Fitness For Teens

Posted 01/04/2013 | By HealthCorps

When it comes to exercise, fitness professionals need to fully understand teen abilities and behaviors, so that they can help them to get the most out of a workout or for that matter, begin a workout program.  Specifically:

Teens tend to have short attention spans, so using simple choreography or teaching them basic workout moves is the best approach.

Teens grow at different rates so it’s important to make sure they “fit into” various workout machines, by teaching them to make adjustments that fit their frame size.

Using exercises to help teens accomplish specific goals is key to keeping teens engaged with exercise.  The goals can vary and can include weight loss, more flexibility, faster speeds for certain sports, improvements in strength for daily living.

Teens seem to prefer positive reinforcement, so applauding small fitness achievements can go a long way to inspiring them to stick with a challenging exercise program.

Teens also benefit from a mentoring relationship and personal stories that highlight struggles and achievement can be inspiring.  If you’re a mentor who lost weight or overcame a disability with exercise, sharing that journey can help to inspire a teen.

Discovering a teen’s favorite class in school, can help to make exercise more fun.  If they like math, then explaining exercise formulas may resonate; if they excel in English or a writing class, then discussing specific exercise terms may help them to connect with the fitness program.  If cooking classes are their passion, then discussing nutrition principles that help support their exercise (and weight) goals, may help keep them engaged with exercise.

Next Friday: Some specific considerations and more tips

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