The following is a post by Kris Bales of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
An unexpected development has occurred this summer. After years of being slightly-interested bystanders of my running, my kids have decided that they want to join me. That excites me because not only do I recognize the health benefits for them, but I can also see a great many benefits of working out with teens.
I need to offer the caveat that, at the time of this writing, we’re only in the planning stages of running together. We’ve got one more summer camp to complete first. That being said, one of my kids has already joined me for a run and all are enthusiastic about starting.
So, what do I see as the benefit of working out with teens?
Built-in accountability partners
When you’re working out with your teens, you’re not the only one who notices a missed workout. It’s harder to skip a workout when you know that it’s not just yourself you’ll be letting down.
Plus, in our case, it would be difficult for them to go without me, so I would be depriving them of the opportunity to work out if I were to choose hitting the snooze button over lacing up my running shoes.
A more consistent routine
For many families, working out together can mean a more consistent routine. I prefer to run in the mornings when it’s cooler. Even in the winter, I’d rather get my run out of the way early so I know it’s done for the day.
My family has decided that, since we’ll be up early to run anyway, we might as well tackle school earlier so that we can enjoy more relaxed afternoons. If we see this through, it’s going to mean a huge lifestyle change for my night owls and our previous late-starting habits.
A healthier family
We live in a very sedentary society and my family is no exception. Especially as teens who don’t really go outside to play anymore, there is the temptation to sit around watching too much TV, playing too many video games, and texting friends.
By running together several days a week, we’ll all be healthier and I don’t think that the health benefits are limited to the physical.
Improved focus and mental outlook
Many studies have shown that regular exercise improves a person’s mental health. Not only does exercise improve mental acuity, but studies also indicate that it releases dopamine, the “feel good” chemical in the brain. This reduces stress and feelings of depression.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve noticed being in a much better mood after a run. That can only be a good thing for a homeschooling family, right? I mean, a whole family who has run out their grumpiness before starting school for the day? Sign me up for that!
Credit for P.E.
My oldest child played volleyball when she was in high school, so it was easy to count that for P.E. credit. However, my son isn’t involved in organized sports and my younger daughter does gymnastics, but currently only once a week. Running together will be a great way to build credit for P.E. on their high school transcripts.
Given all the benefits, it’s no wonder I’m excited to begin working out with my teens. Plus, telling you about it now provides some added accountability, right?
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Do you work out with your teens (or younger kids?) What do you do and how has it positively impacted your family?
Our family decided on a week long bike ride in Iowa this summer as a family project (in Leadership Education I think this would count as an annual project). We are riding 1000 training miles before the ride. It has been awesome to do together. Riding is something the kids would not be able to do without us since we need to drive to the trails. Our kids are 12,9 and 9.
I was originally inspired to adopt a more active family lifestyle (all family, all together) from Renee at FIMBY. We tried hiking, but our kids just didn’t like it that much. We tried running, but I could barely get my legs to take it. Cycling seems to be working for us, and we are already looking ahead to next year’s ride.
I think running together is great! You can run anywhere. I remember my uncle running with my cousins when they were teens and I always thought that was cool. I’ve read and have been inspired by your story on your blog, Kris. Enjoy this new part of your journey!
Gotta get out the door. We’re doing 75 miles today. Our longest ride yet.
Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Thanks so much for the encouragement, Lori. I love the idea of biking together! My husband and I love to ride. My son rode with us for awhile – until we started enjoying longer rides. Now that he wants to get in shape, though, I bet we could convince him to go with us again. I’m so glad you mentioned that because, for some reason, I hadn’t even thought of trying biking with the kids again.
What your family is doing sounds like so much fun! Enjoy your 75 miles!
Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’s latest post: Benefits of working out with teens
I love this article. My teen daughter and I started lifting weights this spring. It is amazing to watch her grow and get stronger. Along with the benefits of helping get throught the akward stage she is in on body image.
Just wondering if it’s still working out for you. I hope so 🙂