Keeping your teen moving

Fun tips to help your teen increase their physical activity.

Man playing video games with headphones on.

If your teenager is already in the habit of lying on the couch, watching too much TV, spending too much time on social media, always gaming and it’s affecting their ability to become and stay healthy, it’s time to help them move to improve. Getting your teen to become more physically active at this point will be more difficult, but not impossible. Here are a few tips that Michigan State University Extension encourages:

  • If it doesn’t create a battle and they are still early teens, make their social media and gaming a reward for increasing their physical activity.
  • Rewards should be teen appropriate. For example, promise your teen a trip to the beach, to go roller skating or ice-skating, to go on a bike ride to a distant friend’s home, to go jogging or to spend time playing at a favorite outdoor park.
  • Get your teen involved in an organized sport and then support your teen by attending or coaching.
  • Make physical activity a family affair. Modeling is the best behavior and predictor of future practice.
  • Buy systems and video games that promote physical activity.
  • Create friendly, physical activity. Competition amongst family and friends is a great challenge, especially when it is coupled with rewards like certificates and trophies.
  • Join a club or enroll at a local community organization that promotes healthy living, like the local YMCA. These organizations and others may give a discount. You can also check with your health insurance, they may offer discounts at particular fitness clubs.
  • Give fitness memberships as gifts, rather than gift cards, which promote sedentary living.
  • Investigate school sports that can lead to scholarships to college and encourage your teen to excel at their sport.
  • Encourage your teen’s self-esteem by promoting pride in their own athletic abilities and accomplishments, rather than comparing themselves to others.
  • If possible, provide equipment at home that can support your teen’s physical activity goals, especially if they are too shy about going outside the home to accomplish their fitness goals.

Keep in mind that sports and physical activity can keep your teen occupied and help them delay or stop their involvement with detrimental activities, like drug-use, sexual activity, alcohol-use and other unhealthy experimentation.

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