souad specializes in helping women reach their goals through exercise, nutrition, and counseling. Female Trainer offers personalized training sessions delivered by Souad and her experienced team of female trainers. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 70,927 times.
When you’re a teen with a busy schedule, it can be difficult to find time to be active. But making time to stay active after and even during school hours is important for your health. Physical activity can help you avoid obesity, manage anxiety, and build a strong immune system. Learning to be active as a teen will also help you remain active as an adult. By committing to activities that make you happy, you’ll be able to make your after-school time healthy and even fun.
Joining an After-School Sports Team
- While your coaches will want you to strive for excellence, try not to worry too much about winning. Instead, focus on the fun you can have being on a team with friends, and the health benefits you’re getting from the activity.
- Consider trying one or several popular sports usually offered at schools, including football, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, field hockey, or lacrosse.
- For lesser-known alternatives that may or may not be offered at school, try sports such as dance, figure skating, rock climbing, horseback riding, golf, skateboarding, roller skating, fencing, and rowing.  X Research source
- Go online and research your sport to learn drills and exercises that will help improve your performance at try-outs next time.
- If you want to play basketball, for example, practice drills that focus on improving agility and eye-hand coordination.
- Community centers may offer sports that schools generally don’t provide, including kickball, wiffle ball, flag football, and ultimate frisbee.
- Consider track, swimming, cross-country running, skiing, or sailing.
- If you play these sports for your school, be aware that you’ll still be on a team. You’ll complete practices and competitions as a group. There will also be events, known as relays, that require you to combine your talents with those of other team members to win races.
Signing Up for an Exercise Class
- It’s possible that some of your teachers may join an exercise class, but you should expect that your age group will be the main audience.
- Most gyms and community centers charge monthly or yearly membership fees. You’ll need to either pay these yourself, or discuss payment option with your parents.
- Some classes may only be available to gym members that are 18 and older. Check with a gym representative to see which options are open to you.  X Research source
Committing to an Active Lifestyle
- After consistently adding to your workouts over a 2-month span, you could have a daily routine of 10-20 push-ups, 15-30 sit-ups, 50-100 jumping jacks, and a weekly schedule of 3 30-minute runs.
- Many schools provide a ten-minute break in the morning. Walk through the halls with your friends during these breaks, instead of just standing by your lockers.
- Don’t take away from class time or even study sessions to be physically active during the day. Give balanced attention to both school and your physical health.
- Make this a group activity by reaching out to other students who live in your neighborhood. You may feel more safe if several of you travel together. This can also provide fun social time in the mornings and afternoons.
- Complete 20-30 minutes of cardio 3-4 days a week to improve your cardiovascular health. Some cardio exercises include running, walking, and biking.
- Do strength training 3-4 days a week to build your muscles. Some strength training exercises include push ups, crunches, pull ups, squats, and lunges.
- Not only will limiting your screen time give you the ability to add more physical activity to your day, you’ll likely enjoy other health benefits. For example, if you suffer from headaches or tired, itchy eyes, your screens may be the culprit.
- You’ll likely feel more energized if you exercise instead of watch TV or get onto your computer. Exercising leads to getting fit, which makes regular day-to-day activities easier and less tiring because your heart and lungs don’t have to work as hard to complete them.
- Make sure you’re balancing your schedule and taking the time to finish your homework and study for your classes. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Drink plenty of fluids. Try to stick with water instead of energy drinks, as most of these products are too sugary to be good for you. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Get enough rest. Your body needs 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/16/team-sports-help-teens-stay-fit/
- ↑ Souad Gharib. Exercise & Wellness Specialist. Expert Interview. 8 July 2021.
- ↑ https://www.bcm.edu/news/sports-medicine/get-non-athletic-children-physically-active
- ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/active-kids.html#
- ↑ http://www.ymcanyc.org/association/classes/teen-health-and-fitness
- ↑ http://www.xsportfitness.com/groupfitness/descriptions.html
- ↑ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/take-charge-your-health/Pages/take-charge-your-health.aspx
- ↑ https://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/kids-teens/get-active-each-day.aspx
- ↑ https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/fitness/Pages/How-Teens-Can-Stay-Fit.aspx
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/kid-fitness-when-your-child-wont-exercise#1
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The After-School Workout
When school is in session, kids typically spend a lot more time sitting than they do during the carefree months of summer — so it’s important to find ways for them to be active outside of learning hours.
“Performing the correct exercises can not only provide the general benefits of daily movement, but also help to reactivate muscles and keep away aches and pains caused by long periods of sitting,” says Kevin Klein, personal training leader at Life Time in Savage, Minn. “Importantly for students, exercise is proven to boost their mood and brain power, which can benefit children with studying, taking tests, and focusing during school.”
As a father of two kids ages 5 and 8, Klein is passionate about helping kids build healthy habits that set a foundation to carry them into adulthood and hopefully help them avoid the negative effects that can come from being sedentary or out of shape.
Encouraging regular activity and exercise when school is out is a great start. “The positive benefits of exercise, however, can be outweighed by improper nutrition and sleep,” says Klein. “Make sure your child is drinking enough water, especially if they’re exercising, as well as sleeping seven to nine hours per night and getting enough food throughout the day from as many whole foods as possible.”
To jump-start their routine and help them burn off some of that post-sitting-all-day energy, Klein designed this workout specifically for school-aged children — but it’s one that parents and caregivers can easily do, too. “This workout is meant to warm up muscles that haven’t been used while sitting,” explains Klein. “It’s structured to keep your heart rate elevated while also building strength and stability in areas that promote better posture.”
The full workout will take about 30 minutes to complete.
“This popular yoga stretch is focused on thoracic mobility, or the upper and middle parts of your back,” says Klein.
- Start with your hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position. Keep a neutral spine and place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Move into cow: Sink your belly and back down toward the floor while simultaneously raising your head to look forward and lifting and pushing your tailbone out. Inhale as you move.
- Transition into cat: Tuck your head and tailbone while rounding and arching your spine toward the ceiling. Exhale during this movement.
- Complete 20 repetitions. Briefly pause at the top and bottom of each movement.
Calf Stretch + Raise
“By performing this movement on a step, you work the full range of motion,” says Klein. “It helps build calf strength and supports ankle mobility.”
- Stand on the edge of a step with your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Push through your toes, lifting your ankles and body upward.
- Slowly drop your heels down below the edge of the step.
- Complete 10 to 20 repetitions. Use a railing or wall for support, if needed.
Dynamic Hip-Flexor Stretch
“This stretch helps to actively lengthen the psoas, a hip flexor that commonly gets too tight from sitting and can lead to aches, pains, and injuries,” says Klein.
- Assume a half-kneeling position, with your front leg bent at about a 90-degree knee angle and your back leg positioned so the front of your calf is resting on the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes.
- Without losing glute contraction or leaning your upper body forward, slowly move your hips forward to your end range of motion. Hold for two to three seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
- Complete 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.
“This exercise is great for shoulder and hip stability, as well as ab strength,” says Klein.
- Assume a high-plank position. Engage your abs and glutes.
- Quickly raise one hand to touch your opposite shoulder before returning it to the ground. Stabilize at the shoulder while focusing on not letting your hips move back and forth or tip to the side.
- Repeat with your opposite arm on the opposite shoulder.
- Repeat, alternating back and forth between sides.
Glute Bridge Hold March
“Sitting for a long period of time stretches your glutes, which can weaken them,” explains Klein. “We need to ‘wake up’ muscles with proper activation exercises like this one for them to be properly used and strengthened.”
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hip width apart and close to, but not touching, your glutes.
- Squeeze your abs and glutes.
- Maintaining contractions, lift your hips as high as you can without hyperextending your back.
- Still maintaining contractions, lift one foot off the ground and hold for one to two seconds before setting it back down.
- Release contraction before starting on the other side.
- Repeat, alternating sides.
One-Leg Romanian Deadlift
“ This exercise is good for single-leg stability, which also helps with hip, knee, and ankle stability, as well as hamstring and glute strength,” says Klein.
- Stand on one leg, with a slight bend to your planted leg’s knee. Squeeze your abs and glutes. For the easiest option, hold onto a chair, table, or wall for support. For a slightly harder option, use only your body weight with no support. For the most difficult option, hold a weight or resistance cable.
- Hinge at your waist, keeping your back flat and spine in a neutral position. Your back leg should be straight.
- While hinging, bring your hands closer to the ground (it’s OK if you can’t touch the ground or your toes, you can work on mobility over time!).
- Squeeze your glutes and return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 45 seconds on the same leg before switching to the opposite side. Use a wall or furniture for balance support if needed.
“Adding the jump to the foundational movement of a squat is a great way to increase your heart rate and improve your explosive power,” says Klein.
- Assume an athletic stance with your feet about hip width apart.
- Squat down as low as you comfortably can, keeping both heels planted on the ground.
- In one explosive movement, jump as high as you can, driving your arms forward and up.
- Land softly, with your toes hitting the ground first, then ball, then heel.
- Immediately upon landing, squat down, and jump again.
“This twist on a traditional plank is great for ab strength and shoulder and hip mobility,” says Klein.
- Assume a high-plank position.
- Alternate lifting your limbs off the ground one at a time: Lift one arm straight in front of you and then set it back down; repeat with your opposite arm, and then lift one leg straight out behind you before setting it back down and repeating with your opposite leg. Each time you lift, make sure to keep your abs and glutes tight.
- Continue repeating in a circle pattern. To increase difficulty, start from an elbow-plank position.
“This exercise is helpful for increasing your pressing strength and can be as challenging as you choose to make it,” says Klein.
- Start in a pushup position with your hands just outside of shoulder width apart and your fingers facing straight ahead.
- Choose your difficulty level: For the easiest option, drop onto your knees. For the harder option, move your weight onto your toes.
- Lower your body to the ground.
- Once you reach the ground, release your hands by lifting them off the ground for one to two seconds.
- Put your hands back down on the ground and push back up to the starting position. Keep your abs and glutes tight before pushing up, and continue to hold your core tight during the movement to prevent your hips from sinking and swaying your back.
“With skaters, it’s important to challenge yourself with how far you’re jumping, but not to jump so far that you can’t stabilize landing on one leg,” advises Klein. “It’s a good exercise for leg strength and ankle, knee, and hip stability.”
- Standing on one leg, jump to the side and land on your opposite leg, letting your lifted leg move behind the grounded leg.
- Focus on stabilizing yourself on the grounded leg for a second before jumping back to the side and landing back on your starting leg.
“I love this exercise for its benefits to posterior body strength, specifically your glutes and lower- and mid-back,” says Klein.
- Lie flat on the ground in a prone position.
- Squeeze your glutes and draw your shoulder blades together.
- While squeezing, lift both your legs and arms straight up toward the ceiling. Let your head and chest rise with your arms.
- Hold for 30 seconds. If you can’t hold for the full 30 seconds, then do this exercise for repetitions instead: Hold for as long you’re able to, return to the starting position, and continue to repeat until you reach the 30-second mark.
Callie Fredrickson is a content editor at Life Time.
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How to Choose After-School Activities
The hours after school can provide enrichment and support with the right programs.
Art is fundamental to education as a cross-brain experience that involves mind, body and heart. (Getty Images)
The gap between the end of school and the end of the business day can present a challenge for parents. This after-school time, typically two to four hours, provides an opportunity for children to learn skills and explore interests. But timing, transportation and costs sometimes get in the way.
A national survey earlier this year of more than 2,000 K-8 parents and guardians showed that 65% have children enrolled in after-school activities. Interestingly, child care was not the primary motivation, according to the survey by the nonprofit parent support organization Learning Heroes . The most frequently cited reason, named by 74% of parents, was to “expose children to new experiences, ideas, and perspectives beyond their everyday home and school lives.”
“These providers play a dual role of child care and enrichment,” says Karen Pittman, co-founder of the Forum for Youth Investment , a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that children are college and career ready. “They are safe, supportive learning places for your kid to be while you are at work.”
In some cases, after-school activities also can provide needed stability and a foundation for success in school. However, for every child in an after-school program in the U.S., there are three more waiting to get in, according to the Afterschool Alliance , a nonprofit advocacy organization.
A household survey called America After 3PM released by the organization in December of 2020, which queried more than 30,000 families, found significant inequities, with Black and Latinx children disproportionately lacking in after-school opportunities. Families who live in rural areas and low-income urban areas or who have limited income are also often underserved.
Yet, even under those circumstances, education experts say parents can often find options.
The Benefits of After-School Activities
Exploring a range of activities, rather than specializing in one, is most beneficial for K-5 students, Pittman says. Once a child demonstrates a particular interest in one activity, parents can then add more instruction or focus on it at home.
The same rule applies to sports, experts say. Parents should expose their children to many sports, then lean into one in which their child appears to be having fun, says Sheila Ohlsson Walker, a senior scientist at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University . Another option for parents is to pick a coach who focuses on fun, wellness and character.
“When they can have fun early on and they learn to love to move their bodies, they have this incredible built-in system for managing stress and mental health,” Walker says. “It is important for everything over the long haul.”
After-school activities provide a host of benefits to elementary school children. They can lead to improvement in grades, school attendance and behavior, according to the Afterschool Alliance.
Students can practice what they learn in school (for example, reading a script for an acting class). They can explore different activities that may not be offered elsewhere — such as STEM or dance — and discover new interests. Furthermore, because after-school programs are sometimes more diverse than school classrooms, with students of different ages and backgrounds, children can build empathy, communication and teamwork skills.
“That kind of group play is critical for social-emotional development,” Pittman says.
Navigating After-School Activities
Many parents find it difficult to manage the costs and transportation issues that come with trying to create a custom lineup of interest-based activities. Rather, many families use facilities that offer a range of activities all in one place.
Some schools offer “extended day” options that feature supervised playground time and basic activities like drawing or painting. Other options include organizations like the YMCA , Boys & Girls Clubs of America or local community centers, which offer a combination of activities that often include — in addition to child care —art, music, dance and sports, as well as homework help and quiet time.
There are also more specific pursuits, which can be added to the larger after-school programs. Sports teams, for example, usually require signing up with a separate organization, such as a soccer or hockey league. Some parents also opt for private lessons in music or other subjects. The Learning Heroes survey says parents use an average of two program providers to occupy their children during after-school hours.
Education experts say there are many different options, though they caution that parents should choose organizations and instructors well-versed in child development. “Don’t take your 5-year-old to have lessons with the conductor of the symphony orchestra,” Pittman says.
Popular After-School Activities
Here are some suggestions for parents to investigate:
- Art. Art is fundamental to education as a cross-brain experience that involves mind, body and heart, Pittman says. A 2019 study by the Brookings Institution examined an initiative for elementary and middle school students in Houston that provided an average of 10 enriching arts education experiences across dance, music, theater and the visual arts. For elementary schools specifically, the study showed that “increases in arts learning positively and significantly affect students’ school engagement, college aspirations, and their inclinations to draw upon works of art as a means for empathizing with others.”
- Foreign languages. Research shows multiple benefits when children learn another language, according to ACTFL , an organization representing language educators and administrators. The benefits include a correlation between language learning and higher academic achievement (including higher standardized test scores); improved cognitive abilities, such as memory; and a positive attitude toward the new language and people who speak it.
- Martial arts. The martial arts are an excellent form of physical activity, and they also teach respect, honor and discipline. A recent post by Martial Arts Unleashed lists five styles that are beneficial for children: karate, taekwondo, Brazilian jiujitsu, judo and wrestling.
- Music. Music is another cross-brain experience, and countries including Japan and Denmark incorporate it into early childhood education, Pittman says. When K-12 students have a chance to play an instrument, sing in a chorus or participate in other musical activities, they are more likely to stay in school and to perform better in English, math, science and second languages, according to a 2018 report by the NAMM Foundation , a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants.
- Sports. This is another type of multi-modal learning that involves your child’s brain, physical activity and social interaction. This makes the learning “stickier” for K-5 children, Walker says. “Exercise creates an upper for the brain,” she says. “This helps us think more clearly, be more creative and reinforces the ability to learn.” The Aspen Institute’s Project Play has advice for parents who are trying to find the best sport or local program, mobilize their community to improve play, or coach children more effectively.
- STEM. Science, technology, engineering and math, commonly referred to as STEM, are key skills for today’s students. The Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool STEM Hub offers information about the importance of programs that immerse children in these subjects. Many after-school programs are trying to do more with STEM.
Options in Underserved Communities
Shannon Christian, executive director of the Worland Youth Learning Center in rural Worland, Wyoming, has seen the power of after-school programs firsthand. She tells the story of one elementary school boy who acted out in school but who was always at his best when visiting the center.
He eventually transitioned from traditional school to homeschooling but continued to attend the after-school program, where he enjoyed science and writing activities and helped teach other children. “If you could keep his mind engaged and challenged, he was an amazing kid,” Christian says.
Not all communities are lucky enough to have a facility like Worland, which accepts all students regardless of ability to pay, and parents in these communities may have to work harder to find after-school solutions.
In urban areas, parents can check with coaches or teachers, who may know of activities, or with the city’s parks and recreation department. The YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs are also often located where they can serve the greatest need, Pittman says.
Schools, libraries, faith-based organizations and 4-H often have after-school programming in rural areas, and individuals sometimes offer after-school care in their homes. Parents can also consider carpooling with other families to sports activities, or partnering with schools and organizations to launch new after-school programs in their community.
The Afterschool Alliance offers general advice for parents who are looking for or trying to create programs. Parents may be able to find charities, local organizations or grants to subsidize new programming.
Searching for a school? Explore our K-12 directory .
Tags: K-12 education , education , students , parenting
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If your child is having difficulty in health and fitness or just wants to get fit…then this is the place for them.
At Fitwize 4 kids we know that childhood obesity rates are increasing at an alarming rate and physical fitness classes are decreasing in schools. Many concerned parents are turning to Fitwize 4 Kids for help for their kids and teens.
These days it’s probably more common to have a remote control keyboard or video game controller in the hands of a child at play than a ball, glove or bike. Physical activity is so important during the formative years of a Child’s life, it’s crucial to ensure that they’re getting the exercise their bodies need.
An important way to help your child with weight loss, maintaining a normal weight and develop healthy habits is to encourage him or her to participate in regular physical activity.
At Fitwize4kids we know that childhood obesity rates are increasing at an alarming rate and physical classes are decreasing in schools. Many concerned parents are turning to Fitwize 4 Kids for help for their kids and teens.
Students and their parents love our After School Program and recommend it to their friends because we focus on five areas we call our fitness truths:
- Fitness is the heart and soul of what we do
- We unleash brain power, fitness focus and confidence
- Our instructors live to play and play to live – they are all working personal trainers and fitness instructors
- It’s not just about playing; it’s about playing on a team
- The diversity of our fitness students drives our success
Fitwize 4 Kids provides competent and caring transportation pickup service from local School Districts as well as numerous private schools, elementary and middle schools.
Also check out more information on after school programs with tips on youth sports and fitness at: pbs.org
For schedule pickup at any of our After School Program locations please email Fitwize 4 Kids at: [email protected].
* check with your local participating Fitwize 4 Kids to see what After School Programs are being offered in your area.
Healthy bodies, strong minds, build character.
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What To Eat Before and After a Workout, According to Experts
Get ready to move and maximize your gains with this expert-approved guide on what to eat before and after exercise.
When it comes to getting faster , stronger, or more powerful, it’s easy to assume that how intensely you approach your workout plays a key role. But, if you’re not adequately fueling before and after exercise, expect to see minimal gains — regardless of how intensely you train, explained Jason Machowsky, C.S.C.S. , R.D., exercise physiologist, and board-certified sports dietitian.
“Fueling prior to a workout provides your body the energy it needs to perform its best while training,” he said. “Refueling after [a workout] helps to optimize the recovery process.”
And, Katie Valdes , R.D., assistant director for sports nutrition at the University of Southern California Department of Athletics, said that not all foods — or even macronutrient distributions — are appropriate for pre- and post-workout nutrition. (In other words, just because a food is considered “healthy,” doesn’t mean it’s ideal for fueling.)
(Related: Eat These Foods Before Exercising, Says a Registered Dietitian )
Below, Machowsky and Valdes identified the best foods to eat before and after working out to help power your next session — and maximize long-term gains.
Meet the Macros: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats
In order to carry out basic functions, humans need to consume a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, otherwise known as macronutrients. To survive, and achieve optimal athletic performance, it’s important to take in a mix of the macronutrients as each carries a different role and function. And, no individual body is alike. Some athletes may require a higher amount of one macronutrient than another. Here’s what you need to know about all three.
- Carbohydrates provide energy. The body breaks carbs down into glucose (sugar), which can either be immediately used as fuel or stored as glycogen in the muscles and the liver .
- Protein comprises amino acids, which are essential for building and maintaining muscle . Essential amino acids, or EAAs, aren’t made by the body and must be consumed through food or, in some instances, supplements.
Fat is needed to absorb important micronutrients (vitamins A, D, E, and K). Fat also helps cushion vital organs, supports cell growth and is the source of energy the body taps into during endurance events .
What Should I Eat Before a Workout?
Valdes noted that pre-workout fueling can be categorized into two periods for both aerobic and anaerobic training. There’s the type of pre-workout fuel that’s best absorbed three to four hours prior to training, and then there’s fuel that’s most beneficial to consume within 10 to 30 minutes of training.
Both of those fueling periods, Valdes said, should be abundant in carbohydrates . “Our bodies utilize carbohydrates as our primary energy source, and if carbohydrate stores are not adequate, our bodies will utilize lean muscle tissue as fuel ,” she said.
For the meal, Valdes noted that, although a three- to four-hour window before exercise is ideal, the best time to fuel is largely dependent on your personal digestion.
“The goal is to have adequate time to digest the meal so there is no discomfort during exercise,” she said, noting that some people’s digestive systems will move foods faster and others a bit slower — so expect some trial and error at first.
Valdes recommended that active individuals consume a meal three to four hours before exercise with the macro ratio.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs should make up around 50-60 percent of the meal. Reach for low-glycemic, high-fiber carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, high-fiber cereals and whole-grain bread and pasta, Valdes said. Low-glycemic foods can help to maintain steady blood glucose (sugar) and energy levels for long periods of time, which is ideal for powering through tough exercise sessions.
- Protein: Aim to have protein amount for 25-30 percent of the plate. Lean protein sources , such as fish, turkey, and non-fat Greek yogurt don’t contain additional fat sources and are less likely to slow down digestion .
- Fat: Healthy fats should make up for about 20-25 percent of the meal. Healthy fats can include foods such as nuts, seeds, and fish. Fat is converted into metabolic fuel in the body, which can help support essential functions necessary for athletic performance (like muscle endurance) .
What does this look like on the plate? According to Valdes, try a turkey-and-cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread, spaghetti with turkey meatballs and a side green salad or a piece of fruit, or pretzels with nonfat Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit.
On the other side of the workout, ideally within a 10- to 30-minute window, Valdes suggested reaching for a small, carb-heavy snack that can be quickly digested. A handful of options are applesauce, a granola bar, energy chews, or a piece of fruit.
According to a 2014 study in the journal Nutrients , the efficacy of pre-workout fuel doesn’t rely on its form. In other words, if you prefer a gel or liquid over whole foods, that’s fine.
What Should I Eat After a Workout?
Once you’ve put in the hard work during exercise, fuel can help retain and bolster gains, Valdes said.
“Following a workout, carbohydrates and protein should be prioritized in a three to one ratio of carbs to protein ,” Valdes said. “Carbohydrates are needed to replenish the glycogen stores that were just utilized for training and maximize effective recovery time. Protein helps replenish the muscles and assists in muscle strength and recovery.”
Valdes said she urges athletes to stick to this step. “Without [post-workout fueling], you won't have glycogen stores for your next workout, and there won't be adequate protein to build muscle.”
(Related: How Much Protein Do You Really Need To Build Muscle? )
How quickly you refuel will vary based on your exertion, training goals, and general life circumstances (i.e., you might not have time for a full-fledged meal after an exercise session). For example, if you’re trying to put on additional muscle mass, it’s ideal to consume proper nutrients within a 30-minute time frame after working out, per the American Council on Exercise .
Valdes noted that the following meal ideas contain ample protein and carbohydrate reserves for recovery.
- Protein shake
- Chocolate milk
- Pasta with marinara sauce and chicken breast
- Carrots with hummus
- Turkey on whole-wheat bread with vegetables
- Tuna on a bed of greens with ancient grains
“The goal of these foods is to provide the body with carbs and protein, since carbs were just used as fuel for training, and protein consists of amino acids, which help rebuild and repair muscles,” Valdes said. “Both cardio and strength training will require carbs and protein for recovery.”
Words by Julia Sullivan, A.C.E.-certified personal trainer
Nutrition Tips to Maximize Your Training
Get more free nutrition tips and expert guidance to strengthen your body and mind.
Originally published: December 23, 2021
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Experts Say This Is the Top Recovery Drink To Have After a Workout
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Physical Activity Before and After School
Physical activity before and after school includes walking or biking to and from school programs, physical activity clubs, intramural programs (sports organized by the school or community in which any child can participate), interscholastic sports (competitive sports between schools), and physical activity in before-school and after-school extended day programs . 1-2
Encouraging students to be physically active before and after school helps them identify activities they enjoy and might engage in long term. 1-3
Physical activity before and after school can benefit students by 4 :
- Increasing their overall physical activity.
- Improving their grades and test scores.
- CDC Ideas for Parents: Before and After School Physical Activity [PDF-1.81MB]
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Healthy Out-of-School Time Assessment
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation and National Recreation and Park Association: Healthy Out-of-School Time Wellness Policy Implementation Guide for Parks and Recreation Agencies [PDF-1.2MB]
- Data Brief: Provide Physical Activity Before and After School
- Healthy Out of School Time Coalition: National After School Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity [PDF-2.7MB]
- Routes to Destination Strategy
- SHAPE America: Before- and After-School Physical Activity and Intramural Sport Programs (2013) [PDF-256KB]
- Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Guide for Developing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs . Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity . MMWR. 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Academic Achievement . Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
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How to Exercise in the Morning Before School
Sticking to an exercise plan is all about forming a habit. Many people find that a morning workout routine before school is easier to stick to than saving exercise for the end of the day when they may be too tired.
The obvious benefit of exercise at any time of day is better health. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves your cardiovascular health and prevents diseases such as type 2 diabetes and even cancer, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . It can also wake you up and help your mind and memory function better, according to Harvard Health Publishing .
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Before School Exercise Program
The first step to developing a morning workout routine before school is to plan how much time you need every morning. That will allow you to schedule your morning, get up at the right time and not feel stressed out or rushed.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services , adolescents aged 17 or younger should do at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each day. Ideally, you should include some vigorous aerobic activity on at least three of those days.
As part of your 60 minutes of daily exercise, you should include resistance exercises that strengthen your muscles and bones on at least three days too.
At a moderate intensity, your heart rate will quicken but you won't be out of breath, according to the Mayo Clinic . You should break out in a sweat after about 10 minutes. This is the type of workout you could do while still having a conversation with a friend.
Vigorous exercise will make your breathing deep and rapid and you'll find it hard to say more than a few words. You'll probably be sweating buckets by the end of your workout.
If you're aged over 17, you can follow the guidelines for adults, which recommend at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. You should also plan to do total-body strength training at least two days a week.
This may seem like a lot, but if you carve out the time, know what to do and make it a habit, it won't seem as overwhelming after a while. If you play sports or participate in physical education classes at school, those activities count toward your weekly quota. And if you're active on the weekend, hiking or riding bikes with friends, that can count, too.
Read more: How to Build the Best HIIT Workout For You
Get Your Cardio On
Plan to engage in some form of cardio exercise each day. If you're working out at home, go for a fast walk, jog or run, or hop on your bike and find a trail nearby to ride without worrying about traffic.
You can also do cardio exercise in your living room just by mixing up moves that can get your heart rate up. Set a timer to go off every minute, then choose several of these exercises to alternate between each minute:
- Jumping jacks
- Marching and swinging your arms
- Jumping rope
- Mountain climbers
- Squat jumps
If you like to go to the gym in the mornings, there are a variety of machines you can use, such as the treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, stair climber and elliptical. You can do a mix of moderate-intensity steady-state cardio and more intense workouts such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
To do a HIIT workout, choose an activity you like – anything from rowing to running. Then:
- Warm up for 5 minutes at an easy pace.
- Increase the intensity to about 80 to 90 percent of your max effort. Hold this pace for 30 to 90 seconds.
- Reduce the intensity to the equivalent of a fast walk or jog for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Repeat steps two and three for the remainder of your workout.
- Cool down for 5 minutes.
Read more: How to Find the Best At-Home Workouts for You
Add in Strength Training
Strength training need not be complicated. You don't have to go to the gym and lift a lot of heavy weights, unless you want to. You can get an effective total-body strength training workout right in your home.
Invest in dumbbells or resistance bands. A pull-up bar that installs in a doorway is also a great inexpensive piece of equipment to have.
With these on hand, you have everything required to do your morning workout routine to build muscle at home. Try the following exercises in your workouts :
- Resistance band rows
- Squats (with or without weights)
- Lunges (with or without weights)
- Renegade rows
- Triceps dips
Try Circuit Workouts
Combine cardio and strength training by doing a circuit workout. Choose several resistance exercises, and do one set of each exercise back-to-back without resting in between. You can do a certain number of repetitions for each exercise or spend a certain amount of time on each one.
Add in a few cardio intervals in between, such as jumping rope for one minute. At the end of the round, rest for a minute or two, then do another round. Do as many as five rounds to complete your cardio and strength-training workout.
- US Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Exercise Versus Caffeine: Which Is Your Best Ally to Fight Fatigue?"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Exercise Intensity: How to Measure It"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Physical Activity"
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'The Art of Nursing'
In this episode of Penn College's Tomorrow Makers podcast, you'll meet Elizabeth A. Legarski, nursing instructor, and Kayla Kerstetter, a nursing student from Trevorton. Each holds two degrees from the college – Legarski in physical fitness specialist and nursing, Kerstetter in exercise science and applied health studies – and both found their way to nursing after exploring other possible career paths.
Legarski and Kerstetter join co-hosts Sumer Beatty and Carlos Ramos to talk about those journeys and their personalized approach to nursing, an ideal listen for anyone considering a nursing career or curious about altering their own trajectory.
Share thoughts about the episode (or suggest future topics) by email .
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A student is fatally shot outside a high school in Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A student died Friday after being shot in a parking lot outside his Indianapolis high school, authorities said.
The teenage student was shot shortly before 1 p.m. outside KIPP Indy Legacy School, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
The shooter was another teenager who is not a student at the school, Lt. Shane Foley said.
The student was walking home when he was shot, KIPP Indy Public Schools said in a statement.
IMPD North District Commander Matt Thomas told reporters near the shooting scene that he was “frustrated.”
“This is absolutely unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that in the community, we’ve had conversations about youth violence all week, and this is how our week ends,” Thomas said.
Mayor Joe Hogsett issued a statement saying the “shooting of an Indianapolis teen is another example of the horrific combination of access to firearms and a failure of conflict resolution. No young person should have to worry about gun violence, let alone near a school.”
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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