Today, one out of three kids is overweight or obese, and those numbers are only getting worse. So, it should come as no surprise that 75.2% of those between ages 3 and 15 do not get 60 minutes of recommended daily exercise.
According to a recent study by the CDC, 58% of American teenagers aged 12–15 are not adequately cardiorespiratory fit—a 10% increase from 14 years ago. How the heck did that happen? It seems like just yesterday, you could barely get kids home in time for dinner after a summer day of sports, high adventure, and roaming the streets on their bikes or skateboards.
Okay, so maybe that’s a little idealistically nostalgic, but still, there’s no reason teenagers shouldn’t get enough exercise. If you’re looking to help your son or daughter add fitness to his or her life, here are a few ideas.
1. Lead by example
No offense, but it’s awfully hard to judge a kid slouching on the couch when you’re watching him or her from the La-Z-boy. Get up! Teenagers may seem like they’re not interested in what you say and do, but believe us, when you go for a jog or hammer out a round of FOCUS T25, they’re watching…
2. Limit screen time
It’s next to impossible to make most teenagers do anything. It’s much easier, however, to make them not do some things. Set strict TV time (unless it’s to do a Beachbody workout). Limit Xbox and PlayStation access. Create non-texting hours. Once these temptations dry up, the outside world may seem more interesting.
3. Pick a sport, any sport
Your kid may not be into the traditional team fare, but the world of sports is a wide, wide one. Rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, cycling, Frisbee football, roller derby, rugby. Let your son or daughter’s imagination run wild. Once they’re given you a list, hop on the internet to see if there’s a league/team/camp in your area.
4. Invest in cool toys
You may not be made of money, but your kid’s health is a much better investment than the new iWhatever. If you live too far from the ocean to surf, buy a balance board. (Lots of fun and it’s good for your, I mean, their core, too.) Maybe look into fun fitness-based software you can do together in the game console. And everyone—and we mean everyone—has fun on a tandem bike. (You can pick them up used on Craigslist for $200–$300.)
5. Plan active family outings
This one basically combines the previous four. You can keep it simple, like a picnic instead of the pizza parlor. You can go big, like a day at the water park. You can go creative, like a scavenger hunt. If you’re at a loss for ideas and/or you’re on a budget, check out Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com for local, affordable adventures you may not have thought of.
What do you do to help keep your kids in shape?