By Amy Nash, MD
As children move into adolescence, it becomes increasingly important for them to stay active. Television, video games and other screens are all barriers to physical activity. Your teen should aim for 60 minutes of exercise each day in addition to physical education and recess at school. Easier said than done? Here are some ways to encourage your teenager to get moving, as well as things to keep in mind with any exercise regimen.
Make it Fun & Social
Even for adults, exercise can be more of a chore than a treat, so the activity should be fun for your kids. Suggest physical activities that your teen already enjoys and help him/her make them part of the daily routine. Also, if your teen is social, encourage him/her to exercise with friends. Pickup games of soccer or basketball are easy to organize on short notice. Exercise with your kids, and try to focus family time around outdoor activities, such as bike riding, roller blading and hiking.
It is important to stretch before and after any physical activity. Also, be sure to have the right equipment, such as proper shoes, helmets and pads/guards, if necessary.
Don’t Burn Out - Increase Activity Gradually
Tell your teen to listen to his/her body. Setting unreasonable goals can result in rejecting the activity altogether. Kids should gradually increase exercise over time. This also will help prevent injuries.
Exercise and Nutrition
Staying active and eating right go hand in hand. Click here
for our recent blog post on Nutritional Guidelines for Teens.
Ideas for Physical Activity
Is your teen “allergic” to sports or reluctant to go to the gym? If so, there are many daily activities that also get the heart pumping, such as washing the car, dancing and even shoveling snow. Click here for a list of physical activity ideas for teens from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Have you successfully incorporated exercise into your teen’s daily life? If so, tell us how in the comments below!