5 Ways to Help Your Teen Have an Active and Healthy Lifestyle

Good exercise and eating habits are vital and are best established at a young age. By teaching your teen effective and enjoyable ways to exercise and stay well, you are setting her up to live a healthy and happy life. Here are five things you should do to help your teen get excited about physical fitness and wellness, according to Christian Palmer, strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer at Equinox Mamaroneck. 

Make sure his focus isn’t the scale.

In a world dominated by social media and superficial mindsets, teens are very conscious of how they look versus how they feel. Palmer suggests the first thing to teach your child when it comes to exercising is not to focus on the scale, but instead on the way that exercising makes him feel. Learning how to use his body to do things like absorb the force from a jump and lift weights does not solely mean losing weight. 

Help her eat healthy, but don’t enforce a strict diet.

Developing a healthy and well-balanced diet is important, especially in growing teenagers. However, giving a strict, structured diet to a teen may not be necessary or the best option for her. Instead of a diet, Palmer suggests encouraging her to make the best choices she can and emphasize eating from the ground (unprocessed, natural foods).

Don’t be afraid of weights.

A lot of parents are afraid their child will stunt his growth if he begins lifting weights at a young age. The reality, Palmer says, is most kids aren’t strong enough to lift weights that would negatively impact their growth in any way. Teach him the proper form for important motions such as squatting, deadlifting, and pressing.

“Strength is essentially the most important thing you’re looking to work on with young kids because they’ve got new bodies,” Palmer says. “Strength is typically what translates to better movers, better athletes, and ultimately more confidence.”

Help your child develop a structured weightlifting plan to master his own body weight. Also, keep it simple! When a kid is young and new to lifting, even lifting one weight off the floor will help him get stronger, according to Palmer.

Make sure she loves what she’s doing.

Forcing your kid to work out in a way she doesn’t find enjoyable can be the easiest way to make her hate exercising, Palmer warns. Instead of making her go for a run when she really doesn’t want to, find out what she loves and integrate it into the exercise plan. If your son loves football, center his workout on the sport.

“A workout doesn’t need to be bound to the constraints of a gym,” Palmer says. “Take your daughter to the field, invite her friend, and make it a competition. Make it fun but add a challenge so she gets the cardiovascular benefit as well.” 

Lead by example.

“A lot of kids come to me and say, ‘my dad wants me to go to the gym but he doesn’t really do it so I don’t really think it’s that important,’” Palmer says. Parents are the strongest influence on their children. Go for a jog with your son, he suggests. Take your daughter to the gym to show her you are doing what you want her to do. If you are implementing healthy eating and exercise habits in your own life, it will not only be easier for your teen to do so, but he just might want to.