It's easy to increase your activity level every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, do jumping jacks or crunches during TV commercials and get out and play with the family pets!
Snacks are a great way to refuel after a workout. Choose snacks from different food groups — a glass of low-fat milk and graham crackers, an apple, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins or some dry cereal.
Aerobic workouts — when you’re breathing hard and sweating — strengthen your heart, give you more energy and help you look and feel your best.
Fit is smart. Fit is fun. Physical activity offers many benefits to health-conscious teens. You should keep that in mind and keep moving. Some of the benefits of exercise include cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, weight control, coordination and increased self-esteem. It is also an exhilarating, refreshing way to spend your time (better than being a couch potato!).
And another big plus. Moderate physical activity combined with good nutrition can reduce the risk of developing (or dying from) heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and high blood pressure. Right now, exercise your mouse and scroll down for some fun fit facts and ideas for exercise.
The public health recommendation for teen physical activity is 60 minutes every day. Your list should include aerobic or cardiorespiratory activity, stretching and activities that build muscular strength and endurance.
Use this grid of exercises and add some of your own that you enjoy!
|Cardiorespirtatory Endurance||Swimming, running, brisk
walking and bicycling
|Muscular Strength and Endurance||Sit ups, pushups, pull ups and
|Flexibility||Any type of stretching|
As you can see, physical activity has a lot of benefits. It's a good habit to get in to, as it will help you now and down the road. To get a handle on where you are with physical activity, download and print out Health Trek's FITT Activity Record. Then write down the activities you usually do in a week, during and after school and on the weekend.
Review your filled-out FITT Activity Record and check to see if you are getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. What are your favorite activities? What activities could you add? What is standing in the way of getting in your 60 minutes a day and what might you do to overcome these obstacles? Remember, excuses are easy to make, but working hard pays off in the long run.
Fitness is fun if you make it so. It's not really hard to get that 60 minutes in a day. Even small improvements can make a big difference in health and appearance, both now and down the road.
Think about three physical activities that you can do for the rest of your life. How about bicycling, tennis, walking, swimming, hiking or kayaking? What is it you like to do a lot and can see doing in, say, 5, 10, or even 20 years? Tackle football may not be too realistic in 20 years, but you never know! Start with just 60 minutes a day and you will find out!
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