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4 tips for fit teens



Jessica Smith, fitness expert, provides small steps


Being overweight in my teen years myself, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to start exercising as a teen. I started my own fitness journey by making small steps – exercising only 10 minutes at a time until I was ready (and wanting) to do more.

Here are a few tips for teens and parents to help make fitness a fun habit:

      Parents: Encourage, Set an Example, But Don’t Nag
We know you want to help, but when parents start pushing teens to exercise, it’s often seen as nagging, and you’ll probably get the opposite reaction than what you are hoping for. And don’t expect the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to work either. Set a great example for your teen by making sure you are living a healthy lifestyle too.

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      Find something fun!
Exercise shouldn’t be a chore – there are so many options available to choose from, so find something you enjoy doing. Play volleyball with friends, swim in the ocean, ride your bike-- exercise doesn’t have to happen in a gym. Just get out there are get moving!

      Do a little background on their teen idol’s fitness regimen
Does your teen go ga-ga for Lady Gaga? Or do they have Bieber fever? Try dropping little tidbits of info about how their favorite stars stay fit. Gaga follows a serious workout regimen that includes yoga, weight training and cardio on a daily basis, and Justin Bieber has been known to hit the weights and take dance lessons to stay in top form for his concerts. Your teen may not think it’s cool to workout, but if someone they see as ‘cool’ does, it may change their mind.

READ MORE: Tips to combat childhood obesity

      Get them fit in the kitchen too
A healthy body needs movement, sleep and proper nutrition. While most teens get plenty of sleep (often a little too much), getting them to eat healthy can present some major challenges. Encourage them to take responsibility for preparing their food – empower them to start cooking for themselves and learning about how much effort actually goes into getting food onto the table. Make teen faves like pizza healthier by making it from scratch at home with whole-wheat pizza dough, light cheese and plenty of their favorite veggies on top.