Teen girl at an indoor rock climbing gym.

How to Help Teens Stay Active in Wintertime

The weather is getting chillier by the day, and swapping cozy clothes with workout gear is definitely a challenge for teens (and adults) this time of year. But sweater weather doesn’t mean that staying inside huddled up on the couch is the only option. Keeping active, despite the cold, is essential for teens’ physical and mental health. So what can you do to encourage reluctant teens to embrace winter exercise and find the fun in all of the many festive winter activities for teens? Keep reading for tips on getting teens to keep moving during the rainy and snowy season. 

Find the Fun

The more fun teens are having, the more likely they will want to stick with their winter exercise routine, despite the weather. Many gyms, fitness studios, and community centers offer classes for that might be just the thing to get teens excited about leaving the house and enjoying an activity that gets them moving. Encourage your teen to sign up for a fitness class or join a sports league that sounds exciting. If they’re shy, they can invite a friend to join them, or take the leap to make new friends all on their own. If they are set on keeping warm, they can enjoy indoor rock climbing, a heated swimming pool, hot yoga, or even stay in for a sweaty dance party at home. 

Embrace the Cold

It might be cold outside but that usually doesn’t mean we have to stay cooped up indoors! Teens can bundle up and enjoy a brisk walk, take a winter hike, hit the ice skating or hockey rink, or take a trip to the slopes. Got snow? Building a snowman, having a snowball fight, making snow angels are all festive ways to start moving. If you live by the beach, swap the snow for sand and take a walk or build a wintery sandman masterpiece. Wherever your location, research the opportunities to stay active safely in your area this winter. For added fun, bring a hot cocoa or a steamy tea and embrace the outdoor activities that make wintertime special. 

Keep it Social

Teens are likely to be more excited about a winter exercise routine when they get to spend time with their friends or family. So, encourage your teen to invite their favorite people along to join them for their favorite physical activity. Exercising with others can be a helpful way to get more enjoyment out of exercising and keep motivated. Teens can set goals together such as trying three new activities a month or beating their personal running record. They might enjoy trying out viral fitness challenges or exploring the outdoors while hiking together. Working together is a great way to help them push themselves and keep each other accountable. 

Resist the SAD

Another way to encourage your teen to exercise and stay active during the winter is to stress the impact of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Make sure to let them know that countless teens experience the effects of not getting enough sunlight during the darker winter months, and that these effects can include depression, sleep disturbances, and lower energy levels among others. You can also explain to them the positive impact that physical exercise has in combating mental health issues. When your teen is made aware of the detrimental effects of SAD, plus solutions to prevent it, they’ll be more likely to get and stay active year round. 

Make It Easy

While the weather makes it difficult to get outside to enjoy the activities they love in warmer weather, there are still ways to make it as easy as possible for your teen to get exercise. One way is by making sure they have everything they need. Be sure to ask your teen if they have the equipment or resources they need to keep active and form a winter exercise routine they love. Gift a gym membership, some equipment, a class pass, or an exercise app subscription. Remember, convenience is key for teens. Especially when it means leaving a warm cozy bed in favor of getting moving. So, encourage them to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Yes, even their PJs! 

Above all, always remember that as a parent, your teen looks up to you and wants to follow your lead (although it might not always seem that way). So set an example for your teen by being active yourself during the winter. The more they see you making physical activity a priority in your life, the more they’ll be encouraged to prioritize it in their own. 

At Tilly’s Life Center, we believe that staying active is critical to both physical and mental health. While movement is essential, teens need more tools to live a healthy life. Our mission is to offer mental health resources for teens that help them acquire the skills they need to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Our social and emotional learning curriculum serves as a tool for teens to learn, grow, and find positive ways to cope with life’s challenges. To learn more, visit us at www.tillyslifecenter.org.