Get Your Teens Moving

healthTeenagers today are leading sedentary lives, glued to their gadgets and eating a diet of junk food. Yet there is hope as Kris
Ng’ang’a, Fitness Manager at Body & Soul Health Club & Spa tells HEALTH how to get our teens to start moving to get into shape.

Learn From Example

According to Kris, teens learn from the people they look up to and adore. He explains, “First of all, if the parents do not exercise, it will be very difficult for them to convince the child to do the same. Do not eat junk as the parent, at least not in front of them. Also eat outside a maximum of twice in a week.” Teens love munching and with the growth hormone rapidly speeding up growth, the need for food keeps them travelling to and from the kitchen. He advises to let them find
good options and aim to be an example.

Active Leisure

Parents, he advises, should have active leisure. “Instead of going for a movie, the same time could be spent on ice skating,
or skiing,” he says. “Active leisure is when your body is involved in the activity that is your leisure.” Taking teens to the beach or water park is a very good way to get teens involved in exercise as the stairs and the ride are tedious without looking like a workout. Other ways include: going to the park, playing cricket, soccer or catch, or running games. It may also be an opportunity for parents to have a workout time blended with family time.


Have principles and rules at home. “No TV or gadgets after 10pm, no TV or gadgets before 10am,” says Kris, and though teens get grumpy, their minds explore other things that they could do with their time.

Other Ideas

  • Make indoor games: for example, hang a basketball rim in their room where they can shoot while on bed, subconsciously they will develop a love for sports.
  • Enroll them in classes, Zumba, karate, swimming, tennis, where they meet with other teens mingles and competes in a well-organized and supervised environment.

Top Five Exercises For Teenagers

  1. Body weight exercises top the list. Have push up challenges, hang a pull-up bar at home and encourage squat challenges
  2. Swimming. It’s an overall full body exercise, good for joints bones and muscles.
  3. Calisthenics. They are intended to increase body strength, body fitness and flexibility through movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using only one’s body weight for resistance.
  4. Group classes. Group classes work because they are based on peer/mob psychology and the spirit of positive competition. Teen motivate each other and gang up for a common cause. Group classes are fun!
  5. Sports. Teens love learning and perfecting the learnt skill. In sports, there is a foe to beat and a new level to tackle. You can never be at the top or the end of a sport. Even Chris Gale, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo face new challenges with every sport year.

Your Teen: Watch For These Red Flags

  1. When all they do is watch TV and games at home.
  2. When all they eat is junk and cannot enjoy a well-cooked homemade meal.
  3. When they start looking flabby, chubby and older than they actually are.

Expert Advice: Parents, advises Kris, should remember your children, as long as they are under your roof, they are your responsibility. “If and when they gain weight, that is your fault and your doing,” he says. He advises to take responsibility if you care. “They will thank you in the future when all their peers envy the attention they pull, the way their clothes fit them, the way they swim or play a sport,” he tells and most of all, they will love you for having taken charge.

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