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How to help your teen or tween stay active

Group of multi-ethnic soccer players celebrating huddled in circle after winning match

Staying physically active is critical for teens’ physical — and mental — health as they get ready to become adults. Adolescents need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day to stay healthy. Getting exercise can have huge benefits for overall well-being. It also has special benefits for teens and pre- teens, including:

  • Enhanced academic performance
  • Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Better sleeping habits
  • Improved body image and confidence
  • Establishment of lifelong healthy habits

Your teen is likely busy with academics, going through a lot of physical changes, and maybe experiencing some body image issues. Now is the time to talk to your teen about being active. Work together to find activities that fit into your teen’s schedule. Here are a few tips to get started!

  • Talk to your teen about the benefits of being active. Parents often wonder what types of activities are best for their child or teen; there isn’t a wrong or right answer. The focus should always be on activities that are enjoyable and sustainable over a lifetime. Ideas include walking, cycling, swimming, dancing. In other words: whatever’s fun and keeps them moving!
  • Encourage club and intermural sports. Schools offer a wide variety of sports options for just about anything you can think of — from tennis to bowling leagues. Besides the opportunity for act also a great way to build their social networks and meet new people. Talk with your teen about his or her preferences and then set a plan to consider a sports group.
  • Try community-based facilities and programs. Community-based facilities often have a large variety of group fitness classes, equipment for individual use, lessons, and Belonging to a community center offers a chance to try new activities and also get into a routine that works for the family. If your teen exercises outside of a class, always make sure that he or she includes a proper warm-up and cool down.
  • Have a family competition. As adults, you are the role models of the house. Your teens take stock of everything you do, so use that to your advantage! Start a family physical activity competition at your house and track minutes of activity per week where everyone can see it. At the end of the week, the person with the best score gets something special.

Helping your teen build healthy physical activity habits young will lead to a healthy and active adulthood. The key is to work together in finding activities your teen will enjoy and look forward to. Remember, it’s okay to think outside the box and step out of your comfort zone. Tou may even find a few activities you enjoy, too!