Keeping our teens moving
By: Marylin Salgado
We should encourage our children to be involved in sports, but now most, if not all school sports have been suspended. During gym, kids can play, but are encouraged to distance each other so they don’t breathe on each other. The social distancing is creating a singled-out environment among peers, so our kids are left to the mercy of hours of gaming to maintain some contact with their friends.
This is the time when we must worry about overweight or obesity issues, especially for those children whom we were hoping to integrate into a sports or school exercise program. If you have kids that are pre-teens to teenagers, some gyms will allow you to bring them with you as a guest. Recently, the number of teens and young adults I see at the gym has increased.
If your child has been primarily sedentary, this is the perfect time to introduce your teen to the gym. If you are not sure where to start, the treadmill or elliptical machine would be ideal. Just like when you started working out, 30 minutes of cardio in the beginning might even be too much. I personally started my son with 20 minutes on the elliptical, and then he pushed himself and added another 5 minutes. Even if your child is not overweight, cardio is the way to go. Building a strong cardiac and respiratory system is important at any age, but even more so during the developing years. Don’t emphasize exercising so much that it becomes the primary focus in your child’s life, and they are ignoring family, friends and responsibility. Obsessive exercising can lead to self-image and eating disorders.
Experts advise teenagers should do 60 minutes of exercise every day, but we know that excessive weight can make it very difficult to maintain resistance and burnout comes along quickly. The real issue at times is motivating and maintaining a teen who is overweight or obese, motivated. Here are some tips to keep your child moving and avoid overwhelming them.
- Build Slowly – Teens who are not used to exercising or who do not like exercising are going to be a challenge to motivate to get moving. Start small and build from there. If your child is used to being picked up from school, have them walk for 10 minutes the first week. If the walk is more then 10 minutes, pick them up half- way. Then extend the time weekly until your child is walking to and from school every day.
2. If your child adamantly refuses to move 2 inches outside the door, break out an exercise while watching T.V. Get down on the floor and be a role model. Do a few exercises yourself, then invite your child to join you. Keep an exercise mat, resistance bands and some small dumbbells to start with.
The workouts can be as simple as the following to start:
5 Jumping Jacks
5 Push Ups
10 Sit Ups – believe it or not, when my son started, he could barely do 2
5 Touch Toes
Do this simple challenge for about a week, then increase the repetitions and intensity by adding resistance bands or weights. Your teen will benefit from natural bodybuilding and toning. You can also talk to him or her on how to build a body that is healthy, fit, and smart.
- What does your child like to do? Does she or he like to dance? Is your child in Drama class? Martial Arts? Some YMCAs’ across the nation have opened and are allowing individuals to participate with social distancing guidelines. Even if you don’t have a YMCA open in your town or city, encouraging any movement that requires lifting the butt off the couch is a plus.
2. Involve your child in house chores or outside cleaning. Cleaning weeds or lawn mowing for you or a neighbor while providing an allowance is an incentive. Many people have lost their jobs. Community service programs are out there to help keep our neighborhoods clean. Involve your children and keep them active with at least one hour of community service a week.
3. Reward their success. If you can afford to give your child an allowance, have them save towards a game or pair of shoes they have been wanting to buy. This is also a great way to teach your child financial responsibility by letting them understand the difficulty in gaining money and the ease at which it is spent.
Covid-19 has made things difficult, not impossible. Think about what you would do on a weekend off or during the summer vacation and implement those activities throughout the year. It will also help you move and get into shape if you yourself have not worked out in a while.
This platform is meant to educate Tokkyo Nutrition consumers with the information needed to help you stay mentally and physically healthy. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
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