By Jen Vardy
Keeping our teenagers active and engaged in sport can be a challenge. The statistics for girls, in particular, show a high drop out rate from organised sport once they reach puberty as the demands of school and social life step up. COVID19 is only increasing the impact of inactivity with organised sport at a standstill across the globe and the loss of PE classes, riding to school, or even the occasional run to the bus/train.
Research shows that our girls of today have 10-15% reduction in aerobic fitness compared to their mums as kids in the 1970s. And that was before the pandemic has shaken our world!
It’s super important for girls to establish a healthy bone density as teenagers through regular weight-bearing exercise, change of direction sport or resistance training to help them maintain healthy bones later in life. And we know the best way to sensitively combat weight gain in teenagers is through exercise and encouraging a healthy focus on strength and fitness rather than dieting and calorie counting.
Some tips for getting and keeping our teenagers active at this tricky time are:
- Modelling activity. As parents, one of the most powerful messages we can give is to model an active lifestyle ourselves. We don’t have to be the best or fastest at something but we can demonstrate the power of hard work and perseverance. Invite your teenagers for a walk, run, bike ride, and don’t accept the rolled eyes for a definitive answer!
- Tap into your child’s competitive streak.
- Use it as an opportunity to have some all-important 1:1 time.
- Even 10-minute bursts of activity go a long way to adding up to the WHO recommendations for weekly exercise. Any exercise is always better than nothing!
- Use our beautiful Hills and Eastern suburbs to our advantage. Get outside and on a trail. With little distinction between school and home time at the moment it’s vital for everyone’s mental health to get some fresh air.
- Try one of our online classes or one your teenagers may follow on social media. There are countless versions of the ‘7-minute’ aerobic workout. See if you can do a session together but remember to step the routine down as needed or seek advice from your Physio to modify your program. Don’t bust your abdominals or pelvic floor with the high impact load if you’re not ready!!
- Stay tuned for the return of our Youth Strength & Conditioning classes. Small group classes with resistance training for your teenager to target specific health and wellness or sporting goals and stay motivated in a fun group class.
- Keep an eye open post COVID19 for the #thisgirlcan campaign which is a fantastic initiative to keep women of all ages active and engaged. There were many events planned as part of ‘This Girl Can Victoria’ which we look forward to when we return to some normalcy beyond 2020.