Fun Fitness Ideas for Teens
Pure Fun Fitness Activities
Let's face it, getting teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to do something they think is boring is not easy or productive in the long term. How can teens get plenty of exercise while having fun and not burning out on repetition?
Just like everyone else, teens need a goal, a plan and a 'no limitations' approach to fitness. It is a lifestyle change, but more importantly, a mental shift. As with anyone else, teens need to start seeing themselves as the healthy, fit people they were meant to be.
Getting Started on a Teen Fitness Plan
Goals and Mindset
For long term fitness, the individual doing the work has to set the goal and take the first step. Sure, support is a good thing, but the first steps have to be their choice. Making up your mind to exercise in a way you are comfortable with is the first step. It does not have to be a big one either.
If exercising is foreign to you, do something as simple as moving your limbs in place. Stand and move your neck in slow circles, up and down, side to side. Then shrug your shoulders, squeezing at the top before releasing. Move on to arm swings and circles, then hips and legs. In other words, do the most basic of human movement to get yourself moving. It really works.
Setting goals for the short term (1-3 months for example) and the long term (1 year or longer) is a good idea, but be sure to revisit and re-evaluate your goals regularly. Life changes, schedules change and the goals you thought made sense in the beginning may be obsolete at a later time.
Be specific. Know exactly what you want on a day-to-day basis. Just saying, "I want to be fit" or "I want to have a body like (insert favorite hot body here)" is not a good reason for you to get up and go. The goal has to be specific to you, what you want, and move you towards something you like. Here are some good examples of specific goals:
If you like the feeling you get when you run, bike, surf, dance or swim: "I am going to run, bike, surf or swim everyday." This may not be practical, but you can edit it for your needs, "I am going to surf every weekend" or "I will run 3 times a week on the beach or trail."
Notice how there are no timelines here. Why? Because this has to be something you want to do, and if you want it, it doesn't have an expiration date. You don't 'accomplish' running, running becomes a part of your life. Or put another way, you become a runner, surfer, dancer, etc. Changes in your body happen as a side effect of these choices.
This does not mean you shouldn't set deadlines for yourself. Depending on your goals, you may have to. If you want to run the Boston Marathon or get in shape to go out for a sports or dance team, you have a deadline whether you like it or not. Deadlines are great, but maintain your daily/weekly 'lifestyle' goals as well. You don't have to stop dancing or lifting weights just because the competitive season is over, for example.
Prepare your Mind. Everyday.
The 'fitness is a lifestyle' cliche' happens to be true. The best results are seen when you are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, nutrition and good choices regarding your body. Praparing yourself to have this mindset everyday makes fitness choices and exercising much easier.
Try meditating on your goals every morning and/or night for a few minutes. Visualize yourself achieving your goals. Mentally walk through all the steps you need to take to get there. Visualize and feel your healthy vitality coarsing through your veins and be thankful for it. Train your brain just as you train your body and fitness will become second nature.
- Why Be Fit? Good Reasons to Get into and Stay in Shape for Life
Why be fit and healthy? There are many reasons, and most of them will help you live a better, longer life. Find out why everyone can benefit from a healthier lifestyle.
- Identifying and Overcoming Mental Barriers to Fitness
Do you lose weight only to gain it back again? Are you riding a diet roller coaster and struggling to achieve personal fitness? It's time to redefine yourself and make a permanent lifestyle change.
Fun Ways for Teens to Stay Fit
The subtitle "Fun Ways for Teens to Stay Fit" is rather arbitrary. After all, what one person likes another loathes. Use this list as a reference guide, and allow yourself to try anything and everything you are interested in. When you find something you like (or love) keep doing it!
Gym: Gyms can be a lot of fun and very motivating. Plus, the large diversity of equipment helps prevent boredom, no matter what you are into. In addition most gyms have tons of classes today. Try a Zumba class, yoga, spin class or a group strength class. Bring friends with you and not only will the workout be more fun, but you are likely to push yourself harder as well.
Pool: Water. Who can deny its calming powers? Swimming also burns more calories per hour than any other cardio activity. If your pool has a diving board it will be a long time before you get bored.
If you bring a workout partner, or anyone who feels like getting wet, have relay races (swimming or running.) You can also have fun with strength exercises like pulling/towing. Have a friend grab you around your waist, then walk or jog through the water.
Beach: Lucky beachside residents have many fun activities they can do to get in shape. Running and walking on the beach is serious exercise, and the view is always nice. Surfing, bodyboarding and bodysurfing are also great choices. If you don't know how to surf, get a jumpstart with a couple of surf lessons. With a wetsuit, you can take advantage of being close to the ocean yearround. Summer shouldn't be the only time you get in the water.
Volleyball and soccer are also great choices on the beach. With enough people to play 2 on 2 volleyball this is a ton of fun. However, 2 people can have fun and get a great workout just peppering (pass, set, spike) or setting the ball for each other to spike. The same is true with soccer. With two or an entire team, this is a fun, intense workout.
Hit the Road: Walking and running are great exercise. Make it more fun by doing it with friends, walking/running in interesting places or bringing your iDevice with you.
Bicycles! Riding bikes of any kind is fun and builds leg and glute muscle endurance as well as strength. Like to go hard? Try mountain biking or racing with friends on road bikes. Prefer a longer ride cruising at high speeds? Get a road bike and the right equipment. More the creative type? BMX, baby, all the way. Or choose a single speed hardtail mountain bike if you prefer something bigger.
Play Sports: You don't have to be on a high school team to be involved in sports. Find a sport you like and find a league to go with it. Basketball, soccer, softball and baseball are all sports with leagues for teens. You can also get involved with martial arts, gymnastics, dance, tennis, golf, skateboarding, BMX dirt track and so on.
- Tips for Effective Bodyweight Workout Routines
Quick and easy tips to get started on a bodyweight workout today! Simple exercises that really work.
- Workout Routines for Increasing Climbing Strength, Power and Endurance
Climbing is a great way to have fun while building a lean, muscular body, but without proper supplemental training, progress can be slow. Use these workout tips to increase your climbing strength and endurance.
Look for Climbing Gyms? Some top picks here.
Mesa Rim Climbing Center (858) 348-4593
Carabiner's: (508) 984-0808
Stone Gardens, Inc.: (206) 781-9828
AZ on the Rocks: (480) 502-9777
Triangle Rock Club: (919) 463-7625
Go Vertical: (215) 928-1800
Sacramento Pipeworks: (916) 341-0100
Earth Treks Rockville Climbing Gym: (240) 283-9942
Again, the 'fun' part is subjective, but here are some ideas:
Slip and Slide!
A long plastic sheet soaked with running water and maybe a little dishwashing detergent is an absolute blast. Roll this out in the backyard and you won't want to stop. Even better, find a giant industrial tarp to lay out on a hill close to a hose hookup. Spray it down with water and detergent and you have a homemade water sllide.
Anyone who has played Dance Central or any of the Just Dance series for the Wii Fit knows you can work up a sweat playing those games. Yes, dancing is good exercise, as if it matters! Which leads us to the next suggestion:
Dancing is fun no matter who you are, and there is a dance genre for everyone. Gyms offer multiple classes and community centers and dance studios offer everything from hip-hop to ballet to ballroom classes. There are no barriers to entry for a beginning dance class, so whether you are male or female, 40 pounds overweight or a wide receiver on the football team, there is a place for you here.
Whether you are at a party or by yourself in your room, if there's music on, get up and dance!
Climbing is such a fun and challenging workout, and is easier to get started in then you may think. There are many climbing gyms across the country today, and larger gyms often have rock walls. Both options offer basic instruction and easy beginner routes. there is something so satisfying about scaling a wall, it leaves you wanting more.
If there is a climbing gym in your vicinity, grab a partner and get going. These gyms typically have no-rope/no-harness bouldering sections for an alternative to hanging from a rope. Even better, climbing gyms hold instructional classes on everything from belaying to yoga to bouldering, frequently in a fun, age-specific group environment.
You don't have to walk if you have a smooth ride. Skateboards are fun exercise and can be carried when you feel like walking. They can also go wherever you go in most cases. Get a cruiser board with big wheels and you will go faster with every push; not to mention it will be easier to get over small bumps in the road.
Read this quote from Ultrazone Lasertag in Los Angeles:
"Ultrazone, Laser Tag is played in a high-tech environment. It's played in a themed arena where special effects and other players create an exciting, exhilarating and entertaining adventure. Simply put, it is a futuristic entertainment facility that is fun and safe for all ages. Ultrazone is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, drug-free environment that is monitored by trained staff and caters to all ages."
I can't say fitness and good times any better than that.
In the L.A. area? Check out Ultrazone lasertag!
Teens Get Your Fitness On!
So what is the final word for teens who want to get fit but don't know where to get started? Identify what you like about fitness, fit people (pro athletes, friends, anyone,) and a healthy lifestyle. Then, look at things you enjoy doing (hiking? boxing? dancing?) and latch onto those activities. Make them yours, even if it feels awkward at first. Chances are, what you like about fitness and what you enjoy doing will be similar, if not the same.
And the final word in fitness for teens or anybody else? Have FUN!