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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Teen Fitness Tip 2: Make Screen Time Count continued...

And when your family does spend time in front of the screen, try these things:

Build in a little exercise. See who can do the most push-ups or leg lifts during commercial breaks, or schedule activity breaks from gaming.

Be a role model. Even if your teen is reluctant to hit the floor during TV time, she will notice if you do. Routinely do some crunches or other exercises while watching TV. Or keep small dumbbells and elastic bands in a box next to the TV to use during commercials or shows. This fitness-oriented approach to TV time may motivate her to follow.

Teen Fitness Tip 3: Make Workouts Enjoyable

The best exercise program is the one your teen will actually do. Does your son like nature and animals? Check out local outdoor clubs or organizations that sponsor outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and bird watching. If your daughter likes martial arts, dancing, or gymnastics, look for classes that would interest her at your local YMCA, school, church, or community center. Even activities such as drama can get teens out of their chairs and off their beds.

Remember, any movement away from sitting counts. That includes chores inside and outside the house. Schedule a cleaning hour or enlist your teen's help in pulling weeds, trimming bushes, or doing volunteer cleanup at a local park.

Teen Fitness Tip 4: Consider Weight Training

Strength training, or resistance training, may be a good activity for teens who are not yet used to aerobic exercise. A 2009 study showed that doing resistance exercises three days a week can significantly lower body fat and increase muscle, strength, and power in obese children.

It's not necessary to join a gym to do strength training. Your child can do push-ups and crunches, lift weights, or do exercises with resistance bands at home for little or no cost. Just be sure to talk with his doctor before your teen starts a strength training regimen.

Teen Fitness Tip 5: Encourage Participation in Sports

If your teen enjoys watching sports, she may enjoy playing them just as much. Overweight teens may benefit from joining a sports team that is grouped by skill instead of age. If your teen dislikes or is uncomfortable with the idea of competitive sports, encourage a sport such as cycling or running.

And it's a good idea to talk with the coach to get a feel for his or her style. A good match can mean a win-win situation for everyone.

In the end, remember that developing an active and healthy lifestyle is not a race. Your teen is more likely to get there by taking it one doable step at a time. As a parent, your example and encouragement can help her do that.


For Kids and Parents. Kid Tested. Expert Approved.

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