Being fit means you’re in good shape, you have
Any type of regular, physical activity can improve your fitness and your health—even walking, climbing up a flight of stairs, or mowing the lawn. The most important thing is that you keep moving!
There are a lot of benefits to being physically active. It can help
Keep you at a healthy weight. This doesn’t necessarily mean being thin. Everybody’s ideal weight is different—it depends on your
Prevent heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Research has shown that the risk factors for heart disease start during childhood. A lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors of heart disease.
Strengthen your bones. Regular exercise keeps bones healthy and can help prevent a bone disease called osteoporosis. This disease is common in older people and causes bones to break easily.
Reduce stress. We all have stress, but learning to
To be fit, you might find it helpful to work on all aspects of fitness, including the following:
Aerobic endurance—This is how well your heart, lungs, and blood vessels provide oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. When you exercise, you breathe harder and your
Body fat—How much you weigh is not the only way to tell if you are overweight. It’s actually determined by your body mass index (BMI), which includes your weight and height and gives an idea of
Muscle strength and endurance—This is the amount of work and the amount of time that your muscles are able to do a certain activity before they get tired.
Flexibility—This is how well you can move and stretch your joints, ligaments, and muscles through a full range of motion. For example, people with good flexibility can bend over and touch the floor easily. Poor flexibility may increase the risk of getting hurt during athletic and everyday activities.
Just do it! Make the commitment and stick to it. Exercise should be a regular part of your day, like brushing your teeth, eating, and sleeping. It can be in gym class, joining a sports team, or working out on your own.
Stay positive and have fun. A good mental attitude is important. Find an activity that you think is fun. You are more likely to keep with it if you choose something you like. A lot of people find it’s more fun to exercise with someone else, so see if you can find a friend or family member to be active with you.
Take it one step at a time.
Get your heart pumping. Whatever you choose, make sure it includes aerobic activity that makes you breathe harder and increases your heart rate. This is the best type of exercise because it increases your fitness level and makes your heart and lungs work better. It also
Don’t forget to warm up with some easy exercises or mild stretching before you do any physical activity. This warms your muscles up and may help protect against injury. Stretching makes your muscles and joints
Your goal should be to do some type of exercise every day. It is best to do some kind of aerobic activity without stopping for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time. Do the activity as often as possible, but don’t exercise to the point of pain.
Like all things,
Your weight falls below what is normal for your age, height, and build.
It starts to get in the way of school and your other activities.
You start to have bone, joint, or muscle
You are a girl and your periods become irregular, sporadic, or stop completely.
If you notice any of these signs, talk with your parents or pediatrician before health problems occur.
Strength training, also called “weight training” or “resistance training,” is an activity in which you use free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or even your own weight to increase muscle strength and muscle endurance. The goal is
Start with light weights and use smooth, controlled motions. Increase the number of times you lift the weight (repetitions) gradually. Avoid strength training more than 3 times per week and make sure you have
Safety measures should be taken during strength training. Most strength training injuries happen when exercises are not done correctly, when too much weight is lifted, or when there is no adult supervision.
Weight training isn’t the same as weight lifting, power lifting, and body building. Avoid these activities until your body has reached full adult development (usually after the age of 18) because these sports can result in serious injury. Ask your pediatrician when it is a good time for you to start.
In addition to exercise, making just a few other changes in your life can help keep you healthy, such as
Watch less TV or spend less time playing computer or video games. (Use this time to exercise instead!) Or exercise while watching TV (for example, sit on the floor and do sit-ups and stretches; use hand weights; or use a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber).
Eat 3 healthy meals a day, including at least 4 servings of
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any exercise (water is best but flavored sports drinks can be used if they do not contain a lot of sugar). This will help replace what you lose when you sweat.
Stop drinking or drink fewer regular soft drinks.
Eat less junk food and fast food. (They’re often full of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.)
Get 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night.
|Activity||Calories Burned During 10 Minutes of Continuous Activity|
|77-lb Person||132-lb Person|
|Cross Country Skiing||23||72|
|Biking (9.3 mph)||36||60|
|Running (5 mph)||60||90|
|Sitting (complete rest)||9||12|
|Swimming (33 yd)|
Modified from Bar-Or O.
The persons whose photographs are depicted in this publication are professional models. They have no relation to the issues discussed. Any characters they are portraying are fictional.