Kids Health

International Children’s Day: 10 wellness rules for teens to follow

Too many parties, too many sleepovers, too much of fast food can add a lot of unwanted toxins in the body. So, while you indulge, it’s a good idea to detox once in a while when you stay away from any kind of excess.

Teenagers, poised towards adulthood, are often faced with problems of stress and wellness. Here are some tips that you can share with them to help stay calm and healthy.

By Neeraa Maini Srivastava

Drop the weights

Believe it or not, this is the age when muscle mass builds on its own. So, do not interfere with Mother Nature and make the mistake of hitting the gym for weights. While it may be the cool thing to do, it may hamper your natural muscle growth. Instead, opt for outdoor exercises like swimming, cycling, etc. as they help build a healthy metabolism. There is plenty of time for gym burnouts at a later age. For now, focus on a good protein intake that will aid in building muscle mass.

The eat out syndrome

Sure there are a lot of tempting foods available in eateries from pizzas and doughnuts to burgers, steaks, fries and a lot more. And it’s fun to eat out and savour the restaurant foods once in a while but hold it— home-cooked food is a lot healthier because you can be sure of the safety of the ingredients and ensure no preservatives are used. So, freak out if you must but draw your own line or you will be complaining far too often of gastric troubles that may lead to more serious conditions. Best to head home for healthy food.

Happy feet

Choosing the right footwear whether it is sneakers or stilettos, boots or wedges, go a long way to healthy bones and joints. One thing’s for sure, go for quality and not fad. Doctors suggest that wrong footwear that do not cushion the soles in the right way can cause permanent damage to the health of joints and lead to aching feet and early onset of arthritic conditions. So, while that pair may look like a million bucks, ensure it is worth your feet.

Skin mantras

Most teens are prone to skin problems like acne, blemishes, oily skin, etc. While you need not drool over the products in the market, you can follow a good skin care regime: Firstly, choose a good face cleanser that clears the oil, dirt, impurities and other pore blockers. And cleanse every time you expose your skin outdoors. Follow up with a moisturizer daily. Secondly, pay attention to your diet: avoid fried foods and chocolates that can aggravate the problem. And lastly, avoid getting carried away by skin enhancing treatments that are a no-no at this age.

For your ears only

Every day, we experience sound in our environment, such as the sounds from television and radio, household appliances, and traffic. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels that don’t damage our hearing. But sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting. The multiple device lifestyle may sound cool but yes, sound is the very point of concern. While you may sway to that blaring noise of rock and pop, or plug in your headset for hours of music, be careful of the volume. They say prolonged exposure to sounds on a high volume may cause irreparable damage to the ears. These sounds can damage sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This means keeping your personal device on less than 70% of maximum when you use earphones.

Go for the right energy drinks

Although energy drinks are easily confused with sports drinks and vitamin waters, they are actually quite distinct. Like regular soft drinks, energy drinks are mostly water and sugar, but with larger amount of caffeine–upto three times the amount of caffeine found in cola besides taurine, sugars, sweeteners, herbal supplements, and other harmful ingredients. They can induce caffeine intoxication, caffeine withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, caffeine overdose, which can be life-threatening, cardiovascular problems, raised blood pressure, obesity, sleep disorders, calcium deficiency, dental problems, anxiety, depression, and other unpleasant side effects. So, keep your caffeine consumption to less than 100 milligrams per day.

Preserve your vision

After staring at a computer monitor, tablet or even a mobile screen for hours on end, have your eyes ever felt dry, itchy or irritated? Has your vision become blurry, or have you ever seen double? Has your head begun to pound because of all the squinting and straining? Between 50 and 90% of people who work in front of a computer screen have some symptoms of eye trouble. But you can combat these. Ensure the top of the screen is at level with your eyes. Next, reduce glare by angling the monitor so that you can see no reflections of any lights on the front surface of the monitor. Or try the “three B’s approach”: Blink, breathe and break. “Blink often to moisten and refresh your eyes. Correct breathing can relax the eye muscles. So, be conscious of your breathing. And frequent breaks are a must. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet away.”

Take a day to detox

Too many parties, too many sleepovers, too much of fast food can add a lot of unwanted toxins in the body that can weigh your energies down. So, while you indulge, it’s a good idea to detox once in a while when you stay away from any kind of excess. Top up with fruits, raw vegetables, salads, plenty of water, green tea, walks, fresh air, exercise and adequate rest till your body has regained its balance and thrown out all the toxins. Making this a regular habit in the teens will ensure a healthy you in your later adulthood.

Keep walking

Pledge to walk 10,000 steps a day if you want to be fit and healthy. Of course you don’t have to do all of it at one go but set a goal everyday and get your body moving. For short distances, avoid the car or bus and take the stair instead of the lift. The point is to be active on your feet for most part of the day. It keeps the metabolism ticking at a happy level and cuts the fat. Lastly, it is the simplest and most inexpensive way to stay fit.

Eat fruit, don’t drink it

Did you know that juice is a far less healthy option than a real piece of fruit. Not only does the juicing process destroy a number of fruits’ beneficial compounds and antioxidants, it removes nearly all of the natural fibre. This must be why eating fruit lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes while drinking fruit (in the form of juice) actually increases it. And while it’s often marketed as healthy and natural, juice is not a low-calorie beverage. Just eight ounces of regular orange juice, for instance, contains over 110 calories, the equivalent of almost two oranges. However, you won’t feel as filled up, because the juice doesn’t contain any fibre. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the calories are worth the vitamins — a single orange provides well over the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and without as high a spike in blood sugar. So, slice is the way to go.

(Extracted with permission from 150 Brilliant Ideas to Keep Young Minds Fit and Fine by Neeraa Maini Srivastava, published by Pustak Mahal.)

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