The teenage years. Remember those? You might be re-experiencing those years in a new light, now, watching your own child grow into a teenager. It’s a time of life full of changes; social, emotional, and physical.
There is, however, one thing that doesn’t change – all teens need plenty of physical activity (at least an hour a day). The challenges in reaching this? Teens’ interests change as they get older; games they once played may not have the same appeal. School gets harder, leaving less time to get out and do things. Teenagers may not like team sports or other opportunities to be active offered at school. Some may feel they aren’t good at sports, so why bother being active.
Time to get creative and think outside the box. Here are some fun ideas for teens to try:
- Set-up a backyard obstacle course. Put in a chin-up station (use a tree branch or garage rafter), a spot to jump rope for five minutes, a place to crawl under something (like the deck), and do step ups or stair repeats on the back porch or a bench. Do an initial run and time it, then try to beat your time. Invite friends over for friendly competition and add more obstacles.
- Increase balance and agility in a thrilling way. Slack lining is when you set up webbing (similar to ropes) between two trees (wrap cardboard or a towel around the tree to protect the bark) that is very tight and a few feet off the ground over a grassy area. The goal is to get on the webbing (I find bare feet works best) and walk along it; it’s harder than it seems! For beginners, have a friend hold your hand for better balance and check out more tips.
- Another way to get in lots of aerobic exercise and spend an afternoon, or a whole day for that matter, is to create your own adventure race. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how.
- Parkour is an urban sport that originated in France. It’s a mix of acrobatic gymnastics, obstacle course, and running. There is no actual “rules” per se but the goal is to fluidly jump, run, climb, or swing over obstacles either in a gym or urban area. The sport is picking up quickly with private facilities and community centers having parkour gyms. A few tips on safety:
- If you’re starting out, it’s worthwhile to get a few lessons from a certified instructor.
- Know your limits. Parkour videos you may see online can be dangerous to try if you’re not experienced.
- Do not trespass and respect private properties.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be about lifting weights at the rec. center or going to soccer practice three times a week. Get more tips to help keep teens physically active here. Share your ideas for creative ways to be active in the comments below!
HealthyFamiliesBC: Keeping Children and Teens Active
HealthyFamiliesBC: Physical Activity for Youth
HealthyFamiliesBC: Extracurricular Activities, Interests and Hobbies for Teens
ParticipACTION: Teen Challenge
Public Health Agency of Canada: Physical Activity Tips for Youth (12 – 17 years)