Fitness for Teens: So much more than just physical benefits

Time and time again, 25, 35 or 65 year-olds have expressed regret that they didn’t discover our gym sooner.

I wish I would have found this when I was younger, they say.

 Or, I wish my parents would have pushed fitness on me when I was a teen.

 Or, Imagine what my life could have been like had I continued to workout right after I graduated from high school.

While you can’t go back and redo a decade or two of your life, you can ensure your children and teenagers reap the benefits of being strong and fit their entire lives.

While the physical benefits of being fit at any age goes without saying, the emotional and social benefits are less obvious. BUT never are the emotional and social benefits of being fit more pronounced than when you consider teenagers: They’re young, impressionable, and easily moldable, and they’re ripe for the picking when it comes to putting their lives on a course to success. And the gym is a great launching pad for this.

5 Ways Being Fit at 15 will help your teenager beyond the physical benefits
  1. Diversifies their social skills

Most teens like to spend the bulk of their time with their peers. Other than their parents and their teachers, they don’t usually have many relationships with adults. And the relationships with the few adults they do spend time with—i.e. parents and teachers—tend to come with an unequal power balance.

Training with adults at the gym—be it 20-year-olds or 50-year-olds—really helps teenagers develop the appropriate social skills to confidently communicate with, and even be friends with, older adults. When it comes time to enroll in college or university, or to begin a career, having the ability and confidence to connect with people of all backgrounds and ages will be invaluable to your 18-year-old.

  1. Healthy diet education

Teens can be some of the pickiest eaters in the world!

And to make matters worse, puberty often goes hand-in-hand with weight gain (so does first year university and the infamous Freshman 15). Broaching the subject of diet and body composition with your teen can be a touchy subject for any parent because you don’t want to push them into an eating disorder. And they usually don’t want to listen to their parents about what constitutes healthy eating anyway.

They are way more likely to listen to coaches, and their gym friends, though, about how they should be fuelling their bodies.

So instead of putting pressure on them and warning them they’re getting a bit chubby, surround them with health-conscious athletes at the gym who love to cook and eat healthy food. (Not only that, but they will also receive education from our coaches about nutrition).

And the best part is they’ll likely get there on their own accord, as the more fit they become, the more fit they’ll likely want to be, and they’ll realize that diet plays a big role in this. Generally, this will lead to a healthy interest in eating well, and maybe even in researching and experimenting, with what their bodies truly want and need to optimize heath and performance.

  1. Strong over skinny mentality

Teenage girls especially are prone to get wrapped up in wanting to be skinny. But when your 15-year-old daughter is surrounded by young, fit, lean, muscular women in their 20s, their whole attitude toward what kind of body they want to have will change.

This has been the case for 13-year-old Thea in Vancouver, who has been training for two years already. She explained what being around strong girls and women has done for her.

“At my age, there are definitely girls that are worried about staying skinny. Because I was first introduced to CrossFit at a much younger age (11), I’ve never had those problems. I just tell myself I would rather be strong than skinny.”

When Thea’s coach told her she needed to gain muscle mass, which might mean she will weigh 20-lb. more in a year from now, Thea smiled a smile that said, “Bring it on.”

  1. Confidence builder

As they say, ‘Confidence is sexy.’ If only most high school aged teens realized this…

If they did, they would be much more successful at school, in their sporting endeavours, and most certainly in their attempts at dating.

The result: Instead of your 14-year-old daughter hiding her legs under big bulky basketball shorts, she will start to own her muscular thighs. This confidence in herself will ooze from her when she walks through the halls, making her untouchable to her peers.

In other words, getting fit makes you proud of yourself. It makes you love yourself, something most teenagers struggle with. And when you love yourself, suddenly you perceive the world loves you back just a little bit more.

  1. The ability to handle the real world

Working out de-stresses you no matter what age you’re at. And teens tend to get extremely overwhelmed and stressed more easily than most.

Whether they’re stressed out about final exams or finding a prom date, sweating it out at the gym surrounded by great role models is sure to leave them feeling better and more capable of handling anything high school, and life, throws their way.

 Think about who you could have been at 16 had you known what you know now? Fitness will give this gift to your teen.