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Physical Activity Linked to Healthy Metabolic Profiles in Teens

Physical Activity Linked to Healthy Metabolic Profiles in Teens

An active lifestyle in your teen years allows for a healthier adulthood.

As a high school junior, Baker Mayfield was the starting quarterback for the Lake Travis Cavaliers football team in Austin, Texas. He led those Cavs to a 25–2 record in two seasons and won the 2011 4A State Championship. His teen commitment to sports propelled him to a Heisman Trophy after playing for the University of Oklahoma, later becoming the #1 NFL draft pick, chosen by the Cleveland Browns.

That makes sense to researchers from the UK who recently published a study in PLOS Medicine. The researchers compared over 200 metabolic traits for 1,826 girls and boys at ages 12, 14 and 15 whose mothers signed them up for the study at birth. They looked at such metabolic markers as blood pressure, good HDL and lousy LDL cholesterol, insulin and blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. The researchers also measured activity levels from 2003–2005, 2005–2006 and 2006–2008. The results reveal that more active adolescents have healthier metabolic profiles, which helps assure them of a healthier life as adults. We’re guessing Baker Mayfield’s metabolic profile fits that playbook pretty well.

But to retain those youthful benefits, like Mayfield, you have to stay active. Lead researcher Joshua Bell says, “Keeping it up is key. This includes making weight loss via diet a priority, since higher weight is itself a barrier to moving." He also adds that it’s never too late for anyone to benefit from physical activity. We agree and that’s why we say (and do) 10,000 steps daily! You can too, with the help of the Sharecare app for iOS and Android, where you can track your steps and fitness goals.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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