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Helping Teens Take Charge of Their Fitness & Health

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 29 Jun 2012 | comments*Discuss
Teens And Fitness Teen Health Asthmatic

Teenagers may not yet be adults but they are no longer children, either. For parents of teens, it can be difficult to realise that their kids are almost ready to be on their own, but the step from teen to adult is a short one, so parents are wise to do all that they can to help their teenagers get ready for independent life. Part of being self-sufficient is taking charge of personal health and fitness, so teenagers need to begin making decisions regarding their own well-being. Within a few short years, they will be making all of their own life decisions, so it’s important for them to practice making good choices while they still have Mum and Dad nearby for guidance.

Building the Groundwork

Long before their children are grown, parents help them to develop healthful (or not so healthful) habits. When they are very young, kids begin to understand what things are deemed most important by their parents. Families who prioritise exercise and fitness throughout the years, looking for ways to incorporate activity into the lives of their kids, make great strides toward helping the kids live healthy lifestyles. When parents take matters of heath and fitness seriously, they send the message to their children that exercising and taking care of themselves are worth the effort.

Health Concerns

For teens who have specific health concerns such as asthma, diabetes, or another chronic condition, being mindful about their health is especially important. Long term quality of life can depend on taking care of health issues and managing specific conditions wisely. Teens should be allowed to take charge of their medications and lifestyle choices that affect their condition, with parents overseeing to assure that the kids make sound choices.

Even teens who are perfectly healthy need to develop a sense of ownership about their bodies, making decisions regarding exercise, nutrition, and medical care. While parents still need to be on hand to offer advice and guidance, teenagers should be allowed considerable input when it comes to matters of their own health. Encouraging kids to develop good relationships with the family doctor is a good idea – once they are out on their own, kids will need to be comfortable to seek medical advice should the need arise. If they prefer, teens may be allowed to choose a new doctor rather than using the same one as their parents.

Fitness Matters

When they first go off on their own, many young adults make choices that may not meet with the approval of their parents. Unhealthy food choices combined with new lifestyle habits often pack a few extra pounds on kids in those first few years away from home. Helping teens to find sports or activities that they enjoy can help head off some of this weight gain, giving them healthy exercises that they will continue long after Mum and Dad are no longer in charge. Some activities, such as swimming, golf, and tennis are enjoyed by people of all ages, so encouraging an interest in these or other life sports is a good idea. Parents can further encourage their teens to stay active by participating along with them, providing an example that fitness is a worthy lifelong goal.

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