The teen years are a critical time for being active, as they can be a turning point for establishing healthy habits that last into adulthood. Aim for a minimum of 60 minutes of activity per day for your teen and follow these tips for ideas and variety!
- Make it enjoyable. Help your teen figure out what he or she likes. If they don’t enjoy team sports, encourage other activities. Skateboarding? Dance? Martial Arts? There are so many options.
- Limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours per day of screen time. Avoid having televisions in bedrooms and encourage activity during commercial breaks.
- Be a role model. Your teen may be less motivated to be active if you aren’t. Be a role model for them—if they see you going out for a walk after dinner or getting outside on a nice day, they are more likely to follow in your footsteps.
- Make sure your teen has the opportunity to be active after school or during the summer. If your teen isn’t involved with organized sports, try helping him explore other opportunities for being active in his down time. See what your local YMCA or recreation center has to offer, check out local parks together, and encourage a summer job—like a camp counselor—that allows for activity.
- Emphasize that it’s not what they do, but simply regular activity that’s important. Remember and communicate that any activity away from sitting is beneficial.
Generally, once they get started, teens enjoy the feeling of reduced stress, increased energy, and enhanced well-being.
Did You Know?
Encouraging teens to be physically active not only can help improve a teen’s overall physical health and performance, but active teens have also been shown to have:
- Improved concentration and thinking skills
- Better social skills and friendships
- Higher levels of relaxation and the ability to relieve stress