It seems that as the years go on, our children are becoming more and more sedentary. They are turning to their phones instead of riding bikes and hanging outdoors. Since this has become a societal norm, more teens are becoming overweight than ever before. A lot of teens claim not to have the time in their day to fit in the recommended 60 minutes of exercise. They are bombarded with homework and other obligations, but something is better than nothing. Helping to get your teen off of the couch and on the move will help them lower the risk for all kinds of weight-related diseases. It can be hard to have your teen go from zero to sixty in a day but encouraging them to slowly increase their activity level can have big payoffs in the health department. Check out some tips to get them moving.
If you come at your kid like a bootcamp instructor, their muscles will be very sore the next day and their nerves will be frazzled. This approach rarely works when you’re trying to get your teen to enjoy exercise, especially when just starting out. Instead, take the “dip your toes in” approach. Think of something that is exercise but is also fun. Do they like nature? Try taking them on a canoeing trip. Not an outdoors person? How about taking them to one of the trampoline parks? Those are a fantastic workout! When your child is interested in the activity (and not totally whipped the first time) they are more likely to want to continue doing the activity. Find something they are interested in, and gradually build up their endurance.
Sneak it in during down time.
When your teen is vegging out and watching TV at night, or playing their favorite video game, do quick fitness challenges during commercial breaks or between rounds. When a commercial comes on, challenge everyone to see who can do 10 pushups the fastest or have a sit-up contest. If you’re watching TV you can make up a game where whenever someone says a specific word (such as a character’s name, catch phrase, etc.), everyone does a certain fitness activity. These don’t need to be time consuming activities; they are meant to be short, quick, fun little bursts of exercise sprinkled into their day.
Encourage organized sports.
One good way to get them physically active is to encourage them to join a sports team. Do they enjoy playing a fast sport, like basketball? See if there are any teams that they can try out for. Does your teen love playing in the water? Perhaps you can get a membership to your local Y or city rec center and let them swim. If your teen is timid, teams are a great way to get them involved because they’ll have the encouragement of their peers.
Set a good example.
As you often hear people say, your child’s first teacher is you, the parent. Lead by example. Show them what good exercise habits look like. Show them that it’s not a chore to work out, rather it makes your body and your mind feel good and healthy. Let them know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The results from physical activity will become evident but it takes time. They will be happier and healthier when they come up with a routine that includes exercise into the fold.
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