Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

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veindoc
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Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by veindoc » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:38 am

Looking for suggestions on organized physical activities for a non-athletic non-competitive 11 year old. My son is overweight and has been in 98th weight percentile his entire life. I had hoped two years ago when my pediatrician told me to get on this that he would stay the same weight and just increase in height. He still continues to climb in weight. I need to increase his physical activity and need suggestions on organized activities to do so. I don’t want to get this thread blocked so please no comments on diet or other medical issues. Also please no comments on “exercising as a family.” My husband and I are not particularly athletic either and the most “sport” we do is weekly hikes through our town trails. Other than my oldest we are all normal weight and some are underweight.

Back to my son he is not naturally sporty, not naturally coordinated and hates competitions. He is also not much of a team player.

He does martial arts 2x/week and he doesn’t love it but tolerates it and as such has been able to stick with it. So that’s where we are. We have been doing this for two years.
We have tried fencing but those activities are mostly club activities and I haven’t found a program where it teaches progressive skills. So he has lost interest in the beginner classes that start off with “ this is a foil. This is how to hold the foil etc etc”
We tried ice skating and roller skating. This is very hard for him as he doesn’t have great balance so I don’t feel
like he is getting a great workout.
We went horseback riding on vacation one summer and he enjoyed that. But is that really a workout?
Is weight lifting too early for an 11 year old?
We’ve looked at swimming but he can’t make it all the way across the pool which is a requirement for a swim team. Private lessons are super hard to come by and I have been on a waitlist for a year. Group lessons are 30 mins each with 4 kids so each kid gets 5-10 mins tops.
We tried a running club but he walked most of the time but never caught the bug.
Tried golf and he was decent at it but not sure it provided the cardio workout I would like him to have. That and it was boring.

Any other suggestions?

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by arizonaslim » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:45 am

If he isn't a team player and hates competitions, well, he sounds a lot like my younger self. Ditto for the lack of coordination. That was me too.

So, what did I find to do? Same stuff I'm doing now. Bicycling, walking, and gardening. Not terribly telegenic. Zero star potential. But that's how I like my exercising.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by soccerrules » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:52 am

I am sure others will have possible options. In general I would suggest "just getting him up and moving".

Bike Riding
Nature walk-- with some terrain (use those muscles a little more and burn more calories)
Golf is good -- but walk or use pull cart.
Get him in an active group (Boy Scouts, Adventures, Nature Club)

I would also say he is still young-ish. It's those tough middle school years. The body is growing but the muscles have really not started to develop. I have seen a number of "un-athletic" kids turn into motivated athletes when they hit puberty and 14-15 years. If he decides sports are not his thing -- then being fit is still important for an active mind and to help him with whatever is his passion.

Try a few things but most of all keep him moving. If he latches on to something, than even better.
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by nisiprius » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:53 am

Just thoughts.

1) Since your concern is health, encourage him to a goal that is determined by health--not by social or fashion considerations. Show him a BMI chart and ask him what range he thinks he should be in. What I am getting at is that if you decide that the "obese" range is unhealthy, but "overweight" is not, then a reasonable goal should be to get out of the "obese" range.

2) This is just a thought, but I hate exercise except for walking. Not power walking, just, you know, walking. Maybe you could get him a really cheap pedometer, not a fitness band--one that just counts steps, uses a disposable battery, and works without a smartphone--and see if you can get him to set any goal above zero. Not 10,000 steps a day. Maybe 3,000. Something that is so easy to do that he can really do it each and every day.

3) What not-physical activities does he like to do? Maybe you can find some kind of club, afterschool, at the library, what have you, that is within walking distances that he's willing to walk to.

4) When you are driving him somewhere, when you get to the parking lot ask him for permission to park far from the entrance instead of as close as possible. He'll probably say "no," of course, but at least it was a try.

5) First step is to get him to form the habit of not being totally sedentary.
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by sjt » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:53 am

Interesting that you posted about avoiding diet as a discussion topic, but diet (proper nutrition) plays more of a role than exercise. You can exercise all the time but if you have a poor diet, it's still unhealthy.

Weekly hikes are good through town trails (is this like paved greenways?) -Do you have more rigorous hiking trails nearby you could visit on the weekend? Martial Arts can be good to build strength and develop balance. You really need to find something he likes to do - or he's going to be miserable doing it. For me, I have trouble with many types of exercise because it's so monotonous. Even with music podcasts, so I need to combine enjoyable activities with exercise. For me, that's cycling, which is also a low impact form of exercise (for someone overweight something like running is tough on joints).

Does he have an interest in mountain (off road) biking? You can begin on pavement, then transition to hardpack and keep on going to singletrack. Most areas will have some sort of trails nearby, and you should be able to find local groups on meetup or facebook - many events are kid friendly too. No need for the fanciest bike unless he really likes it, but also you don't want something unsafe for the trails, so talk with your LBS (Local Bike Shop).
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by nisiprius » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:55 am

1) Dancing?

2) I am not suggesting that amateur theatre is "good exercise," but it definitely is not zero. You have to move around quite a bit to be in the right place at the right time. And of course stagehands are in constant motion and always lifting things.

3) Marching band or drum corps?
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Goal33 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:57 am

I mean this in the kindest way, but both you and the son should start to consider some therapy. There is clearly more to this story.
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Mr.Chlorine » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:58 am

If he tolerates water activities, stick with swim lessons until he can join the swim team. Note, eventually exercise is not enough and diet will play a factor. Have you asked him what he wants to do?

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Barsoom » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:01 pm

Try bowling.

It's indoors, he has to swing a 12-15 pound ball, and they have age-appropriate leagues.

And you can also go to family nights.

-B

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:03 pm

Something that tracks his steps could be good, as suggested above. I've seen many people excited to hit their target each day, whatever that is. Some programs allow for a group tracker so you can all do it together; you can each be motivated to keep up with each other. You could offer incentives to hit certain daily, weekly, or monthly targets.

You don't want to discuss diet. However, as good as exercise is for health, it is not very good for weight loss (though some of the reasons why it not good might not apply as much to young kids). Since weight loss appears to be your primary concern at this time, you really need to focus on diet. The only way to lose weight is by consuming fewer calories than you burn.
Last edited by FoolMeOnce on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by gr7070 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:04 pm

Studies are pretty clear on weight loss - exercise has very little affect. Diet is far, far and away the most critical aspect of weight loss.

One cannot out-exercise a bad diet; just like one cannot out-earn a spender. It's way too easy to run up those credit cards once someone refinanced their house to pay them off. When a spender receives a raise they just spend more.

None of this is to discount exercise's impact on one's health. Exercise is unbelievably important; it's just not incredibly effective at reducing weight.
Also please no comments on “exercising as a family.” My husband and I are not particularly athletic either and the most “sport” we do is weekly hikes through our town trails.
Sounds to me like he is following y'all's lead. It's my experience that if I want someone to change I have to make a change, as well. If this is that important to you maybe you should reconsider the quoted passage.
Last edited by gr7070 on Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by nisiprius » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:05 pm

Barsoom wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:01 pm
Try bowling.

It's indoors, he has to swing a 12-15 pound ball, and they have age-appropriate leagues.

And you can also go to family nights.

-B
Right. Break the cycle of "I lack skill--which I verbalize inaccurately by say I 'am' non athletic.Therefore I am not good at physical activities; therefore they are no fun; therefore I do not do them; therefore I do not develop any skill."
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by greg24 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:12 pm

Your list is primarily group activities. If he doesn't like sports, having to do them with others may be even worse.

Walk lots. Walk to get places, walk to the park, walk for fun (frisbee golf, hike), walk to clear his head.

Some limited body weight exercises. Start with 20 situps and 20 pushups a day. They can be one or two at a time if that is what it takes to start a lifelong habit.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:14 pm

My nephew liked ultimate frisbee. And hiking. Also if you have snowy winters, cross country skiing is fun. Snowshoeing.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Flyer24 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:15 pm

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:21 pm

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by teen persuasion » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:21 pm

What about geocaching? Don't make it about the workout, the fun is the search for the hidden treasure, but if he's having fun hunting high and low he won't be focused on how far you walk or how many times you go back and forth trying to spot the cache. You could start with easy-ish ones to get him hooked, then as he learns try more challenging/remote ones. Each one is unique.

Another thought is sightseeing places with a built-in "workout", like visiting a lighthouse and climbing to the top of the stairs for the view. Visiting the eternal flame
https://www.google.com/search?q=eternal ... %2520Falls which requires a hike to reach it (though where you begin your hike lengthens or shortens your hike). Just examples, find interesting places near you.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by retiringwhen » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:22 pm

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:38 am

We’ve looked at swimming but he can’t make it all the way across the pool which is a requirement for a swim team. Private lessons are super hard to come by and I have been on a waitlist for a year. Group lessons are 30 mins each with 4 kids so each kid gets 5-10 mins tops.
Don't give up on swimming, my kids were not at all competitive, but they all ended up with swimming as a major part of their lives (never on teams).

Look for alternative sources of swim instruction. YMCA is often a good place. Maybe some group lessons to improve his form, then have him swim on his own once he is good enough if privates are that hard.

you can ask around for private lessons. Two of my son's eventually taught their own private lessons through word of mouth referrals from the YMCA. I would be surprised if you can't find them somewhere.

BTW, swimming is an excellent fitness regime and it can be a totally solitary activity if the swimmer is internally motivated.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by GlacierRunner » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:22 pm

I second the recommendation to get him involved in Boy Scouts or the equivalent. In addition to hiking, they have various active merit badges including improving physical fitness, swimming, and nutrition. I think cycling is a great suggestion too.

other options:
wrestling - which may be too competitive
gymnastics - my husband had great success and fun doing various club gymnastics, and the focus can be on personal improvement rather than competition.
field events - rather than focusing on running for "track" maybe he would have interest in field events such as shotput, discus, high jump, etc. Again the focus should be on personal improvement rather than competition.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:25 pm

gr7070 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:04 pm
Studies are pretty clear on weight loss - exercise has very little affect. Diet is far, far and away the most critical aspect of weight loss.

One cannot out-exercise a bad diet; just like one cannot out-earn a spender. It's way too easy to run up those credit cards once someone refinanced their house to pay them off. When a spender receives a raise they just spend more.

None of this is to discount exercise's impact on one's health. Exercise is unbelievably important; it's just not incredibly affective at reducing weight.
Also please no comments on “exercising as a family.” My husband and I are not particularly athletic either and the most “sport” we do is weekly hikes through our town trails.
Sounds to me like he is following y'all's lead. It's my experience that if I want someone to change I have to make a change, as well. If this is that important to you maybe you should reconsider the quoted passage.
This is very true. Change the food you buy for groceries. Lots more veggies and fruits. Smaller portion of proteins. A lot less fats.

I can say this as A member of WW (weight/watchers). Change your food menus and son will lose. Exercise is about 20% or less of the calories you burn. Cycling really hard for an hour will burn about 600 calories. Maybe the calories for a donut. Exercise is greatfor the body.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Cycle » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:25 pm

I'm pretty uncoordinated, but that doesn't mean I couldn't be competitive in running in track/cross country.

Walking is an effortless way to burn extra calories. Drop him off 2 miles to / from school.

You actually can out exercise a bad diet, just talk to an Ironman athlete on a garbage diet (I've been there). For most tho (99% of people), exercise alone will equal failure.

Diet is the main thing, and so all stripped carbs need to be removed from your house. A fat child is a victim of the environment they grow up in, assuming there isn't some underlying medical reason
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by 123 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:25 pm

Chores around the house and yard just to get him moving. Vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry, folding laundry, raking, watering yard/plants/flowers. cleaning up the garage, dumping trash from waste baskets. There is probably little around the home and yard that you and your spouse do that can't be turned over to his responsibility (except initially cooking which takes some training and practice).
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by veindoc » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:29 pm

Thanks for all your replies!

Nice to hear there are other non-athletes in the group.

I didn’t want to focus on diet because I didn’t want to get the thread locked. Diet was the first thing we changed. This has been a two year battle. No juice boxes, no processed snacks, no let’s hit Dunkin Donuts and grab a donut on the way home. I pack his school lunches and froze his spending account so he couldn’t grab a bag of Cheetos. He eats 5 helpings of vegetables a day-not fruit , vegetables. This summer we went out for ice cream three times and three times only. And this only because my three kids have summer birthdays. Yet he continues to gain weight.

We started the taekwondo twice a week religiously two years ago. Brothers joined it too and he continued to gain weight.

We started the family hikes weekly last year , roller skating on weekends as a family and he continues to gain weight.

I know it’s portion control (He can out-eat my husband) and lack of activity. He’s been like this since he is a kid.
He always ate more than other kids and moved less. Kids would hit the playground up and down the monkey bars and slides-my son chose the swing or sandbox.

Siblings and cousins are jumping up and down on my couches and climbing my bookshelves. My son is on the floor drawing or playing with the nonambulatory toddlers.

So my goal is to get him to move. I like the pedometer idea and goal setting. He’s not dumb. He knows he’s overweight because people keep telling him he is. Grandparents, other kids etc.

I would like something organized to keep him
(and me) accountable. Dancing is a great idea because he does like to dance. I will look into bowling as well. He is actually very strong. Is weight lifting safe for an 11 year old?

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by alfaspider » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:30 pm

I don't think 11 is too young for weight lifting. It could be confidence inspiring for a heavier kid, as people with heavier builds will likely lift more in absolute terms. He will probably see very rapid progress as he hits puberty.

However, he should absolutely NOT start weight lifting without proper coaching. It takes a lot of maturity to avoid "ego lifting" beyond one's capabilities and with poor form unless a coach is standing over you making sure you are doing it correctly. I see many adults in the gym who are jeopardizing their health with ego lifts. I'd also recommend power lifting over olympic to start, as the moves are much less complex and the risk of injury from a falling weight is lower.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Breezy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:35 pm

There are a lot of walking apps that your son might find fun and motivational. I got this idea thinking back to when Pokemon Go came out a few years ago & how people just went nuts for it. My son was maybe a freshman in HS at the time & he and his friends walked like crazy playing this game. He also enjoyed geocaching when he was younger.

Anyway, I hope it's OK to post this link to recommended walking apps. There is a Zombie, Run! one that he might find fun, a charity walking app that he might find meaningful to walk for a cause. You guys could also start walking 5Ks for good causes - you see all types out there & it's a feel-good activity for the whole family. As well, just going for a walk while listening to a book on Audible might help pass the time.

Link: https://www.androidcentral.com/interact ... ecking-out

Finally, this is dependent on a few things, but the more you can get activity designed right into his life, the better. Like, can he walk or bike to and from school? Or start a little business? When I was in junior high, my best friend and I distributed flyers offering ourselves as housecleaners, yard workers, etc., and we made some pretty good money! These days, I bet you've got some neighbors that need dogs walked. If money/business might motivate him - in any case, it would teach him some responsibility - I would even go so far as to reimburse the person hiring him (on the sly!).

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by TN_Boy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:35 pm

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:38 am
Looking for suggestions on organized physical activities for a non-athletic non-competitive 11 year old. My son is overweight and has been in 98th weight percentile his entire life. I had hoped two years ago when my pediatrician told me to get on this that he would stay the same weight and just increase in height. He still continues to climb in weight. I need to increase his physical activity and need suggestions on organized activities to do so. I don’t want to get this thread blocked so please no comments on diet or other medical issues. Also please no comments on “exercising as a family.” My husband and I are not particularly athletic either and the most “sport” we do is weekly hikes through our town trails. Other than my oldest we are all normal weight and some are underweight.

Back to my son he is not naturally sporty, not naturally coordinated and hates competitions. He is also not much of a team player.

He does martial arts 2x/week and he doesn’t love it but tolerates it and as such has been able to stick with it. So that’s where we are. We have been doing this for two years.
We have tried fencing but those activities are mostly club activities and I haven’t found a program where it teaches progressive skills. So he has lost interest in the beginner classes that start off with “ this is a foil. This is how to hold the foil etc etc”
We tried ice skating and roller skating. This is very hard for him as he doesn’t have great balance so I don’t feel
like he is getting a great workout.
We went horseback riding on vacation one summer and he enjoyed that. But is that really a workout?
Is weight lifting too early for an 11 year old?
We’ve looked at swimming but he can’t make it all the way across the pool which is a requirement for a swim team. Private lessons are super hard to come by and I have been on a waitlist for a year. Group lessons are 30 mins each with 4 kids so each kid gets 5-10 mins tops.
We tried a running club but he walked most of the time but never caught the bug.
Tried golf and he was decent at it but not sure it provided the cardio workout I would like him to have. That and it was boring.

Any other suggestions?
Like another poster said, your 11-year is a lot like I was -- not athletic, somewhat overweight. I hit a growth spurt in my early teens (11 is a bit young for that) and grew out of being overweight plus I started some informal sports, as several of my friends were on the basketball team. Though I was in my late 20s before I became good about regular exercise. So there is hope.

The obvious first point is that he needs to be on board, in some way. Otherwise pushing him to exercise will fail.

A few random thoughts:

1) Golf if you *walk* 18 carrying a bag or pushing a cart briskly is a decent workout -- you burn a lot more calories than you would think. In my area you can play golf 365 days a year, so it's a year round sport.
2) I don't personally think horseback riding is much of a workout, though I've only had a few lessons and don't ride much. But clearly the horse is doing most of the work.
3) You vetoed "exercise as a family" -- which might be tough anyway since the parents work. But if he had friends that were active?
4) You should research yourself whether weightlifting at 11 is advisable -- that could stray into medical advice. It's easy to find good information online about this. Lifting can be done (look up stuff like "functional training") in a way that also gives you a good cardio workout.

And I have to echo (and I know you asked us not to) the point that diet is critical to weight management. I'll give one simple example. If I walk 18 holes pushing a cart, I'm going to burn about 1,000 calories, and it will take me about 3 hours and 15 minutes. One slice (1) of a Hersey's Chocolate Bar cheesecake at Cheesecake factory is 1,380 calories. I can eat that in 10 minutes, no problem. I don't eat as well as I should, but when I eat something, I have a pretty good idea how much damage it will do to my waistline. I will say that when a relative of mine was in high school and on the swim team (two a day workouts I think) that boy could eat an amazing amount of food without gaining weight.

One exercise motivation for me is that I can *do things.* A few years ago we went to the Grand Canyon, and walked down about six miles, then back up (total of 12 plus miles, we didn't go all the way to the bottom). Many folks, of course, go all the way down and back (or more) in a day. But we are not 20, nor did we "train" for that. We hiked down, then back up in six hours with a few stops on the way. When we go to Disneyworld, we powerwalk all over the parks, and get in all the rides we want.

I don't know if your 11 year old would be swayed by the argument that if he is fitter, he can do more fun things. But it is true.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by sk2101 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:44 pm

My son loves mountain biking, it is a healthy, good exercise with a nice community that he will be able to do his whole life if he wants to.
The nice thing is that there is a good variety of trails, so an overweight person can start in the green trails and progress to the harder trails as they get fitter and more skilled (The trails here are marked by skill level like a ski slope green/blue/black).

Other than that, swimming is the best sport for overall physical conditioning. If he can't swim across a pool, take him to a shallow pool where he can stand or to a shorter pool. Everyone has to start from the beginning.

One of the most important things kids need to learn is to be resilient.
Last edited by sk2101 on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:45 pm

teen persuasion wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:21 pm
What about geocaching?
This is a great suggestion. Can walk or bike to find them.

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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by totallystudly » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:49 pm

Is weight lifting too early for an 11 year old?
No. I started at 12 and earned an athletic scholarship to a tier 1 University.

My husband and I are not particularly athletic either and the most “sport” we do is weekly hikes through our town trails. Other than my oldest we are all normal weight and some are underweight
.

Look, if you guys don't want to workout, why should you kid do it? You want him to do something and have an interest in something you guys clearly don't have yourselves. Where do you think he got the model for being overweight from...

You aren't just "athletic" by default. Nobody is "naturally sporty" You have to work at it. You guys aren't athletic because you don't do athletic things, not the other way around. Gotta lift and do cardio. People don't just wake up and run a 10 second hundred yard dash, they train for it. I didn't wake up one day and bench press 400 pounds, I trained for it.

<We went horseback riding on vacation one summer and he enjoyed that. But is that really a workout?>

Come on guys, you know the answer to this, that's a workout for the horse, maybe. Working out gets your heart rate up. It should be uncomfortable. It's not supposed to be fun.
Tried golf and he was decent at it but not sure it provided the cardio workout I would like him to have
.

You know it doesn't provide the cardio workout you want him to have.

What about a sport like rugby? Or CrossFit?

alfaspider
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by alfaspider » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:51 pm

TN_Boy wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:35 pm

One exercise motivation for me is that I can *do things.* A few years ago we went to the Grand Canyon, and walked down about six miles, then back up (total of 12 plus miles, we didn't go all the way to the bottom). Many folks, of course, go all the way down and back (or more) in a day. But we are not 20, nor did we "train" for that. We hiked down, then back up in six hours with a few stops on the way. When we go to Disneyworld, we powerwalk all over the parks, and get in all the rides we want.
This is by far the biggest thing for me, and I think is more important than weight in absolute terms. You can see and do so much more in the world when you are fit and strong.

My ultimate would be to be like this guy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%ADli ... et_Burgada

Crazy video here: https://trailrunnermag.com/video/watch- ... kfast.html

He's done stuff like climb Mt. Everest in under 24 hours, the Matterhorn in under 3. While I know I won't ever hold a candle to those accomplishments, the immense amount of freedom that level of athleticism provides would be incredible to have.

flyninjasquirrel
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by flyninjasquirrel » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:53 pm

Not sure if this will work for him, but I know I am more likely to participate in exercise if there is a social component to it. It doesn't necessarily have to be competitive in nature, it can be a completely positive and reinforcing experience if he is in the right group. What comes to mind in the adult world is Crossfit. Another example: if I am planning to go on a group mountain bike ride, I am more likely to ride by myself beforehand to make sure I am able to keep up with the group. Downside to this is he may be embarrassed if he feels he is more overweight and/or out of shape than the other kids and consequently become disengaged.

The other thing that makes me more likely to exercise is if there is an adrenaline component to the sport. Adrenaline = fun. Have you thought about rock climbing? It's basically a fun way to strength train. It can be exhilarating for a youngster to "make it to the top" There are climbing gyms almost everywhere these days. There is a bit of a learning curve but climbing gyms all have classes and personal instructors.

Hillview
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Hillview » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:59 pm

consider walking, american ninja warrior is big where we live (classes), rock climbing (indoor gyms abound), crossfit is fun and crossfit kids is also a big opportunity in some areas, personal trainer.

an_asker
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by an_asker » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:00 pm

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:29 pm
[...]
So my goal is to get him to move. I like the pedometer idea and goal setting. He’s not dumb. He knows he’s overweight because people keep telling him he is. [...] other kids etc.
[...]
This might just be it.

Growing up, I was the youngest kid (or two) in my class. And I was fatter than most, if not all.

With that combination, coupled with the fact that I sweated (still do) a lot and we had school uniforms, I hated playing soccer with classmates (to my parents, it might translate as me not liking team sports) - but what good is a team player if he pulls the team down? Would you think he would ever hear the end of it from buddies? Naturally, kid wouldn't like to hear about it - so "I don't want to play team sports".

I suggest, with connivance with other parents, that you see if you can put him on a team of kids younger than him (say nine year olds) where can maybe outperform or stay on par. That might help with the attitude part.

Then there is tennis (or badminton or table tennis), which I believe no one has talked about (though I didn't really read each response thoroughly). If either you or dad can make it a habit of going to the court with kiddo and just getting the ball over the net for an hour, it will give enough exercise for starters. Badminton/table tennis have another advantage - you don't need to go and reserve a court. You can play badminton in your backyard and for table tennis, you can get a table at home.

[edited to add]: Where do you guys live where private swimming lessons have a wait list of a year?
Last edited by an_asker on Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Isabelle77
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Isabelle77 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:01 pm

My teen daughter did a biking trip this past summer with her summer camp and I was worried about her being out of shape for it. She's skinny but she was not in good shape at the time.

One thing we did to encourage her was to set up a tv in front of the treadmill. Sounds kind of obvious, but she started walking after Christmas last year and was running 5 miles at good pace by the time she took the trip.

Obviously you know that diet is the most important factor though, exercise without eating well doesn't really help weight loss unless you're training at a ridiculous level.

barnaclebob
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:04 pm

You mention that he is eating healthy foods but just too much of it. Why are you cooking too much food for him?

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Mr. Rumples » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:05 pm

When I was your son's age, I was the odd person out. An overweight kid, a bit of a loner who didn't fit in a family which loved sports and a neighborhood with its own teams; heck, I still don't know how many people are on a football team and really don't care. It took a while, but I found my place, so long term, there is no way to know...the jocks I went to school with are overweight, and here I am, lifting weights. Point is not to sweat it too much. I too hated competitions.

Moving is the most important thing and having an interest. If its horses, then ride. Yes, riding is exercise, if it is done right. It requires physical strength, endurance and if it is accompanied by caring for the horse, cleaning it, feeding it, grooming it, it is even better. It could start a life long passion. Of course, its not without its dangers, but its safer than football I'd wager. Riding with proper form can be exhausting.

Weight lifting at 11 is OK if approved by a physician of course; there is some debate about this however and some gyms might not approve. The emphasis is on form, not the weight lifted, but its a great confidence booster not only about one's own body but to know one's way around a gym. It will give him a one up on the jocks.

If he is not a team player, what about canoeing? Kayaking?

22twain
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by 22twain » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:07 pm

I was never into organized team sports (except bowling for a while) or other group physical activities, with one exception (see below).

In high school, I got into jogging/running after my father also got interested in it. Our inspiration was the Kenneth Cooper book "Aerobics" of the late 1960s. I got into tracking my aerobics points, after laying out routes of fixed lengths (1, 1.5. 2 miles) through our neighborhood. I continued this into my college years, which I could do easily because I was at a small college with a track right down the hill from my dorm.

In graduate school I got into cycling, first as a way to get between home and office/class a bit quicker. Then I joined the local bicycle touring club, which organized group rides every weekend and on many weekday evenings, from 10 miles up to 50 miles and beyond. I always chose the rides that were social rather than competitive. After getting the lay of the land outside town, I did most of my weekday riding solo, but still usually did a group ride on the weekend for the social aspect. After grad school, I continued my solo rides at my new location(s) for another 15 years. Then my routine was broken by an accident (pickup truck sideswiped me) that laid me up for a couple of months, plus increasing time pressures at work, and I never got started seriously again. Since then I've gotten my exercise by walking: to work, shopping, dentist, etc. I live in a small town so I can get a lot of my daily business done this way. Now that I'm retired, I still walk most mornings even if I don't have any errands to take care of, anywhere between 2 and 5 miles.
Last edited by 22twain on Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Help save endangered words! When you write "princiPLE", make sure you don't really mean "princiPAL"!

bloom2708
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:09 pm

Our 3 kids all did/do cross country.

It is a fantastic sport. It is tough, but you really compete against yourself.

If he truly wants to lose weight, join the cross country team, eat less, eat better. There are many different body types that run.

He will lose weight and he might find out he is good at it. Someone finishes last in every race. But, the last place finisher is ahead of everyone who doesn't run.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead

sjt
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by sjt » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:11 pm

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:29 pm
I didn’t want to focus on diet because I didn’t want to get the thread locked. Diet was the first thing we changed. ...He eats 5 helpings of vegetables a day-not fruit , vegetables....Yet he continues to gain weight.

I know it’s portion control (He can out-eat my husband) and lack of activity. He’s been like this since he is a kid.
He always ate more than other kids and moved less. Kids would hit the playground up and down the monkey bars and slides-my son chose the swing or sandbox.
Keep up the good work with eating healthy - its difficult but glad to hear you're doing something about it. I would be wary of portion control - a growing pre-teen body needs nourishment. Still need to make sure he's getting enough food. Try to explore dishes that are healthy but also taste good (I just made a Mexican inspired dish with quinoa instead of rice, dried beans instead of canned beans, corn, tomatoes, spices - delicious, healthy and inexpensive).

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:29 pm
So my goal is to get him to move. I like the pedometer idea and goal setting. He’s not dumb. He knows he’s overweight because people keep telling him he is. Grandparents, other kids etc.

Is weight lifting safe for an 11 year old?
Exercise and movement are a lifestyle change. I think you need to talk with grandparents - they should not be making these types of comments to him, even if it comes as a genuine concern. Other kids, you can't control what they do. Again - find an activity he actually LIKES to do. Regarding swimming a lap - do you have access to a pool where you can family swim? Being able to swim is a pretty good life skill to have - an 11 year old should be able to do this. Any time spent in the water will help his body learn how the water reacts and feels and help to gain comfort and confidence in preparation for swim lessons / team.
"The one who covets is the poorer man, | For he would have that which he never can; | But he who doesn't have and doesn't crave | Is rich, though you may hold him but a knave." - Wife of Bath tale

Cycle
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Cycle » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:13 pm

Weight lifting is also an activity which requires no coordination and is great for us nerds to appear athletic. Life long skill, but would need coaching to start.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

bampf
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by bampf » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:14 pm

If he is at all analytical I suggest "The Hacker's Diet". https://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/

It is a good way to understand the mechanics of movement and diet with respect to looking at the body as a control system. Useful.

--Bampf

alfaspider
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by alfaspider » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:23 pm

flyninjasquirrel wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:53 pm


The other thing that makes me more likely to exercise is if there is an adrenaline component to the sport. Adrenaline = fun. Have you thought about rock climbing? It's basically a fun way to strength train. It can be exhilarating for a youngster to "make it to the top" There are climbing gyms almost everywhere these days. There is a bit of a learning curve but climbing gyms all have classes and personal instructors.
I've been climbing since around age 11, and was serious enough to compete at a national level for a while. Hate to say it, but it wouldn't be my first suggestion for an overweight kid. It's a sport that caters to a skinny/lanky body type - sort of an inverse of football catering to big burly guys. I can't think of ever seeing an overweight person who climbs past the intermediate level (5.10/11, v2-3s). Even bulky bodybuilder types are often not well suited to climbing- 6 foot 150lbs is about ideal. If he tries it and loves it, that's awesome, but I find people tend to gravitate towards sports they are good at. Part of the reason I suggested weight lifting. Big guys can lift big weight.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:25 pm

What is your son's BMI?
Height and weight?

In general it is an obese sedentary world. Some parts lf the country more so than others. He may fit right in. Depends on how overweight he is. Self worth is also often tied to a person's weight and their perception of themselves and the reflection of the perception of how others treat you or his perception of how he does or does not fit in to any paticular crowd or clique.
At 11 years old he is at the age where these feelings and fit ins are forming.
You might want to watch his interests and see if any of them could spark a change in him that would be good for weight loss. Buy him a subscription to OUTSIDE magazine. Perhaps the stories and people and features in there will kindle an interest that acts as motivation. At the core of this is motivation.

earlywynnfan
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by earlywynnfan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:37 pm

I would also like to recommend walking. When I was a teen I started walking the neighborhood after my job ended. Walked and listened to headphones. I love music and this was a great way to unwind. 30 years later walking is a daily routine for me and my wife.

It's the easiest small step to something else. I have a MiFit newest version watch, only like 30 bucks on ebay, and it's very motivating to reach my daily step goal. (I find the beauty of the step goal is it's my own; you don't have to know how many steps I walk, just me.)

Also, FWIW, in my family we focus on health, not size or weight. Focus on feeling better would be a better goal than losing weight or shaping up. I teach 5th grade, I've had several "larger" students who stayed active, I didn't worry about them. As long as they get up and do something.

jpohio
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by jpohio » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:42 pm

Investigate orienteering. Combines walking in the wood,learning to use map and compass. See if there is a local orienteering club, they have training events, and regular events about monthly during most of the year.

inbox788
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by inbox788 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:42 pm

veindoc wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:38 am
Group lessons are 30 mins each with 4 kids so each kid gets 5-10 mins tops.
...Any other suggestions?
IMO, it's quantity over quality. Group lessons is fine, and he's getting exercise building skills.

Find basketball and soccer classes and camps for him to participate in. Again, the more the better. He's got to build up his skills and athleticism to the point where he can easily join a pickup game.

Classes are great for keeping him constantly motivated and moving and even better if he has a few friends to practice and play with between classes.

Also, drink lots of water. NO soda, juice or sports drinks.

Keep a food and exercise log to track energy intake and output. Add a Fitbit or Apple watch to help measure activity accurately and honestly.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:55 pm

Is he active, but not sporty? Are you trying to get him into sports? Or are you thinking that he also needs to be active? These are different questions.

My kid has loved the camaraderie of swimming lessons. Individual time in a half hour lesson isn't much, but watching other kids, cannonballs, and getting comfortable in the water has been huge. Maybe check out the local high school for private lessons (our high school's instruction has been better than our other local options.).

We love biking as a family. The kids also do gymnastics mostly for an indoor activity once the weather turns. It's only once a week but they're getting my six-year-old to climb a rope, so something is happening. Maybe a ninja warrior gym?

Tribonian
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by Tribonian » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:56 pm

Do you have a dog or other pet he could take on walks?

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Physical activity suggestions for a non athletic youth

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:57 pm

Ah, missed the activity thing. Sounds like you have diet on point, but also keep in mind it's really common for kids his age to get wide before they get tall. Diet should be healthy, but he may very well grow into his weight.

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