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H E A L T H:
Exercise

Are You Out of Shape?

Recent studies say that today's teens are less fit than ever before. Exercise is important for everyone. Here are 10 (count 'em) good (and scientifically proven) reasons to exercise regularly.

Exercising:

  1. Gets you in a better mood
  2. Makes you feel better about yourself
  3. Gives you more energy (even when you're not exercising!)
  4. Makes your heart stronger
  5. Lowers your blood pressure
  6. Firms and tones your body
  7. Makes your muscles strong and flexible
  8. Reduces your appetite
  9. Gets rid of body fat
  10. Burns calories more quickly

Teens need regular "aerobic" exercise at least three times a week. That's vigorous, whole body exercise (not just your little finger) kept up for at least 30 minutes. With aerobic exercise:

  • The heart becomes stronger and more efficient
  • Lung function improves
  • Bones become stronger

Aerobic exercise not only burns calories, but also helps your body to keep essential protein and minerals like calcium. It aids digestion and helps give you more energy and endurance.

Exercise can help alleviate depression. Regular exercisers produce greater than normal amounts of beta-endorphin, a hormone that increased pain tolerance, reduces the appetite, controls stress and, in general, improves one's moods.

What are the best kinds of aerobic exercise?

Ones that you enjoy that you are likely to do 3-4 times a week.

Any of these are great:

Brisk walking, hiking, jogging/running, cross-country skiing, bicycling - regular or stationary bike, lap swimming, racquetball, handball, squash, jumping rope, dancing (including aerobic dance), ice skating, or roller skating.

How to Get Going...

Finding it hard to motivate yourself? Try exercising in a group. Or with a couple of friends. Join a club or class at the local Y. Take up a sport at school.
 

How to Keep Going...

Here are some tips to keep you going:

  • Start slow. If your body isn't used to this... be gentle.
     
  • Set realistic goals. You don't need to make the '98 Olympic team.
     
  • Don't torture yourself. If the routine you've chosen is too hard, you'll end up quitting.
     
  • Try different kinds of exercise - Alternate between a few things you like to do, so you don't get bored or burnt out.

Exercise plays a part in keeping your body clocks ticking in sync with your own personal rhythms - regular aerobic exercise helps you sleep better and wake up refreshed. It also gets you out in the world where you can see new things and meet new people!

 

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