Think back to when your middle or high schooler was a young child. Remember how they were little busy bodies, just bursting with energy? Those days were long and exhausting but you never had to worry if they were getting enough exercise because they never stopped moving, bopping from one activity to the next.
Now you have a tween or young teen. Their days of early rising are a thing of the past and their daily activity level has probably dwindled down. Adolescents tend to turn their attention off of physical activities like sports and dance and onto things like part-time jobs, friends, and their studies. They have a lot to juggle at this age and often times their fitness falls to the wayside.
It’s been shown that people who have led an active life starting at a young age tend to be active and healthy throughout their adult life. We all know that the benefits of an active lifestyle are plentiful. Not only will exercise help your teen to maintain a healthy weight, but people who exercise tend to have better outlooks on life, better overall health, and those who partake in sports have higher self-confidence. Let’s take a look at how you can encourage your teen to add fitness into their daily schedule and get them back on track.
Medical professionals recommend that tweens and teens get one hour or more of physical activity each day. Encourage your teen to incorporate some form of activity each day whether it is skateboarding, bicycling, yoga, swimming, sledding, snowshoeing, football, baseball, karate, etc. The list of exercise possibilities is endless.
Even everyday activities present exercise opportunities. Remember, chores burn calories (plus it frees your day up when the whole family helps with household chores). Need something from the convenience store at the corner? Have your teen walk there instead of driving. Is your teen looking for a part time job? Suggest they try babysitting. Watching kids is a sure way to burn calories because they keep you on your feet!
Some form of screen time is being had at most moments of the day, especially when your teen is a virtual learner. It’s no surprise it’s hard for teens to find time to exercise when upwards of eight or more hours each day are spent in front of the screen. This includes watching TV, completing their schooling, browsing online, and playing video games.
Sit down with your teen and discuss how you would like them to find time to add one hour of physical activity into each day. Let them have control on how they want to add it in. They may agree to wake up earlier and get it out of the way first thing. They may wish to break up their school day and clear their mind just before lunch. Or, they may find they like to exercise prior to bed. Anytime is fine as long as they agree to get it in.
Like most things, once you get rolling, the momentum builds and it’s easy to keep going. Exercise reduces stress, increases energy, and gives an overall feeling of good health. Once your teen starts adding daily exercise into their routine, they’ll love the feeling and want to keep going.
Just like when your kids were younger, try to encourage your teen to find activities that they find fun. When someone has fun, they are more apt to keep going. Suggest that they try to have a friend join them in their choice of exercise. They may find it more fun if they have an exercise partner to keep them on track and motivated. Plus, it gives them another opportunity to hang with their friends and what teen doesn’t want that?
A great way to get your teen interested in exercise is to make it a family affair! Every member of the family will benefit from becoming more physically active. Join a local gym that offers something for everyone and go as a family every night. Becoming a healthier family will be good for everyone and you can help each other stay on track with your physical fitness goals. Be a positive role model for your teen by leading by example. After all, they look to you for guidance and follow in your footsteps.
Make sure that your teens don’t try to run a marathon their first time on the treadmill. If they have led a sedentary lifestyle, they will need to start off slow then build up their momentum. Trying to tackle too much at once will result in injuries and can be discouraging in the long run.
Talk to a doctor if you are concerned about your child not getting enough fitness or if they are at an unhealthy weight. They will be able to give you additional pointers and make sure that your teen is adding in a fitness activity that will best suit them.
Should your child have a medical condition that makes you concerned about them adding in exercise, bring this to your doctor’s attention also. Often times, there are still ways they can stay physically fit but it may take some modifications or shorter time intervals. Their doctors will be able to advise you properly.
Is there a type of activity that your teen enjoys doing? What activities do you do as a family to keep your family fit and active? Leave a comment down below and let us know! For more on how to get your teen motivated physically and mentally, visit our Facebook page.