Health

Get Girls Active, Part 5: Stick With It! Reinforcing Participation and Interest

Once you have a girl involved with physical activity, it's important to maintain and develop her interests. As most of us know, pre-teens and teens can get easily bored and need some variation and incentive to stay engaged. Plus, it's important that girls develop a lifelong love of being active. Women who are active in sports and recreational activities as girls feel greater confidence in their physical and social selves than those who were sedentary as kids.

Maintaining the momentum and providing motivation to stick with it:

1. Track progress. Ask her to keep a journal, write down what she’s doing and how she feels to track her progress. If you’re working out together, you should keep one too!

2. Help her create a plan. Keep a fitness calendar for each day, week and month to remind her of her commitment to being active. Keeping it consistent helps, especially in the beginning.

3. Don’t overdo it or the girl could get completely burnt out. You want to make sure that you are pacing her and spreading out the physical activity over the week.

4. Surprise her. Sneak notes into her lunch or her clothes with words of inspiration or praise. Organize a trip to a WNBA game for her and her friends on a school night.

5. Write down goals. What does she want to be able to do? Get her to articulate and write down the sports she wants to tackle and how many push-ups she wants to be able to do. She'll be amazed when she looks back at these goals three months, six months and a year from now and sees how far she's come.

6. Help her schedule the time to be active. Turn off the television and the computer. Or be active during commercials—stretch, dance, lift some light weights. Make sure that she's not overbooked or activities can start to feel like chores, rather than a fun and rewarding.

7. Praise and reward. It is very important to recognize any efforts. A smile, a nod of the head, and kind words are the reinforcement for her to continue. Rewards are great incentives as long as they are fun and reasonable.

Get Girls Active, Part 4: Buddy Up! The Importance of Teamwork
Get Girls Active, Part 3: Keep It Fun!
Get Girls Active, Part 2: Changing Attitudes About Physical Activity
Get Girls Active, Part 1: What Does it Mean to be Physically Active?

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