Being cooped up inside or in the backyard with the whole family can be stressful, and cause some tension when teens, school age, and preschool children are together all the time. One great way to tire everyone out and help manage excess energy and anxiety and depression symptoms is to be active. We have some tips and tricks for broaching the topic of being active with your teens, activities that are well-disguised exercise, and things to do outside while still following social distancing guidelines. Your teen might be used to after-school sports, activities, select teams, summer swim, sports clubs, or training. With most of these events canceled or postponed until later in the year, your children could be missing their regular exercise. Maybe your teen is active in other ways like hiking or walking around the neighborhood, or even chasing their younger siblings around the house! In either case, making sure that your child is active and stays healthy even when curling up in bed or on the couch seems like the perfect option during this stressful time is very important.
When getting ready to approach your teenager about getting up and active, make sure to stay away from anything that sounds accusatory or hurtful. This is an unprecedented time in everyone’s life, and as stressful as it is for you, it is just as stressful for your children in different ways. The focus should be on staying healthy and happy instead of negative things like gaining weight or being lazy. Rather than making it an individual exercise, pose it as a family activity. Have a parent or sibling ride their bike with your teen while they run if they are missing track or cross country to mimic the fun of running with a whole team. Playing soccer, football, or tennis in the yard can get the blood pumping while not feeling like a lonely walk or angry run on the treadmill. Remember, the most important thing is just getting up and being active. The goal here is to exercise and be happy.
If you have younger children, there are lots of fun ways to disguise exercise as games! Blow up a few balloons and grab some paper plates, and now you have a fun, glass vase proof game! Play balloon tennis, who can keep up their balloon the longest, or wall ball to get everyone moving and grooving. You can fill up a few water bottles (with well-sealed tops) and play bowling down a hallway where everyone has to do jumping jacks, star jumps, or hula hooping in between turns!
If your child’s favorite thing to do is to read or watch their favorite movie, try making a game out of it. Whenever a character comes up, or an often repeated word gets read aloud, they need to do a running lap of the living room or five jumps to get a high-five. There are lots of fun games to do that will help tire everyone out for nap time, or so you can get some work done.
Things are closed all over the place, parks, gyms, and sports fields. For family activities outside, you might have to get creative or take a bit of a drive. Research your area to see if there are hidden gem walking, hiking trails, or swimming holes. Explore your neighborhood! Are there cul-de-sacs you have never walked down, hidden paths to ponds or overlooks that you’ve never seen, or new construction that might be able to be made into an adventure? We recommend going early in the morning to avoid any crowds of families trying to do the same thing you are so you can maintain social distancing, and always carry masks for everyone just in case.
We hope that this advice on getting active helps relieve some stress, anxiety, and kick-starts a new routine of exercise for quarantine and social distancing. As always, our office is here to help answer any questions or concerns you might have on keeping your family moving in the right direction. Don’t forget that those school and sports physicals will still be needed next year, so don’t get behind the rush to get a Well Check! Call us at 540.349.3225!