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What are some important considerations when introducing teens to exercise?

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 exercise 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 hardship and ultimate success can be inspiring. If you’re a mentor who lost weight or overcame a disability with exercise, sharing the 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.