Teenagers & Exercise: Teaching My Teenage Daughters to Love Fitness & Their Strong Bodies by Dawn Taylor
Having a mom who is a personal trainer I am sure at times can be annoying. All four of my children have played sports throughout their lives, if for no other reason than to have fun and be part of a team. I never pushed them to do anything they didn't enjoy, but I did encourage them to be active. The boys are grown now and both played various sports growing up.
My two daughters are almost 16 and 15 and they, like their brothers, have always participated in sports. In the last year though, they have really taken a liking to working out. It didn't happen overnight. They used to shake their head at me when I wanted to run, or when I needed to go to the gym. On occasion they would accompany me on a trail "run" and complain the entire time. I hoped they would eventually enjoy being active for the sake of fitness, but knew that was something I could not push.
With so many negative messages to young women about their bodies, and as a survivor of an eating disorder, I have always been careful about what I say to my daughters and also to younger female clients. I never say anything negative about weight, but instead emphasize functional fitness, mental health benefits and being strong and healthy.
For the holidays I made my girls workout books with 10 different workouts they could do at home or the gym and they follow them religiously! They have learned to lift dumbbells, how to perform compound and body-weight exercises, how to get their heart rate up and why it is all important to their long-term health. They kill every workout they do!
They show me their strong muscles now, talk about how good exercise makes them feel and even badger me to run with them! Watching them appreciate the importance of a healthy lifestyle is extremely rewarding not only as a fitness professional, but as a mom. The other day my youngest said she feels so lucky to have a personal trainer for a mom, and the older one helped me teach a ZOOM workout class!
Teaching my daughters that their bodies are strong is one the greatest gifts I have given them and finally, I think they would agree.
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