Do you have an inactive teen who lies around the house on the weekends? You’re not alone. According to a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, physical activity in some teens grinds to a halt on the weekends as they take up a more sedentary lifestyle.
The Problem of Inactive Teens on the Weekend
When researchers looked at the lifestyle habits of over 3,000 adolescents and teens under the age of eighteen, they found this age group spends more time watching television and engaging in other sedentary activities on the weekend – compared to during the week.
On weekdays, only 33% of teens watch more than two hours of television, but that number jumps to 60% on the weekends. Other activities that keep them occupied on Saturdays and Sundays are computer games and surfing the internet. Unfortunately, these activities don’t burn many calories. Nor do they help to prevent heart muscle or reduce the risk of diabetes – health problems that are growing in frequency among teens and young adults.
Inactive Teens and Teen Computer Time
Exactly how are teens spending their weekend hours? On the weekend, girls spend time internet surfing, while adolescent boys devote their free time to computer and electronic games. Unfortunately, most adolescents and teens have easy access to a computer, game console, or television, and they may not even need to leave their bedroom to use one of these techy gadgets to entertain themselves.
How to Help Inactive Teenagers Be More Active
One way to help inactive teens be less sedentary on the weekends is to play into their love of technology. Give them a link to fitness apps they can download to inspire them to get moving. Some of the best apps have walking and running workouts – complete with music. Other apps help a teen track how far and fast they walk or run. You can also encourage teens to wear a pedometer to see how many steps they take on weekends. Challenge them to take 10,000 steps a day.
Encourage an inactive teen to sign up for a Tai Chi, kickboxing, or Pilates at the local YMCA. Join a pool so your adolescent can swim laps on warm summer Saturdays – rather than hang out in front of the television. Dust off the tennis rackets or mount a basketball net above the garage and encourage them to shoot baskets. Get the entire family involved in a sport such as volleyball or badminton where everyone can participate. Take a nature hike together on Saturdays. Some teens need motivation and inspiration to be more active.
Inactive Teenagers and the Sedentary Lifestyle: The Bottom Line?
Teens feel better once they start moving. If nothing else works, limit computer time and television viewing on the weekends. That way they’ll have no choice but to find more active alternatives.
Eurealert.org. “Teenagers are more sedentary on weekends”