Only 7% of youth under 19 in Canada meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (CPAG). Is your teen in this worryingly small group? If not, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our tips and ideas to learn how to get teens moving.
First, make sure you and your teen are both familiar with the CPAG recommendations.
For youth aged 12 and up, the recommendations include:
- A minimum of 60 minutes of accumulated moderate-to-vigorous activity each day
- Vigorous activity at least three times a week
- Activity that strengthens muscle and bone at least three times a week
Once you have the go-ahead from the health care team, here are some great tips to help you motivate your son or daughter.
Tip 1: Discuss the benefits of exercise
Talk about the positive impact of exercise on your teen’s diabetes management. These include better blood glucose levels, easier weight management, and improved energy levels.
Point out how regular exercise can improve your teen’s quality of life, making it possible to get more out of every day.
Tip 2: Find fun activities
Not all kids enjoy traditional gym work-outs. When you find activities that your teen will enjoy and look forward to, the chances are they will become a habit.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Martial arts
- Beach volley ball
Tip 3: Use bribery if necessary!
Put limits on sedentary behavior such as sitting in front of the computer playing games or lounging on the couch texting. Limit recreational screen time to two hours a day, but make exceptions when exercise is also involved.
So, for example, if your teen is happy to ride an exercise bike or walk a treadmill while texting or playing a video game, then that would be a way they could go over the 2-hour limit that you’ve set up.
Bribery, yes – but it often works!
Tip 4: Get your teen involved in a challenge
Many teens are motivated by having tangible goals to work towards. Encourage your teen to sign up for a marathon with friends, or sign up together – parent and teen. The training involved will be good for both of you and provide a wonderful opportunity for one-on-one time.
Are you lacking physical activity programs in your community? Check out The Teen Challenge put on by ParticipACTION in partnership with Coca-Cola Canada. This program has been developed to challenge teens nationwide to get moving. It involves grants from Coca-Cola Canada to community organizations to build physical activity programs specifically designed for youth who otherwise might not be able to access local programs. Check it out on the ParticipACTION website.
Tip 5: Set a healthy example
Add more fitness into your own life and let your teen see how easy it is and how enjoyable it can be.
Instead of driving to the corner store, walk there instead as a family. Get out the bikes for a weekend cycle, or get a family ski pass for the winter. You will see the benefits and your teen will too!