I’m worried about my 14 year old son’s weight. We eat pretty healthy, and I don’t want to put him on a diet. But he’s not very active, and I’d like to increase his physical activity. He rides his bike to his nearby friend’s house and has a basket ball net on the driveway he’ll occasionally play with. But he mostly prefers video games and being indoors on his phone. How would you suggest I help him get more active?

 Bracha’s Bite:

Helping your adolescent get more active can be super beneficial for his overall health! This includes better sleep, stronger muscles and bones, cardiovascular health, mood boosting, social interactions, and more. 

Being more active does NOT necessarily mean his weight will change, or even that there will be a noticeable difference in his body size and shape. And truthfully, I would caution you to stay away from that as a goal.

Many of the teens and tweens I’ve seen who use exercise as a way of changing their appearance have fallen into very negative behaviors around movement. These include; compulsively exercising impacting social and school life, excessively working out resulting in injury, decreased mood and mental health, and disordered eating.

You can help your adolescent be more active, while having a good relationship with movement and his body by doing the following:

  • Find an activity your child enjoys
  • Be active together
  • Remove the thoughts (or hopes) that it will change their body size or shape
  • Help them stay fueled with before and after activity snacks

Read more here about ensuring your adolescent’s physical activity supports his health.

Physical activity should be enjoyable. Finding the right movement for your son can make it sustainable and something he looks forward to doing!