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Excercise and Fitness
by JoAnn
  Age 16

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"Laughing is good exercise."
Francesca, 16

Fitting Exercise into Your Schedule
spacerScarcely does anyone have time for a 30-minute workout each day. With homework, studying, after-school jobs, and just wanting to hang out with your friends, teens tend to find it just as difficult to fit exercise into the schedule. However, scientists at the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Sessions report that it may be just as good to divide the exercise time into several shorter-duration episodes a week of at least 10 minutes or longer. The following is a list of a few ways to make physical activity part of your daily life:

  Photo of JoAnn
      JoAnn, Age 16
  • Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it.
  • Work in the garden or mow the grass. ( Using a riding mower doesn't count!!!)
  • Walk the dog.
  • Spend a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bicycle while watching your favorite television show.
  • Don't spend 5 minutes looking for the closest parking space you can possibly find at the shopping mall. Instead, park farther away and walk the extra distance.
  • Make a date with a friend to enjoy your favorite physical activities. Do them regularly.
  • Play your favorite music while exercising, something that motivates you.
"I go swimming on the weekends and I get on the treadmill and bike about 3 times a week. I also play intramural volleyball at school. I do it when I have free time after school, then I go home and do my homework."
spacerMelissa, 17

Fitness Facts

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number 1 killer in America. About 954,000 Americans died last year of CVD, accounting for over 42 percent of all deaths. Regular exercise ( about 3 or 4 times a week) reduces the risk of death from all causes, including CVD and cancer, by about 70 percent.

  • Less active, less fit persons have a 30-50 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

  • A fitness testing program sponsored by the Chrysler Fund Amateur Union, which tracks fitness among 9.7 million youth between the ages of 6 and 17, shows that children are getting slower in endurance running, and are getting weaker.

  • 14.2 million girls and 12.8 million boys age 19 and under have serum cholesterol levels of 170 mg./dl or higher. High serum cholesterol is most prevalent among African-American girls of all ages.

"I don't exercise. When I'm stressed, I'll take my dogs out for a walk. When I do exercise, I feel a lot better. If I had a pool in my backyard, I'd go swimming everyday. Homework, transportation, and other activities tend to get in the way, but I do yoga twice a week."
spacerFrancesca, 16
  Some Benefits of Daily Physical Activity
  • Keeps weight under control
  • Boosts energy level
  • Helps manage stress
  • Releases tension
  • Improves the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • Provides a way to share an activity with friends and family
  • Counters anxiety and depression while it increases enthusiasm and optimism
  • Helps improve self image

Exercise Safety Precautions

  • Wait at least an hour after eating to exercise.
  • Don't exercise in excessive heat, cold, and windy weather.
  • Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows sweat to evaporate when exercising.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.

The following symptoms indicate the activity is too vigorous and that you really need to SLOW DOWN:

  • Excessive sweating. That is, if you are sweating more than normal, and/or you continue to sweat even after you stop exercising.
  • Nausea or vomiting after exercise
  • Prolonged and excessive fatigue
  • Pain in joints, shins, heels, or calf muscles
  • Extreme shortness of breath that lasts 5-10 minutes after exercising

"People don't really exercise where I live. I like to dance to music on the radio and sometimes I do sit-ups and jumping jacks at home. I only walk when I have to."
spacerNatasha, 16
Cardiovascular Training
Strength Training
Stretch and Flexibility Training
Suggestions and Tips