Move and Improve

Why fitness matters: Health and fitness tips just for girls

Posted April 01, 2011, at 2:18 p.m.
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What is physical fitness? A condition or state of being that helps you look, feel and do your best. It is the ability to do tasks full of energy, and still be able to do other things with your time, such as schoolwork and activities with family and friends. It is a basis for good health and well-being. Fitness involves performance of the heart and lungs, and the muscles of the body. Fitness can also influence how alert you are and how you feel emotionally.

Exercise is an important part of a lifetime of good health! Exercising is also fun and is something you can do with friends. Regular exercise provides both mental and physical health benefits.

Mental health benefits of exercise

One of the great things about exercise is that it can improve your mental health. Regular exercise can help you feel less stressed, can improve your self-esteem, and can help you to feel ready to learn in school. Kids who exercise may also have reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Exercise can also improve your overall mood. Did you have an argument with a friend? Or did you do poorly on a test? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk will make your brain produce chemicals that will make you happier and more relaxed than before you started working out.

What if you’re having trouble sleeping? Again, it’s exercise to the rescue! Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and help you sleep deeper. A good night’s sleep can improve your concentration and productivity in school the next day.

Physical health benefits of exercise

Another great thing about exercise is that it can keep your body healthy. Kids who exercise often have a healthier body weight than kids who don’t exercise. Exercise makes your bones solid, improves your heart and lungs, and makes your muscles strong.

Exercise can also affect specific diseases that affect adolescents and teens. New research shows that teens who exercise regularly (about 60 minutes of brisk exercise each day) burn more calories and use blood sugar more efficiently than teens who don’t exercise. This could protect you from developing type 2 diabetes. Why should this concern you? Well, in recent years, a lot of health problems that doctors saw only in adults are now seen in young people. For example, 15 years ago type 2 diabetes was rare among adolescents, but now it accounts for almost 50 percent of new cases of diabetes in young people. In fact, type 2 diabetes used to be called ‘adult-onset diabetes,’ but the name was changed because so many young people were developing the disease.

Here is something else to consider: children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely to become adults who are overweight. If you start good habits (like daily exercise) when you are young, you will be likely to continue them when you’re older.

New research shows that exercise during the teen years (beginning at age 12) can help protect girls from breast cancer when they are older. Also, regular physical activity can help prevent colon cancer later in your life.

Get moving!

The more time you spend in front of the television or playing video games, the less time you have to be active. Not being active is called sedentary (say: sed-un-tair-ee). Leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain and even obesity (dangerously high weight), which can lead to type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. These three health issues can hurt your heart and make it easier for you to get certain diseases. Make physical activity a regular part of your life. It can help you protect your health! Obesity can also hurt your self-esteem, too.

 

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