How Do Your Teens Stay Active Right Now?

It was not easy for many of us to stay physically active during the pandemic. Gyms are closed, bicycles are sold out; for a while, even a walk in the park seemed too risky. But I saw how hard it was for teenagers who suddenly lost all their team sports, kickball during recess, dance lessons and walks to and from school. They are no longer so young that they are exploded with a special childish energy that makes them climb all over, but they are probably not yet at the age when they want to purposefully engage in regular exercise.

When my 9-year-old son’s school closed in March, I put together a daily schedule that included reading time, classwork, games, and breaks. But I didn’t think strategically enough about what these “interruptions” would entail, and more often than not they were spent in front of the TV. It was fine for me at the time because we were all in survival mode and too much screen time was the least of my worries. But time seemed to slow down, and so did our bodies.

It’s not that we haven’t tried to get around as a family since schools, camps, and team sports closed – we’ve been walking and biking a lot in the past five months. But we weren’t consistent on this, and that’s not enough for a kid who would spend the summer at basketball and football camps, swim for hours in public pools and play laser tag in his best friend’s backyard. He actually told me the other day that he needs football to start again because football makes him strong and he doesn’t feel strong anymore.

Regular exercise is important to all of us (pandemic or not, kids ages 6 and up should be active for at least an hour a day). But I don’t understand a little how to help him move in such a way that it would be interesting for him to do it himself (or with his parents). He’s almost 10 years old and too old for all the best kids’ activities I can think of, from mini trampolines to bouncing balls, bouncy bouncers and Go Noodle .

But the beginning of the school year is a clean slate, the moment we can establish a new routine and develop new habits. If your teen is starting virtual learning this fall (or on a hybrid schedule, or you fully expect them to become virtual at some point ), what would a “break” in your home look like? Are you investing in Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch? Teach them to play tennis with you? Signing up for virtual dance or karate lessons?

Tell us: How will you help your teens stay active this fall?


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