Fun ways to team up with your teen to encourage healthier habits and improve fitness!
Buddying up with your teen can be a great way to promote and encourage a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. If your teen suffers from low moods or issues with confidence and self-esteem, then exercise and eating a healthy diet can go a long way to improving how they feel in their own skin. Many teens who struggle with low body image and depression find it extremely difficult to find the motivation to take care of themselves properly.
By partnering with your teen for walks, workouts and cooking healthy meals, you can encourage and support them along the way, keeping them motivated and on-track. It’s a great way to bond with your teen and will also boost your own fitness and happiness levels – double win!
Here are a few fun ideas and activities to try with your teen. Give them a go and find out what works for you both…
Bake-Off Challenge (but make it healthy!)
Challenge your teen to a bake-off in the kitchen. The only rule? Whatever you both choose to bake must be healthy! Think along the lines of low-fat breakfast muffins, protein bars or a wholemeal loaf. Baking bread is also a great way to de-stress – kneading dough takes a lot of work, but it can be incredibly therapeutic.
If baking isn’t doing it for you, try a cook-off instead. Again, the only criteria is to cook something fresh, healthy and tasty! If your teen enjoys the challenge, why not make this a weekly thing, or ask them to help you prepare meals throughout the week? It can feel relaxed and easy to chatter away as you cook a meal, side-by-side, so it’s a great way to encourage open communication with your teen.
Many of us don’t drink nearly enough water every day (teens especially). Encourage better drinking habits in the home by swapping out fizzy drinks for water or squash. It can help to fill a few water bottles and store them in the fridge to have cool water to hand whenever thirst strikes. If your teen isn’t a fan of plain old water, try mixing it up by adding some lemon slices or a handful of berries to give it a fruity twist.
Take A Hike
Get outdoors with your teen for a blast of fresh air – even a short walk with the dog can lift the spirits and blow away the cobwebs! Try new routes from time-to-time to keep the walks interesting and varied or set mini challenges for you and your teen – these could be step goals, a particular distance you want to hit every week, or a summit you want to conquer together.
Planning your walking goals together will help to bring you closer and gives your teen a sense of control and responsibility. It can also help to ask your teen what their fitness goals are to help them focus on the end game. Stick your written goals on the fridge as a daily reminder of what you both want to achieve to keep motivation levels high.
To Gym Or Not To Gym?
Your teen might be interested in joining a gym with you. If you’re a regular gym-goer, great, but if you haven’t been before yourself you might feel a tad nervous and unsure. Read over our Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway guide here to get lots of helpful tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the gym.
You and your teen may prefer to work out together at home instead. You don’t need all sorts of expensive equipment – filled water bottles and tinned food make great DIY weights! Look at YouTube for lots of great workout ideas. There’s everything from circuit training to yoga classes and so much more.
Ditch The Car
If your teen usually jumps on a bus or is driven to school, encourage them to walk or cycle instead. If this isn’t possible, you could always drop them off slightly further away from school than you normally would, or suggest they hop off the bus a few stops earlier to build some exercise into their day. It’s a simple change but it can be effective.
Similarly, if your teen is guilty of using you as an unofficial taxi driver to ship them from place to place, try to encourage them to walk instead, especially if it’s a short trip to a friend’s house. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint, saving on fuel, and boosting your teen’s fitness, all at the same time!
You’ve Got This!
Be sure to praise your teen for their efforts as often as you can. Celebrating achievements, no matter how small, can improve self-worth and make an individual feel more motivated to keep going. We all need support and a pat on the back every now and again. Work together every step of the way and reward yourselves when you reach your goals!