The summer is an opportunity for the teenager to get fitter and healthier!
For the last three or so months, well before the summer holiday started, my daughter has been pestering us about wanting to join a gym. Although I’m okay with the idea on the whole, there are a couple of things on which I have reservations, and I will speak about those later in this blogpost. One of my popular sayings in relation to teenagers about the summer holiday, on which I have written about in the last decade or so, includes the phrase “the summer time is an opportunity to relax, reflect and reenergise”. With the internet and our devices these days, the notion of relaxing for most people – particularly the young ones, centres around spending time on their devices. Despite the reservation that I have about over use of smartphones and what I consider to be largely too much time-wasting on the internet, there are many benefits to spending time online. After all, one of the essential advantages of technology, next to helping us to work more efficiently, is to entertain us. Entertainment is an essential aspect of life, as we need to relax and re-energise, so that we stay sane, and in fact productive. The truth of the matter is that using our electronic devices for entertainment, most of the time, is what we do sitting down and involves zero physical exercise!
Physical exercise is something that we must recognise as a critical part of a healthy lifestyle. It does not have to include going to the gym, as there are so many ways we can keep fit and healthy. I personally enjoy running and the running I do ranges from just 2 km to 24 km, depending on the day and other factors. I try to run between two to four days a week but I do not always manage it. What I do make sure I do is to do a bit of walking at least, and I’m not speaking about a long walk necessarily, but just walking to as many places as feasible when I can.
I do not go to the gym anymore but, when I used to go, one of the little things that annoyed me was to see people parking as close as possible to the gym entrance, so they did not have to walk so much to get inside the gym. I must admit that I’ve found myself doing exactly the same thing, as it is something you do subconsciously… Whenever I find myself doing that, I usually refrain myself by driving as far as possible and do the long walk, which makes me feel good about myself for a few seconds!
Before I speak about my reservation about my daughter joining the gym, I’d just like to say a couple of things. It is good of my fourteen-year-old daughter to be so eager about going to the gym, unlike my son who is sixteen and has been putting off going to the gym regularly for almost two years now. The thing I’d like to say is that, since I was about 15, I’ve always been interested in some sort of weight training, and I’ve always been a member of a gym off and on for decades.
There are just a couple of issues I have about my daughter going to the gym. As she is fourteen, except for about a couple of hours in the week, she has to be accompanied by someone older. We may not always have time to go with her and her brother is not as enthusiastic about a gym. Going to the gym will not be her only exercise and she will still be doing other sports and going for walks.
I’d like to finish on saying that going to the gym is just one way to keep fit. There are several others such as running, swimming, cycling and even walking. It is not about doing so much at a time but doing whichever one decides to do frequently. It can also be so overwhelming to do too much to start with, as starting with, say, even brisk walk or just 1 km running and building it up gradually is good. As for teenagers, encouraging them to get out of their rooms and off their devices to do some sort of exercise with not be a walk in the park, as they will resist. However, it is both a long-term physical and mental health issue and we as parents have to find a way to motivate them to do it.
An old blogpost – Relax, Rejoice, Reflect and Re-energise,