We’ve been focusing a lot around here on attitudes and self-care. Both for kids and moms.
A key component in taking care of yourself and boosting your mood is exercise. Or at least physical activity of some kind.
Exercise and physical activity are decreasing more and more with tweens and teens.
From getting lost in front of video games to cutting recess from the school day kids just aren’t playing outside enough.
Families are spending more time in front of screens and not enough time being active. Being overweight and developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes are just some of the problems kids are having.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits like…
- improves heart and lung health
- boosts your child’s immune system
- develops strong muscles, bones, and good posture
- helps your child stick to a healthy weight and avoid being overweight
- reduces the risk of high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes
The mental benefits of exercise are crucial…
Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and boost the immune system. Stress-related issues like depression and anxiety in the tween and teen set are on the rise.
- improves focus and concentration and memory
- increases self-confidence
- leads to better sleep
- establishing and maintaining friendships
So what are the best exercises for mental health?
Picking the right sport for kids.
The type of activity kids get involved in can make all the difference in how it affects their mood.
Team sports and individual sports can be night and day.
There’s a lot of focus on team sports in our country. Football, baseball and so many more give kids the opportunity to work together and of course, have fun.
However, those aren’t the only ways to keep active and have fun.
I know I hated team sports. I wasn’t good at them and it made it very intimidating for me. But when I found tennis, I was in instantly in love. No one depended on me. I was more in control. And I was good at it, well eventually, LOL.
For someone who was a skinny little kid who was horrible at sports to have a sport to excel at was a huge boost to my self-esteem. I began at 10 and played all through high school. Also, consider those underweight kids and the amount or type of activities they’re doing. Losing weight can happen too easily and quickly for someone who is already small.
Swimming, golf, running, dance, gymnastics, cheerleading or martial arts are some other good choices. It doesn’t even have to be competitive. It could be just for the exercise, though I do think competitive sports are good for kids.
Maybe they’re still part of a team like track or golf and the points from each individual add to the team totals, but the kid can focus on their developing their own skills a bit differently.
It can be a big boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
What to do when kids want to quit sports?
This might take some investigating? They may not want to answer or be able to tell you why. Sometimes it takes time to figure out.
Could they be continuing so they don’t disappoint you or their coach?
Maybe they think it’s too slow, like baseball?
Or too much structure, practices or traveling.
But I know that we’ve had each one of our kids experience this for different reasons. Sometimes we knew why and some we still don’t. We just had them finish their commitment since it didn’t seem to be anything unsafe.
We just moved on and tried something else.
Though I will have to say, we did pull my daughter out of one activity without finding out why because it was so upsetting for her to go. She insisted she just didn’t like it anymore, but would cry if we tried to encourage her to continue.
It took her two years after quitting and contact with the person long over to find out that she was being bullied. It just popped up in a random conversation two years later.
What if they don’t want to join anything?
For kids who don’t like sports, any activity that gets them moving will benefit them. A walk with a family member, the dog or a friend is better than nothing. And often better than anything else since it can offer a way to have 1-on-1 time and talk or just be.
Don’t forget bike riding, kayaking, and hiking. How about hula hoop contests? Even yard work counts too!
Make it a family affair.
In our house, we still play Wii Sports and Just Dance when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
How much exercise should tweens and teens get?
At least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day is ideal. Making it part of your daily routine helps.
Using a wearable fitness tracker is a fun way to get motivated and compete with yourself to improve every day.
Track physical fitness activities and more with our new FREE printable Bullet Journal Worksheets
Try one of these 50+ ideas to get everyone up and moving.
- Capture the Flag
- Cross Country Skiing
- Downhill Skiing
- Field Hockey
- Horseback Riding
- Hula Hoop
- Ice Hockey
- Ice Skating
- Individual Sports
- Jumping Jacks
- Jumping Rope
- Kick the Can
- King of the Hill
- Martial Arts
- Raking leaves
- Resistance Training
- Rock climbing
- Roller Skating
- Street Hockey
Did I miss something? What do you do to get those teens moving? Comment below!
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