Why are more and more teenagers less and less active? Perhaps it's the family pattern they "inherited." But for every reason teens give, there's an easy, often fun solution. Offer these tips as starters to teens:
Reason: "I'd rather watch TV." In fact, about 50 percent of children and youth watch more than three hours of television a day!
Solution: Get some self-discipline: limit your TV time to fit in other types of fun. Or multitask: watch TV while you do something active, perhaps lift weights, do push-ups or sit-ups or dance in front of the TV. (Kids: it's not weird to move more.)
Reason: "It's too far to walk there." So kids ride in or drive cars to school, the store, friends' homes, the library or work.
Solution: Skip the school bus or car if you can. Walk or use a bike, scooter or in-line skates. (Remember a helmet and perhaps knee pads, for safety.)
Reason: "I'd rather play video games or get on the computer."
Solution: Mental exercise is great, but – take an active break from sitting. It's good for your eyes and your head. In fact, your brain's synapses may work faster with some physical activity!
Reason: "I don't have time." Perhaps leisure time for active fun is limited.
Solution: Fit physical activity into what you need to do anyway. Perhaps wash the family car. Volunteer for your share of the household chores – the ones that make you move more, like raking leaves or sweeping sidewalks.
Reason: "I don't want to sweat or mess up my hair." "Exercising isn't 'cool.'" That's probably more true for teenage girls than boys.
Solution: Do everyday activities, such as walking to school or household tasks, that don't work up a sweat. Even if you do sweat, fitness is more important.