Fitness and tweens
Are your tweens out there exercising or sitting and using their electronic devises or watching television? With the proper nutrition and exercise, a preteen can pave the way to healthy teenage years. In an article from Disney Family, “Exercising to Build Self-Confidence,” (www.parenting/DisneyFamily.com) they talk about Body by Jake (Jake Steinfeld). His life changed from being an unhappy, fat teenager with a stutter when his father bought a weight bench. Exercise became his career. Jake tells parents to:
1. Encourage kids of all ages to exercise;
2. Eat (mostly) the right stuff;
3. Turn off the TV;
4. Find a true believer (life coach and confidante).
www.about.com says that adolescents need sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. “Exercise can:
- Reduce anxiety, stress, and depression
- Improve self-esteem
- Boost academic performance
- Help establish lifelong healthy habits”
Fitness also helps control blood pressure, weight management, and builds muscles and bones.
Tweens need opportunities outside of physical education classes at school. Team sports or organized sports give kids lessons in teamwork, organization, and motivation. Some tweens prefer individual pursuits such as yoga horseback riding, biking, running, or swimming. Everyday play and movement can provide unorganized workouts. That includes housework, yardwork, dancing, or walking the dog.
Strive to be a role model by making time for exercise in your own life. Family fitness can include jump ropes and frisbees.
www.nim.nih.gov/medicineplus/exerciseforchildren.com reports that most children need at least an hour of physical activity daily. It wards against stress, makes them feel better about themselves, feel more ready to learn, keep a healthy weight, build healthy bones, muscles and joints, and sleep better.
Health clubs across America are inviting tweens to exercise ("Health Clubs Want Tweens to Exercise,” www.abcnews.com). If you are looking for some good centers for your kids to exercise, look at www.gocitykids.parentsconnect.com. They have a list of places, such as the JCC at Milken in West Hills; the JEM Community Center in Beverly Hills; the Santa Monica YWCA; the Studio City Rec Center; and the Glendale YMCA. Crossfit Los Angeles has fitness classes. Call 310-260-9550.
If you can keep the TV, computer, phone and other electronics to a minimum and increase physical activity, your tween will be healthier. In the long run, he or she will increase their self-confidence and boost their energy level. You will provide a good example by exercising also, and everyone’s stress level will diminish. All in all, you will have a happier, healthier household. Get off the couch and get going!