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Mums reveal how they get their kids to exercise

9Honey logo 9Honey 17/02/2018 Kelly Baker
Portrait of a happy mother with her baby son exercising at home © Shutterstock Portrait of a happy mother with her baby son exercising at home

A new report from VicHealth has shown teenagers are struggling to do even an hour of physical activity a day and are almost five times more likely to be on their smart phone or tablet than being active.

The report highlights 92 per cent of teenagers aren’t meeting the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines of an hour of physical activity every day. In contrast the average teenager spends more than three hours a day on screens.

In response, the health promotion body has announced up to $6 million in new funding during a period of three years to get teens moving as part of its Growing Participation in Sport program.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said teenagers often dropped out of sport because it stops being fun and starts being competitive.

"Health experts are warning that our kids could be the first generation with lower life-expectancy than their parents. Low levels of physical activity are a key driver of this change," said Ms Rechter.

"Playing sport is a really fun and social way for our kids to keep active, but we know that sport participation halves when they hit their teenage years.

"Many teenagers have told us that they stopped playing sport because it stopped being fun. Other reasons include too much focus on the competition and skill level and teenagers having to juggle other commitments like their academic performance, part-time work and social lives.

"The way sport is traditionally offered isn’t what many teenagers are wanting. We want to work together with sporting organisations to get more teenagers across the state active and healthy through sport."

Ms Rechter said the program would address findings in the report to provide sport programs for teens that are fun, social and less competitive.

"Being a teenager can be really stressful, particularly having to juggle increasing pressures at school with part-time jobs and being social. Sport can be a great stress reliever, but only if it’s offered in a way that allows kids to enjoy it," she said.

We want to see sport programs that are low-cost, social and less focused on winning and being the best and more focused on having fun and building skills, she added.

We asked real mums how they get their kids off the screens and out into the world. This is what they had to say ...

Jo recommends a four-legged friend

"Getting a pet works wonders. They have to walk it and care for it. Play with it. That how I did it."

Sharyn is all about putting her foot down

"I physically remove said items from their hands and force them to engage. Resistance at first but they begin to start using their imaginations and start having fun . You do have to be more present as a parent when not employing the electronic babysitter, which is really hard sometimes, but I believe worth it."

Lee suggests a little water

"Bought a house with a pool - not a helpful or easy/possible option I know but our two are constantly outside now, in and out of pool and playing together and with friends - even anti-social teen boy. Best thing we ever did."

Deana recommends the arts

"Introduce them to music."

While Jo is a fan of tough love

"Ban them Monday to Friday and allow limited access on weekend."

Pictures: Sick of Doing Crunches? 12 At-Home Exercises to Target Your Abs

HARD CORE: Strengthening your core is about more than losing weight or getting defined muscles. A strong core can improve the way the rest of the body works and help balance and stability. Working out the abdominal muscles is an essential component of increasing core strength. (It's important to work out the back and hips, as well, to prevent injuries.) These 12 simple ab exercises go beyond crunches or sit-ups and include a few variations to increase or decrease difficulty. They can all be done from the comfort of home -- no expensive equipment or gym membership necessary.Related:15 Ways to Stop Being So Sedentary at the Office Sick of Doing Crunches? 12 At-Home Exercises to Target Your Abs

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