Do you know a teen who could use a little more exercise? Less than 10% of teens get the hour of daily exercise that they need. Between electronic devices, homework, and awkward changing bodies, exercising can seem like the last thing teens want to do. But the benefits of exercise for a teen are numerous. Exercise helps to reduce stress, burn calories, improve body image, improve complexion, strengthen bones, jumpstart the immune system, and boost blood flow to the brain (which can even help with school performance) – just to name a few! So how can you help your inactive teen get moving??
- Build slowly. Starting an exercise routine can cause soreness and make you feel miserable if you push yourself too hard at the beginning. Start with something easy and light and work your way up from there.
- Make screen time count. When your family spends time in front of a screen try building in some exercise, such as seeing who can do the most push-ups during commercial breaks.
- Set small goals. Reaching goals helps boost motivation, increases sense of accomplishment, and makes exercise seem more fun!
- Make workouts enjoyable. What does your teen like to do? Be outside? Play a sport? Dance? Martial arts? Is there an exercise class for teens available in your community? If they enjoy it, they will continue to do it!
- Don’t forget weight training. Weights can be a good activity for those who aren’t used to aerobic exercise. Just make sure that your teen has been educated on proper form to avoid injuries. Does your teen’s school offer a weight training class? Are local teen programs or personal trainers available to get them started?
- Make it social. Invite friends to the gym, on a hike, or to walk around the mall!
- Encourage participation in sports. Even if your teen isn’t super competitive, sports like running track or cross country, joining the ski club, or participating in running or cycling races can encourage social engagement, which always makes exercise more fun!
- Be an active role model. Show your teen that exercise is important by being active yourself. They may want to join you at the gym, or for a walk, or doing yard work!
- Show support. Help your teen find an activity they love and help them to get there. Praise their achievements but don’t put too much pressure on them!
- Create family time. Make exercise a way to spend time together, such as walks, bike rides, swimming, a kickball game, or even yard work.