You know physical activity improves his energy, helps him keep his weight down and improves his overall health, but getting your teen to see the value of stepping away from the video games and television can be a challenge. With your influence and support, you can move your teen away from his couch potato ways in favor of physical activity.
Sit down with your teen to talk about his tendency to be inactive. Remind him of the benefits of staying active. The idea of improved health might motivate him, but don't forget to appeal to his teenage instincts with benefits such as an improved physique and more energy to keep up with his friends.
Plant ideas in his head of ways to stay active. He might not make a high school sports team, but options don't stop there. Present him with a pamphlet from the local rec center about teen sports. Suggest bike riding or running. Presenting him with options without forcing him into participating might receive a better response.
Offer your teen the tools he needs to make changes. Outfit him with workout clothes, shoes and gear that make it easier to stay active. Paying for a gym membership or the costs associated with participating in a certain activity also shows your teen support.
Set household rules that discourage sedentary activities. Limit the amount of time you allow your teen to watch television, play video games or be on the computer. With fewer options for sedentary time, your teen might decide to get out and be active.
Encourage your inactive teen to set goals for himself when it comes to his activity levels. The recommended amount of exercise is at least one hour for teens, according to KidsHealth. Suggest he set a goal to stay active a certain number of minutes every day until he works up to an hour or longer.
Plan active family time that is enjoyable, such as swimming at the public pool, playing sand volleyball at a nearby beach or shooting hoops at the park. You will model an active life and bond with your teen over the activity.
Support your teen when he is active, even if the activity isn't your first choice. For example, his skateboarding might drive you crazy, but the hobby gives him physical activity. Cheer him on if it is fitting for the sport. If your teen starts running and signs up for a local fun run, wait at the finish line to congratulate him.