Most adults find it difficult to fit exercise into their daily routines. With teenagers, it can be even more challenging. Generally, teenagers who participate in team sports get enough exercise. Still, teens who don’t participate in athletics in school often don’t get anywhere near the amount of physical activity they need to stay healthy.
Physical exercise is crucial for any child’s development – getting at least an hour of exercise per day is not just good for their bodies; it’s also good for their mental health. It has been shown that exercise can help pupils study more effectively for the hardest exams and produce better grades.
Here are five ways you can inspire your teenager to get off the couch and start exercising more.
1. Bring in a Social Element
Because teens tend to have demanding schedules, think about how you can tempt them to participate in a social activity that will provide some exercise. You could arrange a day of fun pe games with their friends and neighbors or an ice skating outing with the family.
Bringing a social element into exercise can be a tipping point for teens who want to socialize more – and it’s an excellent way to motivate them to get off the couch and get moving.
2. Try to Make it Fun
Teenagers are more likely to make a habit of exercising if the activity doesn’t feel like hard work. Think about what activities your teen enjoys and try to incorporate their interests into a physical activity. If your child enjoys being outdoors, look into local organizations and clubs that facilitate outdoor activities like hiking, camping, or mountain biking.
If your child enjoys gymnastics, dancing, or martial arts, investigate whether your local community centers, gyms, and churches offer these extracurricular activities and consider enrolling them in some classes.
3. Choose Activities for Their Ability Level
It’s normal for some teens to be more physically active than others, and some also have physical limitations. If your teen isn’t usually physically active, don’t overestimate their abilities and sign them up for strenuous team sports or classes – this will only set them up for failure.
To help your teen ease into regular exercise, make sure you are not pushing them to go beyond their physical abilities. If your child has a negative first experience with physical activity, they may be reluctant to try it again.
4. Lead by Example
Whether or not you know of it, your children emulate your behavior. Don’t be hypocritical about physical exercise, and lead by example. You can encourage your teen to join in on physical activities with the whole family – like rock climbing, hiking, biking, or running.
Remember: the exercise your teen participates in doesn’t have to be an organized sport. There are plenty of family activities to get them physically active and have fun at the same time.
5. Encourage Them with Rewards
Teens in the modern age tend to spend a lot of time on their phones and computers. If your teen is highly adverse to exercise, consider motivating them with a reward that will encourage them to exercise more.
You could get your teen a new bike, skateboard, pair of rollerblades, or videogames that have motion sensors and require physical movement – like the Wii Fit ‘exergaming’ range.