During the partial lockdown due to the pandemic, I’ve been trying to think of ways to get my teenage daughter to be more active through exercise and games.
To get her engaged I got the involvement of her cousins in the form of their Physical Education done at school. I tend to reserve a slot on their home study time- table to get them to be physically active through games and exercise.
It is said that exercise has a link to better mental health. It helps us to stay cheerful by producing endorphins; the happy hormone.
Exercise also helps to keep a healthy weight, maintaining strong bones and provide better sleep. It is also a great way to look after our bodies. This is what I wanted my teenage one to be aware of.
Not that we are not covering the 1 hour of exercise daily that is recommended for teens by experts yet. We are however working on the moderate to the vigorous form of exercises.
The sessions are being done on Tuesdays and Fridays. The third one on Sundays for the whole family has gradually crept in since they also wanted a slice of the action!
There is no better way to give meaning to exercise or bringing out the fun of it than by getting the whole family to join in. In our case, it was the grandma and aunties who were showing interest.
My strategy is to let the eldest child conduct the sessions. So it is my 17-year-old niece who leads our class. In the beginning, all of us put in our ideas until we had a routine that works for all of us.
This is how we exercise at home. The weekday’s members are my 10yr old nephew, 12yr old niece, 14yr old daughter, and 17yr old niece. Of course, I also join them in their workouts.
We start with simple exercises from head to toe while standing. Then we move to stretch out on the floor. This is done for about 30 minutes.
These are some of the exercises that we do:
We do the basic squat whereby we hold our posture in the sitting position for a few seconds. We do a series of 3 sets while counting up to 10.
The following are some benefits of squats for your teen.
- Can boost overall fitness.
- Simple to perform.
- Helps in muscle building in the entire body and strength building.
- Makes healthy bones and joints.
- Make legs strong.
Push up is mostly for building strength especially in the upper part of the body. It can strengthen your back as planks can too. Like all the rest we do it in sets of 10.
Plank is a good way to improve body posture. This one they all enjoy. We started with one set of ten only. Nowadays they are doing two sets of ten and beyond.
It helps to build the core strength which also accounts for good posture.
My daughter hates doing push-ups but she rather likes doing planks. So I’ve been encouraging them to do either one by sets of 10.
- With these exercises, you don’t need other equipment.
- They can be performed anywhere.
- I recommend however that some researches are done on each exercise so that the body can be aligned correctly.
When our 30 minutes is done we move into the heart pumping ritual; dancing
We chose dancing as our vigorous exercise to quicken the heart and help in blood circulation throughout the body. It is also a thrilling way to end our session.
- 2 lively songs that last about 10 minutes in total are used.
- As we dance we jump and skip around hastily with the beat of the music.
- The other 20 minutes are used to learn new moves from Tik-Tokers as they gradually cool down.
After 1 hour the session ends and we tidy up the living room which is our workout space. Otherwise, there won’t be an ending and they won’t go back to their studies.
We are planning on including early morning walks and jogging as restrictions slacks out.
Physical games are also a great component of our routine. This eliminates the tendency for monotony.
Below are some fun games that you can include to make your sessions longer. We try to include these on our Sunday workouts since the kids don’t have to rush back to their studies. It is more fun since we get other family members to join in or to act as spectators.
All that is needed to be done is to get a small roll-net that can be attached to a table anywhere. You will also need a small ball and two rackets. Now take your foldable table out of the store for a game of tennis.
Having all the stuff except for a roll-net, we came up with our own unprofessional net.
Bear in mind, we don’t really know all the rules of table tennis but the kids are only too willing to get moving on their feet and keep the ball in the game.
The idea is to turn any table with a simple net into makeshift table tennis to enjoy some more leg and arms movements.
This game is played with a lightweight small ball (12 inches) and a net that is laid out horizontally (like a trampoline). It is a 4 people game with two people on opposing teams. The two teams stand across the net from each other. It kind of reminds us of a volleyball match.
The fun part of this game is in the rules:
- You cannot carry or hold the ball.
- Use only one hand to touch the ball.
- Your role here is basically to make it harder for the opposing team to return the ball.
- Inflate the ball till it’s semi-soft to have better control.
- Adjust the net to have consistent tension throughout.
Spikeball is a fun game to play once you’ve learned the basic rules. Just having fun with this one will boost your teen’s energy.
Ladder toss game
This is a more relaxing game. If they find the above 2 too vigorous, they can settle for this game. It is also a fun game to play with simple enough rules.
This simply involved the throwing of bolas on a frame usually made out of PVC pipes, to earn points. If you’ve got the time and materials, you may try to make one out for yourself and get a kick out of it.
The time that I spend with my teenage daughter and her cousins is priceless. The greatest joy of all is that they don’t want to miss a session. So I guess that the fun is reciprocal. The way things are going, I think that exercising and games will become a daily routine.
Apart from the exercise done together, each member takes time on their own to perform extra exercises for their specific benefits.
Lack of exercise can have ill effects on teenagers such as depression and anxiety. Physical activities can certainly help in the fight against such conditions.
All it takes is to be consistent to achieve positive results. In being physically active you will see improvements in your teen’s emotional and mental capacity. The importance is to start somewhere.
The best thing here is that through exercise and games, you are creating an experience for the young ones. Let the pandemic not be only remembered as a time of suffering and isolation. Let it also be remembered as time well spent with family. Our teens are the future generation. They will live to tell the story, so let it be a good one. Gift them that experience.
Thanks for reading my post.
Kindly share your opinion on exercise and games for teens below.