As children turn in to teenagers, it is easy for them to become more sedentary as they succumb to pressures of school, social activities, keeping up with friends on their phones, and pubescent hormones. If they did play outside before (even younger children are doing so less often), they now tend to spend more time inside, in their rooms, or with friends “chilling” and “hanging out.” This type of activity doesn’t typically involve a lot of exercise whether they are at the movies, drinking sodas and eating popcorn, or standing around at the mall in groups.
The World Health Organization recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes or one hour of physical activity per day. What can you do to help your teen adopt healthy habits that will stick with them through the years?
Tip #1 – Find a Physical Activity or Sport That Your Teen Enjoys
One of the best ways to keep your teen moving is to engage them in something active without feeling like it is work. To do this, explore different options with no pressure on the teen to perform a certain way or to like the activity as much as you might. Try things like hiking and family activities like badminton and flag football. When everyone is involved and moving, it doesn’t feel like exercise and it doesn’t feel like work. Instead, they are just engaged and having fun. Model the behavior you would like to see in your child by actively participating and being open to new ideas for activities. Bowling, swimming, mountain biking, and taking dance classes are all good suggestions.
Tip #2 – Take a Training Class Together or Let Them Explore on Their Own
There are a wide variety of training and exercise classes that might be interesting for your teen. Zumba is one type of class that integrates a lot of dancing with exercise for a fun workout. However, some teens don’t want to be in a community setting for their work outs and would prefer something private and tailored more to their specific needs. If they could access that training by scheduling trainers and sessions on their cell phones, like what Fit Fast Trainers personal training provides, even better. No matter the format, be sure classes focus on strength exercises, like using their own body weight for building bone mass, endurance activities like running, cardio to help with energy, and flexibility with a lot of stretching. For teens under age 16, be sure to avoid classes with very heavy weight lifting since muscles are still under development at this stage.
Tip #3 – Focus on Positive Feedback
Whatever activities your teen attempts, be sure to provide a lot of positive reinforcement. Especially during the awkward and self-conscious teen years, it is critical to help your teen have a positive body image and sense of self.
Tip #4 – Highlight Effects That Aren’t Physical, Too
It is very easy to point out weight loss or muscle building when pointing out positive effects of physical activity, but there are other benefits equally as important that can’t always be seen. Help your teen to recognize these benefits and they will be more likely to keep at it in the future. Stress relief, better performance in school, increased motivation, greater energy, and better mood are all effects of physical activity that are crucial for the teen years.
Tip #5 – Promote Routine
Whether your teen focuses on cycling, yoga, or personal training, help them to establish a routine that becomes a habit. A trainer can help with determining proper amounts of exercise and number of times per week to be exercising, but the routine nature of activity is critical for it to become a natural part of the lives. As they go off to college or work and enter the real world very soon, they will carry the good habits of daily exercise with them.