After spending the day sitting through classes, teens across America head home to start on homework, check social media and catch up on Netflix. With concerns about obesity rates rising in America, adolescents should establish a fitness routine early in life, setting themselves up for success in health. Specifically, teenage girls can perform several challenging exercises outlined below to keep themselves fit and toned.

Tips for Success

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. They should focus the majority of this time on moderate or vigorous exercise and include some strength training three times per week.

Also, adults should encourage teenage girls to exercise for health and fitness, not placing too much emphasis on a thin appearance. They already receive much pressure from peers and media to have a beautiful, thin body. Unless these girls weigh more than the recommendation for their age, adults should not encourage them to exercise for weight loss.


Challenging Exercises for Teenage Girls

During exercise, teenage girls should practice care by slowly increasing the workout intensity. Setting weekly or daily goals may help them limit the intensity while still challenging and conditioning themselves. As always, they should talk about their fitness with a doctor before beginning a rigorous workout routine.


Here are eight challenging exercises that will keep teenage girls fit and healthy:

  1. Dips Position yourself on the edge of a chair with hands resting on it, palms down. Keeping your legs outstretched, slowly slide off the chair while lowering yourself. Your arms should reach a 90-degree angle before you pull yourself back up. Repeat several times for one set.
  2. Side Leg Raises Using a yoga mat, lay on your left side with your left hand facing palm down on the floor (to balance your weight). Then, raise your right leg up and hold, pointing the toe. Do several repetitions before switching to the other side.
  3. Jumping Lunges Start with right knee slightly bent and left leg forward in lunge position. Keep your hands at your sides or on your hips for balance. Then, jump in the air while switching to the opposite leg, landing in lunge position.  For added intensity, keep one arm raised above the head and switch to the opposite arm during the jump. Repeat several times for one interval.
  4. Cardio Squats Stand straight with hands resting on the hips. Then, bend your knees and lower your glutes into the squat position, being careful not to push your knees to far forward.  You should feel your glutes working. For an added cardio challenge, repeat these squats at a rapid pace for at least 60 seconds and rest.
  5. Jump Rope To get that cardio worked into the fitness routine, jumping rope makes a great option. This movement will bring the heart rate up in vigorous exercise while working on core balance. Beginners should work up to the intensity by jumping rope for a short interval and increasing that rate over time.
  6. Plank Leg Raise Start in plank position with elbows resting on a mat or cushioned area and body raised off the floor. Keep the feet and elbows about shoulder-width apart.  Lift one leg off the mat, pressing up on the glutes. Then, push the raised leg off to one side and hold. Return to normal plank position and repeat with the opposite leg.
  7. Weighted Shoulder Press Using two- or three-pound weights, start with elbows tucked in and weights held vertically at your sides (as if you’re holding an ice cream cone). Keeping elbows tucked in, bring the weights up to shoulder level, then push them above your head. Bring them back down to your shoulders and finally by your sides again.  To work even more muscle groups, alternate pushing up into a shoulder press with bringing the hands in front of you for a chest press. Repeat for several repetitions.
  8. “V” Sit and Twist Start by sitting on a mat or cushion. Then, bring your legs up with knees bent. At the same time, pull your upper body off the mat with your abdominal muscles until your body is holding a V shape.  In this position, reach your right arm across to your left side and back again, twisting at your trunk. Repeat with the left arm in this deep core-strengthening exercise. After several repetitions, lower yourself onto the mat for a rest.

While teenage girls should not focus solely on attaining a small size, they should stay fit and active. They can combine the above exercises with a balanced high-intensity cardio routine for optimal health. Establishing this routine at a young age will help to keep them fit and toned both now and later in life.

This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.