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It’s a fact. Many teenagers in the UAE are not getting enough regular exercise. Adding a regular exercise routine to their lifestyle not only helps during teenage years but can also instil a sense of how important regular exercise is throughout our lives.
In this personal trainer question and answer session a personal trainer from Abu Dhabi, provides some useful ideas and tip for parents and teenagers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi relating to teenage health, fitness and exercise.
Question: A lack of regular physical exercise in the ‘teenager’ age group tends to be a global issue. As a personal trainer in the UAE what do you think are the major causes of this growing problem?
General inactivity, modern technology and fast foods are my initial thoughts when it comes to causes of health issues for the younger age group in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
All of the above will lead to a lack of fitness, rapid increase in weight, and unhealthy lifestyle.
With living in the UAE these issues can increase at least 10% quicker than some other countries with more varied climates.
Teenagers will avoid the outdoors due to an unbearable climate during certain months of the year and they will often seek to stay in air conditioned buildings and play games consoles leading to an adverse effect on their health and general fitness.
Finally, malls and quick access to poor and cheap food choices so easily and regularly for teens is a major factor in why we are seeing problems for teenagers to stay fit and healthy.
It is important not to panic and tackle these issues individually as all these problems or hurdles can be avoided if some simple steps and routines are put into place.
Question: Most school age teenagers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will perform some form of physical activity at school. However, parents and teenagers themselves are often advised to do more extra-curricular sports or physical activities. Why is this extra activity needed?
Free time psychical activities for teenagers can not only be extremely fun and sociable its benefits can expand larger than just the psychical such as having more energy levels, being more alert in the school environment and having more confidence when socialising and meeting new friends in sports teams etc.
Question: We all know that weight control combined with exercise (weight management) is an important part of an adults healthy lifestyle but increasing weight issues are being noticed more and more in teenagers. How can parents and even schools help to deal with this issue?
My advice for this is just to keep it simple. All teenagers will react differently to either strict diets or too many regular sports being enforced on them.
To get the best reactions or results it would be to do both in moderation and to make small changes weekly to the diet within the family.
Encourage children to try new sports early on with their friends and keep them as active as possible in a fun environment.
It is all about changing the mind-set of the approach to extra psychical activity and giving yourself others the understanding of the purpose. Once somebody understands this then the rest will just come naturally.
Question: What we learn in our early years can be carried through to adulthood. Bearing this in mind do you think parents in the UAE should be teaching children the importance of incorporating more regular exercise at an earlier age?
100%. Initially Teenagers may only be looking for the fun factor when it comes to exercise or a training routine to follow.
I believe that if given a ‘purpose’ and shown benefits then this can transfer the mind-set of teenagers into seeing the importance of training and long term advantages of starting to exercise regularly.
Eventually they will begin to see this as more of a hobby as supposed to a chore. Unfortunately many teenagers often find the thought of exercise boring.
Question: How can teenage fitness personal trainers, parents and even schools in the UAE overcome this with ‘fun’ exercise plans which engage teenagers and keep them interested?
With my teenage clients I often join in and train with them. With a younger age group it can often be a case of ‘never ask somebody to do something that your not willing to do yourself’.
As a trainer I feel not only does this approach work for me but it also makes the session more enjoyable for a teenager doing extra exercise and therefore resulting in us having more fun.
For teachers and parents I would 100 percent encourage your teenagers to participate in Group exercises and team sports.
This promote a sense of togetherness and achievement in a fun teamwork environment. Developing good habits early on will 100 percent last them a lifetime.
Free psychical activities for teenagers such as martial arts can also teach self-discipline and many other core values which will lead to improved decision making in everyday life.
Question: As a personal trainer who works with teenagers in Abu Dhabi what are your top tips for both teenagers and parents alike to help them get more exercise and lead a healthier lifestyle in general?
Start slow and make small changes. Too much too soon will simply lead to putting somebody off and them going back to their old habits.
Keep it balanced Give them purpose, encourage and join in when possible
Finally once the above are in place keep it consistent as this is key but most importantly keep it FUN and ENJOY.
If you are a concerned parent or a teenager yourself and want to get some great advice about exercise and fitness the personal trainers listed on the UAE Personal Trainers website can help.