We Teens are as Inactive as 60-year-olds??? Really?!?
- The average teen is no more active than the average 60-year-old
- Girls in general seem to be less likely to be active
- The primary window for activity is in the afternoon 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. when many of us are stuck in school
- Check out school activity offerings, structured activities, get friends together for unstructured activities (walk together, meet for a jog, play pick-up basketball etc.)
I am feeling old and sluggish just reading this….
Research suggests the average teen is NO more active than the average 60-year-old!
Seriously??? THAT is sad!
Physical activity is important for everybody of us but especially for girls who are generally less active than boys the same age.
As we all deal with the transition from primary school all the way to high school there are pressures that come with this transition—socially, at home, and at school. Who has not been stressed out by all of these at some point? Hmpf!
Body image, the onset of menstruation (ugh! Fun!), and general feelings of insecurity about our changing bodies can really do a number on you. It is important to remember that physical activity can really help you get a boost of confidence as well as make you physically more adapt, coordinated, balanced, and skilled.
Some Rewards of Physical Activity for Teenage Girls:
- Increased strength, stamina and flexibility
- Gain a healthy body image and increased self-esteem
- Helps keep the blues away and is a great way to de-stress
- Feel stronger and healthier overall. It is really cool to be able to do things yourself – and not having to ask the guys about it
- It’s a fun way to spend time with your friends and family — come up with some group activities centered around physical activity! You aren’t the only one who wants to make a healthy change, so just ask around, and someone is sure to want to workout with you.
- Meet new people who share some of the same interests
Some common barriers to teenage girls starting and/or continuing a physical activity routine:
- Physical inactivity role modeled by parents. Maybe you can encourage your parents to go on walks or runs with you. If not them, maybe a sibling or other close relative.
- Lack of energy due to lack of physical fitness or just feeling blah! But you have to start somewhere. I promise you after a couple weeks you will start feeling soooo much better!
- Peer role-modeling: i.e. having friends who don’t play sports or exercise regularly
- Lack of skills, coupled with fear of looking silly or clumsy and being teased. LOL I cannot even tell you how many times I have fallen straight on my butt trying to do something new. The best thing to do: learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy feeling tough when you get back up and try it again. The respect is yours when you do THAT!
- Embarrassment around wearing work-out clothes. Sorry but especially girls really need to ease off on this. Sometimes things don’t look as elegant as when you are going out (cough!cough! Far from it!) but you all need to stop giving each other a hard time and just support each other for the activity itself! I live by the phrase, “If you aren’t sweating, you didn’t do it right.”
Some ways you can build a physical activity program that successfully includes and welcomes teenage girls:
- Hold “girls only” physical activities e.g yoga hour, time on the basketball court, dance contests, etc. Personally I prefer taking it up with the guys myself but you need to know what you are comfortable with. Create your own environment for being comfortable and ready to workout.
- Organize clubs for girls that include physical activity and/or healthy eating. Or just start with small groups of a few girls you might know from school or other areas and try to develop the routine of getting together maybe once a week or even once every other week to exchange ideas and be active. Get together for running, swimming, and even ice skating! Maybe sign up for a few trials of martial arts or zumba classes together at a local studio. Look around your community to find ideas. You would be amazed of what all is offered free or for a really small fee especially for a group.
- Instagram and other social media apps are great ways to find at-home workouts that you can do in your room. You don’t need special equipment or a large space to workout. You can get a great ab workout just by lying on your back and doing the moves!