5 Ways To Get Your Teen More Active This Summer
It may be called the lazy days of summer, but Health Canada recommends that teens engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. Not only does regular physical activity help maintain good health but it’s a great way to boost body image and confidence. While the end of the school year signals the end of gym classes and school sports, it doesn’t have to mean that physical activity comes to a stop. To keep your teen active all summer, here are five ways to encourage them to keep moving.
By Rhiannon Ness
- Sign them up at Planet Fitness. The gym is offering teens aged 15-18 the chance to work out for freeat one of its 30+ locations across Canada until September as a part of its Teen Summer Challenge. They will be offering fitness classes with a certified trainer that are designed specifically for teenagers once a day, Monday through Friday. The gym is also sharing an important message about body positivity. “Planet Fitness is a judgement-free zone,” says Becky Zirlen, senior public relations manager at Planet Fitness. “So, this is the perfect opportunity for teens to try a gym!”
- Try cycling! Cycling is a great way to stay active, and it could be an important way of bonding with your teen. On top of that, it is a way that could keep the whole family active! In 2018, ParticipACTION released its Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and found that only 35 per cent of Canadian kids and teens aged 5-17 are meeting the national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day. Get the whole family on their bikes after dinner for an early evening ride!
- Enroll them in sports camp! Many community centres and schools like UCC Summer Camps and Camp UofT offer themed sports and fitness camps for teens. These camps are a great way to stay active while also giving them the opportunity to meet other teens with the same interest in sports and fitness. Find a program in your area—check schools, parks, community centres—for the perfect fit for your teen!
- Have fun. Encourage your teen to try different things until they find something they love that doesn’t feel like work. Toronto-based personal training specialist Leo Stafford suggests “that people do whatever grabs their attention.” This could be a sport that they have never tried before—dance classes, biking, anything! Fitness is especially important and is a “very important tool for young people experiencing a mental health crisis, as it has been proven to reduce stress as well as improving focus and creating a more positive outlook,” says Stafford. Finding an activity that is also fun, that they love to do, will encourage them to be active more.
- Get moving together. Pick a day of the week that the whole family goes out and does something fun (and physical!). This could be swimming at the community pool, playing a soccer or softball game in the park. Adolescence is an extremely important time to learn how to be active on your own, because “the habits we establish in adolescence set us up for the rest of our lives,” says Stafford. When they learn at a young age how to stay active, they are more equipped to avoid a sedentary lifestyle in adulthood. By seeing you participate in these activities, too, you are showing them that being active is a lifelong journey that they should take enjoyment out of.