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Keep Teens Moving

Keep Teens Moving

Having someone to exercise with keeps me accountable and it makes the process more fun. That someone for me is my teen daughter. A year ago, I asked my then 16-year-old if she wanted to come with me to group exercises classes down at the park. My motivation was to invest in my daughter’s health and fitness, particularly during the senior schooling years.

The fact is, young women are dropping out of physical activity and sport at an alarming rate after puberty. Research from Deakin University addressed this trend, and found among the many barriers, the increasing workload at school contributed to the decline. This is something I noticed for my daughter too. Years 11 and 12 are increasingly stressful and it can make life balance challenging. And yet, we know that exercise is important for mental and physical health, so finding a way to keep exercise in the mix is a must.

A year on, and we are both going strong with our exercise routine. My daughter said to me the other day, “I think exercise really helps me stay focused and organised.” That does my heart good. What I didn’t expect from all of this was such a special deepening of our relationship. 5am wake-ups, boxing, squats, push-ups and more – we do it together. We encourage each other. We spend time together. We share in the pain and triumphs. My daughter is fierce, and strong, and amazing – and I am in awe of her. She inspires me.

The challenging of keeping adolescence girls involved in physical activity is relative however, there are some useful things to consider.

  1. What are the barriers? Instead of asking how to keep adolescent girls moving, it can be useful to ask what is stopping them first, and work around that.
  2. What do they enjoy? Team sport? A gym membership? Working towards a goal, for example a race? Work with what they enjoy and their personality.
  3. Be a moving family. Go for bike rides, swim in the sea, do fun runs, play in the park. It all counts.

Let’s encourage our young girls to keep moving. They deserve it.

Words // Kelly Burstow, Be A Fun Mum Blogger

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