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.
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.
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.