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Teenage Fitness: How to Encourage Healthy Habits

By Genevieve Cunningham

Teenagers are a hard group of people to understand. We were all teenagers at one point, so it should come as no surprise. And yet that teenage angst, moodiness, and general defiance gets us every time. While a big part of raising teenagers is just waiting out their normal, if not frustrating, development, there are things that we have to get through to them. Things they have to know for a better life. And one of the most important things that teens need to understand is how to keep a healthy lifestyle. But how do you encourage health without pushing them in the opposite direction? If you need help getting your teen onboard, take a look at these tips.

Understanding Teens

While this isn’t true for every teenager, the majority of this age group are simply defiant. They’re gaining independence by the day, and they want to flex those muscles. This is why teens tend to do the exact opposite of what you tell them … just because they can. But if you understand that teens are simply going through a normal phase of development, and you can play to their growing independence, you may be able to slowly get through to them.

Tips for Motivation

So what works? Every individual, no matter their age, will respond differently. But a few good tips for motivating teens might include:

  • Give them choices - When it comes down to it, you’re still the parent, so you can make rules. But it helps if you give them options. Mandate activity, but give them three or four choices of activities to choose from. This gives them at least slight ownership, and makes it more likely that they’ll participate.

  • Consider privilege loss - If you have a particularly stubborn teen that just won’t give in, consider taking away privileges -- think phones, TV, computers -- until they’re willing to give a little. You don’t have to be a dictator, but you still have a little control since you still control the wallet.

  • Get involved together - Sometimes the best approach is to get involved as a family. Join a gym together or play on a recreational team. Your teen will probably complain at first, but they’ll likely get into it eventually.

  • Involve their friends - Teens are heavily influenced by peers. Get them involved in something active with their peers, and you’ll have won the battle.

Why You Should Care

So why does it even matter if teens are active? The teenage years are helping to shape and develop habits that last a lifetime. If teens are sedentary now, it will be a hard transition to make when they’re ready to lose weight, get active, or get involved. Being healthy and involved from the beginning gives them a healthy base from which to begin. Teenagers are definitely tough, but helping this group set up healthy habits is truly a noble project. Use these tips to get them moving in the right direction, and they may thank you once their angst is replaced with a healthy adult life.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Asheville, N.C.

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