With more and more reasons to stare at a screen all day, teens may become less active and suffer from negative physical effects.
A healthy lifestyle for teenagers is key to improving their quality of life, social behavior, emotional intelligence, and academic performance.
However, as their hormones swing into full gear, their motivation to get up and move is likely going to decline. Staying active can be challenging for your teenager as they tend to lose interest in former hobbies and prefer solitude to physical activity.
It’s not that they are choosing to be lazy – they are simply dealing with a lot of confusing changes that make them want to hibernate in their room until the world starts making sense.
As a parent, there are ways that you can encourage your teen to stay active and develop healthy hobbies and interests. Here are some tips for getting it done:
6 Ways You Can Encourage Your Teens to Stay Active
1. Help Them Find a New Hobby
It could be that your teen is inactive because they are bored and need something new to pique their interest.
For example, longboarding can be a great new summer activity!
Pay attention when they express interest in trying something and encourage them to go for it. If they enjoy doing something, they will be more motivated to stay active.
2. Be a Role Model
Even in their teenage years, children look to their parents to know how to behave. If you want to encourage them to be more active, you have to start being more active!
Plus, how many times have you tried to give your teen advice only to have it go in one ear and out the other?
If you want your teen to change their behaviors, you have to SHOW them how – not tell them. You can influence your teen’s activity levels by modeling good fitness habits.
3. Slowly Build Up Healthy Habits
You won’t motivate your teen to stay active by hauling them out of their bedroom and taking them on a 5K run. You have to start small, which is key to creating good habits!
Your teen will be deterred from building healthy habits if starting out is too taxing for them. Begin with something easy and let them work their way to increasing their activity levels.
This could mean having them try something new or exercising for 10 minutes each day. You can go for a walk as a family, lift some weights together, go swimming – whatever interests your teen.
As your teen builds confidence in being active, you can increase the time to 30 minutes per day.
4. Make It Social
Your teen is unlikely to stay active if they have to do it alone. You can make physical activity a family affair or have them invite their friends to join.
You can have your family play basketball in the evenings after supper or have your teen invite their friends over to skateboard.
If your teen likes to go out and about with their friends, encourage them to walk or bike instead of driving them. Adding this social element will definitely encourage your teen to stay active.
5. Work With Screen Time, Not Against It
Many teenagers nowadays are glued to their phones and computers. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your teen gets no more than two hours a day of screen time, such as playing on the phone, watching TV, or playing video games.
To encourage your teen to be more active, set rules on screen time. Don’t take away their devices completely but find ways to incorporate physical activity when they are using them.
For example, schedule activity breaks while your teen is at home or have them engage in some sort of activity before grabbing their phone or video games.
6. Educate Your Teen
While talking at your teen is often ineffective when it comes to getting them to be more active, it wouldn’t hurt to educate them about the short-term and long-term benefits of physical activity.
While your teen is probably not going to be overly concerned about physical issues such as heart disease and osteoporosis, you can always make casual comments that reinforce the benefits of exercise, such as having more energy, sleeping better, and less stress.
Let’s Get Moving!
No matter how old your child is, it’s never too late to encourage healthy habits – but it all starts with you!
Help your teenager understand the benefits of physical activity by modeling good habits, encouraging new interests, and making the experience fun.
You may not win at this every day but, over time, your teenager will become more active.
How do you keep your kiddos active? Let us know in the comments!