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Let's Get Physical:  Encouraging Your Teen to Exercise

Before we get to involved in blaming modern teen obesity on video games, let's consider some serious societal differences that make today's teens less active than we were at their age.  For instance, I walked home from school or a central bus stop every day during the school year; today our local school bus drops kids off right in front of their homes or less than a couple blocks away.  Also, my parents felt perfectly safe letting me bike miles across town to visit friends, but I would not feel comfortable letting my teens bike along most of our busy streets.

Be all this as it may, we can still do a lot to help our teens be more active and in better shape.  Here are some ideas.

  • Buy your teen a bike and helmet and discuss where he can safely ride to.  Better yet, get bikes for everyone in the family and ride together.
  • Give active "toys" such as roller blades, soccer balls, etc. as birthday gifts.  Celebrate the winter holidays by giving sleds and ice skates, along with lessons if needed.
  • Set up a fitness goal routine.
  • Set aside time each day to spend some time outdoors with your teen.  Use this time to play catch, take a walk or play a game of one-on-one.
  • Try out some outdoor-type vacations such as camping or hiking.
  • Invest in some of the active video games that are available for many systems.
  • Give your teen a membership to your local gym and offer to work out with him, or to take he and a friend there to work out.

Most of all, remember that the best way to keep your teen fit is to let him see you enjoying exercise.  After all, an ounce of example is worth a pound of rules.

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

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