Fitness Articles

A Teen's Guide to Fitness & Exercise

What You Need to Know about Cardio, Strength Training and More

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Many people think of exercise as a chore—something they have to do to reach a goal, like lose weight, tone up, or be a better athlete. But fitness is more than just a means to an end. It's a healthy behavior that should be a permanent part of every person's life, simple because it offers so many benefits. SparkTeens cares about you and your fitness level, so we developed this guide to help you understand what really counts when it comes to exercise.

We recommend that you take your time reading this guide. You can start by clicking on topics that appeal to you, or by reading the guide in order.

The Benefits of Exercise
Who should exercise?
The 3 Keys to Fitness for Teens
  • #1 Cardio Exercise
  • #2 Strength Exercise
  • #3 Flexibility Exercise
    Creating Your Own Workout Plan

    The Benefits of Exercise
    You can expect some major benefits by exercising. Check out what a consistent fitness program can do for you:

    How Exercise Benefits Your Body
    • Boosts metabolism
    • Helps you reach and maintain a healthy weight
    • Keeps you strong
    • Improves athletic performance
    • Reduces injury risk
    • Builds stronger bones
    • Improves your appearance
    • Enhances your immune system
    • Prevents and manages many health conditions
    • Strengthens your heart and lungs
    How Exercise Benefits Your Mind
    • Improves your self-esteem
    • Helps relieve depression
    • Regulates your sleeping patterns
    • Gives you more energy
    • Better concentration
    • Boosts confidence
    • Enhances your memory
    • Improves your body image
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    Who should exercise?
    Everyone! When you think of exercise, you probably imagine one of two things: 1) an athlete training for a sport, or 2) someone exercising to look better. While exercise does help people reach these types of goals, you should exercise even if you don't have these results in mind. It doesn't matter whether you play sports, what you weigh, or if you already feel healthy. Every teen can benefit from a regular fitness program—and you don't have to train for a marathon or give up your social life to achieve these benefits. All it takes is the right balance of three types of exercise.

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    The 3 Keys to Fitness for Teens
    There's more to physical fitness than just running or just lifting weights. Your body needs cardio (aerobic) exercise, strength exercise and flexibility exercise. Here's what you need to know.

    1. Cardio Exercise
    • What is it? Also called "aerobic" exercise, cardio uses large muscles in a repetitive way for several minutes straight. Some examples of cardio include walking, jogging, running, dancing, skiing, rollerblading, bicycling, swimming, and aerobics classes. Some exercise machines, like the treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, and rower also give you a cardio workout.
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