There is a growing epidemic of childhood and teen obesity thanks to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Not only does this have dangerous implications for the health of teens, but it can also severely impact their self-esteem and cause embarrassing social situations. While there is no magic pill that is going to change the body image of an obese teen overnight, there is hope. By eating healthy, exercising regularly and keeping a positive attitude, teens can dramatically change their body image in a relatively short period of time.
If improving body image isn’t motivation enough for your teen, there is also serious health risks involved with being obese, such as diabetes and high blood pressure which can lead to even more severe problems down the road. To help your teen stay motivated, set a good example by getting fit with them. Make sure that you’re not only promoting a healthy body image, but also encouraging portion control and smart food choices too.
Nutrition is only part of the equation though, here are four great exercise ideas for both you and your teen:
Idea #1 – Strength Training
Strength training is the perfect way to build muscle and promote weight loss. Not only will your teen burn calories during workouts, but the more muscle they have, the more calories their body will burn even while at rest. To get the most out of their strength training sessions, make sure that your teens take a full body approach, which will balance their strength and power throughout their body. They should train three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and train a different muscle group each day (upper body, lower body and core).
Idea #2 – Interval Training
Interval training is extremely effective at promoting weight loss without your teen having to spend hours in the gym. Interval training is all about exercises that are short and sweet, but intense. Any kind of cardio activity like jogging, swimming, biking, stair climbing or jump rope work well with interval training. If your teen runs for example, they should jog for two minutes and then sprint for 30 seconds. Have them repeat this cycle for 30 minutes for an intense, calorie burning workout.
Idea #3 – Circuit Training
Circuit training is another effective way to help your teen get in shape and lose weight. The idea is to create a circuit of exercises that are a mix of cardio and strength training. This combination not only builds muscle but it burns fat as well. A sample circuit might include sit-ups, burpees, squats, jumping jacks and push-ups. Have your teen run through this circuit (or their own) three times and then come up with a new one to keep things interesting.
Idea #4 – Cardio
While cardio may not be as glamorous as some other exercises, it’s still very effective at burning calories and will definitely help your teen to reach their goal weight. In order for your teen to lose one pound per week, they will need to burn 3500 calories (500 per day). This may sound like a lot, but an hour spent running, cycling or using an elliptical trainer will easily burn 500 calories.