Encouraging your teens to be active emphasizes the immediate benefits of an active lifestyle and recommends that teens get at least an hour of physical activity. Study has shown that children who enjoy sports and exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. Furthermore, fitness sports take teens’ minds off destructive habits like drugs, smoking, alcohol, and teen sex addictions. Besides, regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems down the road.
Fitness Regimen In The Teen Years
Given the chance and interest, teens can pick up on almost any activity that they enjoy. This starts from competitive to noncompetitive sports, exercise classes to playing with friends. Equally, indoor cycling, football, yoga, swimming, dancing, or martial arts all qualify as great fitness activities. Also, weight training, under the direction of a qualified adult, can improve strength and help prevent sports injuries. In all, the potential to get physically fit is endless.
Other everyday routines can also be included in teens’ fitness, such as walking to school, doing chores, or finding an active part-time job. Even younger teens can enjoy opportunities to take on new responsibilities and be in charge, such as taking care of their small brothers or sisters, junior sports counselors at summer camps, or assistant coaches for young sports teams can serve that need while also providing the child with a chance to be active.
Reasons Why Your Teens Shun Exercise
Teens face many new social and academic pressures in addition to dealing with emotional and physical changes. Recent studies have shown that teens on average are spending more than 6 hours a day on various media, including watching television, listening to music, going online, and playing video games. It is no surprise that teens cannot find the time to exercise and many parents find it difficult to encourage their teens to get active.
Not given the freedom to choose an activity
Encouraging your teens to be active means you have to give your child control over how he or she decides to be physically active. Since teens define themselves and want the freedom to make their own decisions, they don’t want to be forced into anything they are told to do. As parents let them understand it is about being regularly physically active. And not so much about what the sport is.
For instance, there are various options for physical activity. However, for your teens to be interested it has to be fun. Therefore support your child’s choices by providing equipment, transportation, and companionship. Also, make available opportunities for them to be active with their friends. In the end, once they get started, your teens will enjoy the well-being feeling, reduced stress and depression. Before you know it, they don’t need to be prompted to exercise because of the increased strength and energy they get from exercise.
Not finding an exercise routine that fits with the schedule
You can help your teen to stay active by finding an exercise regimen that fits with his or her schedule. For instance, encouraging your teen to be active is also about looking for alternative options such as a teen gym membership after school to replace a team sport at school. Your teen might also feel more at home with home exercise videos. If transportation is a barrier, plan your teen’s exercise program with your own. And most important is to talk with your teen about reducing the time spent on sedentary activities, including watching TV and using the computer.
What To Do If Your Teen Has Physical And Health Issues
If you are concerned about your teen’s fitness, the best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. Teens who are overweight or very sedentary may need to start activities slowly. Your doctor may be able to recommend programs or help you devise a fitness plan. In addition, teens with chronic health conditions or disabilities should not be excluded from fitness activities. Instead of exclusion, modify or adapt the exercise routine. However, some activities may be too risky depending on your child’s condition. So consult your doctor about which activities are safe.
What To Do If Your Teen Is Overdoing Fitness
Some teens may be overdoing it when it comes to fitness. For example, young athletes, particularly those involved in gymnastics, wrestling, or dance, may face pressures to lose weight. So, speak with your doctor if your teen refuses to eat certain food groups (such as fats), becomes very worried about body image, appears to be exercising compulsively, or experiences a sudden change in weight.
Another dangerous issue that can arise is the use of steroids particularly in sports where size and strength are valued. Speak with your child’s doctor if you suspect your child is using steroids or other performance-enhancing substances. Finally, if your child complains of pain during sports and exercise, speak with your child’s doctor.
Aside from encouraging your teens to be active, everyone can benefit from being physically fit. Staying fit can help improve your child’s self-esteem and decrease the risk of serious illnesses (such as heart disease and stroke) later in life. In addition, regular physical activity can help your teen learn to meet the physical and emotional challenges he or she faces every day.
On a last note, part of encouraging your teens to be active may include becoming a positive role model yourself. This you can achieve by regularly exercising with your child. Try to spend time being active together. Take bike rides, hike on the hills, hit a tennis ball around, and go to a local swimming pool. You can even arrange an exercise routine or kick football together. You are not only working together to reach your fitness goals but also have a great chance to bond with your teen.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons