I try to do resistance training twice a week. It’s safe for kids, too, if properly supervised. And it’s fun! And you add muscle, which burns fat 24/7.
You don’t even need to go to a gym to do resistance training! Supervised martial arts training may do the trick as well for teenaged girls. It can also reduce inflammatory markers that predict progression to heart disease.
Citing an article in the esteemed journal Pediatrics:
CONCLUSIONS: The results of our analysis indicate that the ability to gain muscular strength seems to increase with age and maturational status, but there is no noticeable boost during puberty.
An article in the LA Times highlights the “fun” aspects of weight training:
Unlike aerobic exercise, strength training is inherently appealing because it involves short periods of activity followed by rest periods. It’s true that 30 minutes on a treadmill is going to burn more calories than 30 minutes of lifting weights. But most likely an obese kid will hate the former, while he could enjoy — and even excel at — the latter.
“Obese kids aren’t going to be very good at aerobic activities,” Dr. Teri McCambridge, head of the Council of Sport Medicine and Fitness for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told me. “Forcing them to engage in it is hard on their joints and bad for their self-confidence.”
You can strengthen your muscles at home using just your own body weight!