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Fitness During Puberty

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Updated March 24, 2009

Exercise helps kids cope with the changes of puberty.

Exercise helps kids cope with the changes of puberty.

Barry Austin, Digital Vision - Getty Images

Kids' bodies (and brains) change rapidly during puberty, which can quickly lead to feelings of awkwardness or more serious body image issues. Frequent physical activity may help tweens and teens feel more in control of their changing bodies. Exercise can also help kids in puberty manage stress and maintain their weight (even as their hormones compel them to add pounds). But to make sure your child feels comfortable with his body and with fitness, it's important to lay a strong foundation well before the teen years.

Boys and Puberty

During puberty, boys may become more athletic thanks to added muscle and height. Even overweight boys may be inspired to exercise more, but obese boys may avoid physical activity due to embarrassment.

Girls and Puberty

It's no surprise that puberty can be a trying time for girls. Those who develop early may feel ashamed of their new curves and status as sexual beings. Those who develop later than their peers feel left behind. Weight gain associated with puberty is normal, but can leave girls worrying, "Am I fat?"

Building a Better Body Image

Try these confidence-boosting tips from experts and parents to help build your tween or tween's body image during puberty. Most apply to both girls and boys.
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