Parents, how many times have you heard that come out of your teenager’s mouth since school ended? Is your teen spending too much time staring at a screen? Have they become glued to the couch?
Access to phones, TVs and computers sure makes it easy for teens to spend Vancouver’s sunniest months of the year inside. Although their video game accomplishments may be important to them, you might not be as thrilled with the number of hours they are clocking on their Xbox.
ParticipACTION’s 2015 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth says that teens ages 12 to 17 are spending 9.3 hours a day being sedentary, with only 24 per cent meeting the guidelines of two hours or less screen time per day and only five per cent getting the national guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
Encouraging them to be active doesn’t mean waking them up at 5 a.m. for hours of hard-core fitness. Being active simply means getting out of the house and off the couch.
Here are a five ways teens can get active this summer, including a few from YMCA.
If your teen wants to make a difference in their community, volunteering is a perfect way to put their talents and natural interests to use. Find a cause that interests them and see what they can accomplish.
If they feel they are too young or shy to make a difference, check out Marc Kielburger’s story of how he founded Free The Children at age 12. Many local charities, like the YMCA, are always looking for young volunteers.
Go to camp
Some of the best things in life never change. Camps are still one of best ways for teens to make new friends, create memories that last a lifetime and stay active. There’s still time to register teens for both day camps and overnight camps.
Go play outside
Vancouver is amazing in the summertime. There are plenty of hikes near Vancouver with many of them accessible by public transit. Why not try a local park or lake? For parent participation hikes, check out this top 10 list of local hikes.
Join a Group
Try a new sport or check out your local health centre
There are sports leagues all over the city always looking for new players. If your teen is interested, encourage them to try some group fitness classes, like cyclefit, Zumba or yoga.
What’s better, the YMCA is currently offering a FREE summer active teen pass for youth ages 13 to 18 – go swimming, shoot some hoops, take a dip in the pool or dabble with a wide selection of cardio machines, all for free, all summer long. Visit ymcateen.ca for full details and to find your closest YMCA.
And remember: if you’re asking them to reduce their screen time, don’t send it in a text; it might send the wrong message – literally.