Almost one-third of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are currently obese; much more are overweight. This is a shocking stat that should make us all take a step back and think about the way we, as a country are living our lives!
Being obese doesn’t just attract bullies – it can cause lifelong health issues, both physical and mental if it is left untreated. That’s why if you’re an overweight teen, or you are the parent of one, you should be doing everything you can to increase fitness.
Here are some simple tips to help you do that:
Take it Slowly
There is a temptation to dive right in, confiscate any and all ‘junk foods’ and start subsisting on a diet of nothing but salad and to start lifting weights all day every day when one is trying to lose weight, but this is a poor strategy for success, especially for teens.
It’s much better to start slowly. For example, replace sodas with diet versions or swap chips for healthier popcorn and start with a brisk walk around the block each day after school. Losing weight fast almost always fails, so be like the tortoise, not the hair.
Go to Camp
Check out soccer camps, basketball camps, adventure camps – whatever you or your teen (if you are a parent) has some interest in, and look for camps that will accommodate them. A lot of parents of overweight teens, and overweight teens themselves worry about camp bullying, but it really isn’t as common as you might think, and if you ensure that the camp is a good open, any such problems will be swiftly dealt with, and it’s so worth going because these camps teach vital skills, encourage regular activity and build self-esteem.
Screen Time Should Be Linked with Exercise
Teens love computer games, Netflix, Snapchat and a million other screen-based activities which can contribute to keeping them on the couch when they should be active. Instead of removing the screens altogether, which will probably not help, instead, set up a stationary bike, running machine or basic weight set in front of the TV/ in a free space, so that when using screens, one can exercise too.
Join a Gym
There’s no reason why teens can’t join a gym, and doing so is probably one of the best ways to get the weight off because lifting is the Rolls Royce of the weight loss and fitness world, and it’s much easier, not to mention safer, to do it in the gym where there are always people around to help. Make it a family thing, and you’ll all get fitter together.
Make Workouts Fun
A lot of teens pile on the pounds because they think exercise is boring or uncomfortable, but that’s probably because they haven’t been trying the right kinds of exercise for them. So, try new things like hula hooping, dancing, bouldering – anything that sounds fun – and that attitude is likely to change pretty fast, and when an activity is fun, exercise truly is effortless.
Get to it!