The younger you start, the better off you’ll be.
In today’s age, it’s even more important considering the age of smart phone use. It’s clear that not as many kids or teens are as active as past generations.
The main question is: what’s the best approach?
The Canadian Psychical Activity Guidelines recommends, “youth aged 12-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. Vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week. Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week.”CSEP 2020
But what happens if you or your teen(s) want more than that? Or something more specific?
While signing up for sports teams and activities is always a good option, it’s not always feasible for some families. If you’re concerned about your teen being overweight or sedentary be sure to talk to your doctor especially if they have a chronic condition.
Here’s how to start:
Walk after dinner
It’s not always the fault of the teenager for being less active. Join in and get the whole family involved! This is also a great way to start slowly instead of jumping into anything they’re not ready for as of yet. Make it more fun by bringing the dog along.
2. Play activities together
Join in on basketball games, soccer or whatever you can do as a family. Recreation centers have drop in activities that the whole family can participate in such as badminton, swimming and more. Set an example by joining in!
3. Don’t be scared of weight training
Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights won’t stunt their growth. 7 years and older is the appropriate age to lift weights and is a great addition to any exercise program.
In fact, it can improve their overall performance and reduce the risk of injury if done with a certified personal trainer. As long as your teen is able to follow instructions, lifting weights will boost their confidence and help them in the long term.
4. Ask them about their gym class
Gym class is often the first place kids and teens are introduced to fitness. Ask your teen what they’re doing in class and how challenging it is. Talk to their gym teacher to get tips and advice about their progress and what they see for your teen in the future.
5. Start Early
The earlier your teen starts doing fitness, the better. It’s one of the best things you can do for their health.
6. Don’t forget about food intake
It’s not just their fitness you should be focusing on but what they’re eating.
Get them involved in packing their lunch, limit the amount they eat out and reduce the junk food in the house. Surround them in as healthy as an environments as you can. Ready-made salads, chopped veggies and fruits and wholesome dinners.
Often times this is easier said than done. Consider our online nutrition programs to help you get started.
7. Make sure they don’t get caught up in the numbers
They’re main concern and focus should not be the scale or the size of their waist. Encourage them to focus on the way they feel and the things they’re able to accomplish. Don’t put them down if you feel like they’re not doing enough. Find a healthier approach or hire a highly qualified personal trainer.
8. Structure a good program
A program should include cardio and strength training. Pass on some of the knowledge you’ve acquired or hire a personal trainer if you’d like a program to target their specific wants and needs.
9. Start with basic full body exercises
Push ups, pull ups, planks, squats, lunges and walking are a great way to start!
10. Ensure they’re getting enough sleep
So many get caught up in the idea of doing everything they can to get healthy but forgot that sleep is one of the most important ways to recover.
Even though it won’t be easy, work on them going to bed and getting up at the same time as consistently as possible and on the days they’re exercising to get a good night’s sleep so they gain as much from the activity as possible.
11. Stay motivated
Even though this may be obvious, it doesn’t hurt to remind you to motivate your teen to keep up the good work. Motivation can be contagious!
Another option is hiring a certified in home personal trainer that can train them in the comfort of your own home safely and effectively.
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