Health Tips for Teens
It’s never too early to begin practicing good health habits. Oftentimes, teens focus on living in the moment without fully realizing that how they act now can significantly influence what they will do in the future. The fact is, all humans are creatures of habit, and what we do on a regular basis often becomes permanent. Even though a habit may be a simple act, it can have enormous power over time. For instance, many serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, can develop later in life as a result of certain behaviors, such as smoking, that were established during an individual’s teenage years.
To promote good health throughout adulthood, here are some general tips for teens:
- Try to engage in some form of exercise every day – and remember, exercise doesn’t have to be grueling to be effective; a better approach may be to choose something fun and stick with it
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight (losing weight becomes increasingly difficult with age)
- Eat a nutritious diet that is rich in fruits and vegetable and low in fats, sugars, and processed foods
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Brush and floss all teeth twice daily
- Get eight to nine hours of sleep every night
- Don’t use tobacco products and avoid secondhand smoke
- When driving or riding in a car as a passenger, always wear a seat belt
- When riding a bicycle, skateboard, or motorcycle, always wear an appropriate protective helmet
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Never drink and drive, or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs
- Never text and drive
- Never swim alone
- Apply sunscreen before spending time outdoors (and don’t use indoor tanning beds)
- Practice safe sex by either abstaining or using a condom to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
- Talk with a parent, doctor, teacher, or other trusted adult about feelings of overwhelming sadness or thoughts of self-harm
- See a doctor for regular checkups and appropriate immunizations
Of course, teens should also understand that habits can be changed. Sometimes it may not be enough to simply give up a bad habit; instead, the bad habit must be replaced with a good one. It can take some time for actions to turn into habits, but learning how to create good habits can serve a teen well for the rest of his or her life.
At South Tampa Immediate Care, our experienced medical staff is available to address any health-related questions you or your teen may have. Our walk-in clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we do not require appointments.