We are all busy. If you don’t even like the word “exercise,” challenge yourself to make it fun and realize a little exercise goes a long way in feeling and being healthy.

Here are some tips for parents and teens in this weeks “Your Health First.”

Just one hour of any moderate exercise can be a health lifesaver.

As part of the hour per day of exercise, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and teens and adults incorporate these types of activities at least three days per week:

  • Aerobic exercise.
    This includes exercises like running, biking, swimming, dancing, aerobics class, using an elliptical trainer and walking.
  • Muscle-strengthening.
    Examples include lifting weights; using resistance bands; climbing stairs; dancing; biking; and doing pushups, squats and sit-ups.
  • Bone-strengthening.
    This could include jumping rope and running, as well as sports that involve jumping or rapid changes in direction.

Motivating teens can be a challenge, but it is possible. Here are some tips if your teen appears to be interested in sitting more and exercising less:

  • Model healthy exercise behaviors.
    You are an important role model for your teenager and your child is more likely to be physically active if you make it a family priority. Talk about how great you feel after exercise, plan active vacations, schedule evening walks as a family, or go to the gym or work out together at home.
  • Find the fun.
    Exercise doesn’t need to be boring. Work together to find exercises that your teen, or tween, finds fun and interesting. Try a new sport. Play music and have a dance party in the kitchen. Explore a nature trail or bike to a local park. Try a new exercise video online. Focusing on fun will make exercise something your teen looks forward to instead of dreads.
  • Incorporate movement into daily routines.
    Don’t forget that every bit counts. Encourage a walk with friends during lunch, use the stairs instead of the elevator or park the car at the back of the lot. These are ways that you can model healthy habits, as well.
  • Make it social.
    Exercising with others keeps people motivated and inspired, and teens are no exception. Encourage joining a team with friends or schedule a regular pickup basketball game with the neighbors.
  • Cheer them on.
    Notice and compliment your teenager on exercising. Everyone likes to hear they are doing a good job, so don’t be afraid to say the words of support and encouragement.

And, cheers to everyone who gives themselves the chance to put their health first!