Physical Activity for Children and Teens - Tips for Helping Your Teen
Teens sometimes need encouragement to get active. You can help motivate your teen by setting an example.
If regular exercise is a normal part of family life, teens may see it as
natural to start or keep exercising. Household chores count as physical
activity too.3 Talk with your teen about the physical
benefits of exercise, such as improved mood or energy level.
Although competitive sports are a great way for teens to be physically
active while they learn valuable social skills, be aware that sports are not
- Focus on things that your teen enjoys doing, whether it's
competitive or noncompetitive sports or personal fitness activities (such as
jogging, yoga, or cycling).
- Some teens may prefer individual sports like
karate, gymnastics, and swimming rather than group sports like soccer and
Help your teen avoid competition that stresses winning
over everything else, including sportsmanship and schoolwork.
require repeated movements or require that bones repeatedly bear weight.
Overuse injuries occur from stressing the joints, muscles, or other tissues and
not letting them recover.
The growing bones of young athletes may not be able
to handle as much stress as the mature bones of adults. Repeated stress on the
body may lead to irritation,
stress fractures, or other conditions. For example, a
swimmer may get a
rotator cuff injury because he or she doesn't realize
that fatigue or poor performance is a sign of overuse.
take part in endurance events, year-round sports, or weekend tournaments, and
teens who diet to stay at a certain weight for a sport (such as gymnastics or
wrestling) are also at risk for injuries. The American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting one sport to no more than 5 days a week,
with at least 1 day off each week from any organized physical activity. Also,
the AAP suggests that athletes have at least 2 to 3 months off each year from
their particular sport.4
Anyone who does
too much activity without the right conditioning is at risk for injury. Be sure young athletes get enough rest and nutrition.