Adolescents today lead a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before, spending hours each day sitting in front of screens or engaging in other sedentary activities.
Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle can put them at risk of developing an enlarged heart, according to recent research.
In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle for your teen’s heart, and why it’s important to encourage them to get moving.
The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that sedentary time may increase heart size three times more than moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in adolescents.
The study examined the associations between sedentary time, light physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity with cardiac structure and function.
The results showed that both sedentary time and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were associated with higher left ventricular mass, but the increase in cardiac mass associated with sedentary time was three times higher than the increase associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
These findings are particularly concerning given that more than 80% of adolescents across the globe have insufficient physical activity per day, according to recent reports by the World Health Organization.
Physical inactivity has been linked to several non-communicable diseases in adults, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
In adolescents, a higher left ventricular mass and a reduced left ventricular function may lead to an increased risk of heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, and premature cardiovascular death.
Encouraging Physical Activity in Your Teen
Enroll your teen in sports. Sports are a great way to encourage physical activity and promote teamwork and socialization.
Take family walks or bike rides. Make physical activity a fun and social activity by taking family walks or bike rides on weekends or after dinner.
Encourage walking or biking to school. Walking or biking to school is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your teen’s daily routine.
Limit screen time. Set limits on your teen’s screen time and encourage them to engage in other activities, such as reading or playing a musical instrument.
Find activities your teen enjoys. Encourage your teen to find physical activities they enjoy, such as swimming, dancing, or playing basketball. It’s easier to stay active when you’re doing something you enjoy.
Remember, physical activity doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. Even light physical activity can have a positive impact on heart health. Encourage your teen to make physical activity a part of their daily routine to keep their hearts healthy and promote overall wellness.
In conclusion, a sedentary lifestyle can have serious implications for your teen’s heart health.
By encouraging physical activity and limiting sedentary time, you can help ensure that your teen maintains a healthy heart and reduces their risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. So, let’s get our teens moving and make physical activity a part of their daily routine!
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