Because nearly 16 percent of kids and teens in the U.S. are overweight, it is more important now than ever for parents and kids to develop a healthy living regimen and a strategy to remain motivated to exercise. Staying active can prevent a teen’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes or from developing cardiovascular problems. If you develop a regimen with your kids, they’re more likely to maintain good habits into their adulthood. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you’re looking for ways to stay motivated:
1. Explain the Importance of Health to Your Teens
Kids — like everyone else — aren’t just motivated by force; they need to know why they need to do something. If exercising doesn’t seem worthwhile, parents cannot motivate their teens to exercise simply by telling them to do so. They need to tell them why exercise is beneficial to their bodies.
Working out can help you and your teens look good and feel good, two important things to every young person’s self-esteem. Exercise can also potentially reduce acne, another great way to encourage your teens to go for that run or enroll in strength training.
2. Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Life
When you set aside designated times during the day for physical activity, your teens can get their minds prepared to exercise and be ready. Parents can also get other neighborhood kids involved to keep everyone motivated and prepared. This buddy system is more effective than just trying to tough it out on your own. Don’t treat the workout like some foreign or dangerous thing. Make it a normal part of your day, and soon enough it’ll feel natural.
3. Develop a Regimen of Fun Exercises
If exercising is fun, teens are more likely to engage. Think outside the box and look for ways to stay health and active that are also challenging and interesting. Try getting your teens involved in bike riding or karate classes. Walking the dog or going to a water park will also help younger teens exercise. Most families do not recognize how much exercise they can get just by going on regular outings and walking during the day. Walking around amusement parks, zoos, or nature centers can help you forget that you’re exercising while you’re viewing the sites. You could even hike at a local park. Something like ballroom dancing or softball would also be a good way to get the body moving.
4. Enroll Your Teens in Organized Sports
Organized sports are an excellent way to help teens get active without being bored. Anything will do, so talk with your teen about his interests and see what sport appeals to him. Volleyball, basketball, baseball, or football may be fun enough to motivate him to exercise without seeming like a chore. Plus there’s the added benefit of teamwork and camaraderie.
5. Reward Teens for Exercising
Obviously, you’d want the reward to be tied to the workout or at least generally healthy — it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to congratulate your teen on her first 5K with a cake — but there are plenty of options available to help you entice your teen to sticking to the workout. For instance, maybe she’s been eyeing a new set of running shoes, or an iPod for exercising, or taking a trip with friends. Keep the reward positive and goal-oriented.
6. Add Some Variety to Your Schedule
To keep the exercises from getting boring, try to alternate your schedule. For instance, on Monday, take your teens to baseball or softball practice. On Wednesday, take them to ballroom dancing classes. On Friday, take them to martial arts classes. If the weather cooperates or you have an indoor pool, you can try to go swimming on the weekend. Variety will keep the kids going.
7. Get Them Out of the House
It’s easier than ever these days for teens to stay inside and glued to screens all day and all night. One way to get them on their feet and back into an active lifestyle is to limit the amount of time your teen can use his computer or tablet. You can also set up basic physical chores in and around the house, or help him find a job. This will give him not only some pocket money, but the opportunity to get out, stay active, and meet new people.
If you want to remain motivated with your new workout routine, it just takes a little planning. With the right motivation, your kids will remain active and healthy throughout their lives. Communicate with your teens and help them develop good habits early. You’ll be pleased with the results.