Our first SOGO Active Youth program came to an end last week, and we’ve met a number of promising teenagers and found it a delight to observe their approach to fitness. The youngsters’ greatest assets are their enthusiasm, energy, and their willingness to try anything at least once!  Unlike their older counterparts participating in the same classes, we noticed a big difference in the way some of our teens took part in the classes. 

The major hurdle we’ve noticed with youths, in general, is a reluctance to surrender to the process and a lack of real-world guidance.

Each year modern pop-culture dictates a shorter-and-shorter attention span, ranging from restricted-length tweets to 2-second editing cuts in TV programs. Youths are becoming lazy and always looking for the next quick fix. Modern pop-culture also falsely suggests that everything should come to you quickly and at no cost… Kids are growing up now wanting to be a reality TV star just as much as a world-class athlete… they don’t want to put in the work to reap the rewards.

With regards to fitness, the younger generation look around for the cool, new, insane workouts. The ones that leave your muscles aching for weeks and claims to give you a six-pack overnight… the “300” workout comes to mind. They look for these ridiculous YouTube videos and copy them with little to no one-on-one guidance and without taking the time to learn the basics. The prevalence of injury in these cases is so high that it’s almost not even worth the benefit of the physical activity. 

So what’s the solution?

Keep the effort on the process, not the outcome.  Famous athletes should inspire younger generations, but what is chronically lacking in the stories of these world-class champions is their journey to the top. An inspirational performance from Usain Bolt may help spark the fire but it’s the men and women in the trenches that they see every day that must guide and mentor them through the process of reaching their full potential through hard work and dedication.  Cut out that episode of American Idol and get them out to the park to run around.

While many kids won’t grow into world-class athletes, it's up to us to give them a chance. With regular physical activity, children will also learn discipline, patience, respect and how to live a healthy, active life... all the tools they’ll need to take with them into the real world (...and I’m not talking about the TV show!). 


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