Active Life = Better Health

As your child matures into a teen, his or her schoolwork and social obligations might mean less time to exercise.

However, encouraging your teen to stay active is one of the easiest things you can do to enhance his or her health. Junior high is a great time for teens to become active in extracurricular activities such as football, soccer, tennis, track or golf.

Urge your teen to try out for any activities that might hold his or her interest. Even marching band might be a good option to enhance both your teen’s intellectual growth and health needs.

Not an Athlete? No Problem!

If your child isn’t interested in team sports, that’s okay. There are a variety of activities your teen might consider getting involved in, including:

  • Bicycling
  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
  • Horseback riding
  • Skateboarding
  • Yoga

The important thing is to help your child find an activity that he or she enjoys doing, that way your kid is more likely to keep it up in the long run.

Good Health Starts at Home

Making sure your teen stays active starts with you. While it might seem like your teen is tuning you out during dinnertime conversation, he or she is paying attention to the example you set. If you are active, it’s likely your child will be active, too. Some ideas to strengthen your family’s health include:

  • Assigning your teen active chores, such as taking out the garbage
  • Camping
  • Enrolling in a fun exercise class at the YMCA or other local fitness club
  • Gardening or doing yard work together
  • Going to the park and playing baseball or Frisbee
  • Planning vacations that include hiking, skiing or swimming
  • Taking a walk after dinner
  • Turning on music and dancing around the living room
  • Washing the car by hand

No matter what daily activity you and your teen settle on, the point is to keep moving. Make sure you and your child aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. The perfect time for your teen to get moving is after he or she comes home from school.

Taking a break before doing homework will allow your teen to do something fun outside of the structured environment of school. Also, limit television watching and Internet use to one or two hours a day.

Reviewed by Mark Herrmann, Project 18 consultant.

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