Exercise

Looking for a way to improve your health and feel better? Why not try exercise!

Being physically active is an important part of being healthy. In addition to increased energy and self-confidence, being physically active has lots of great benefits.

If you’re just starting to exercise regularly, you may find it hard to stay motivated. This is normal! Try and make your exercise routine interesting by trying new activities or alternating between activities you know you like.

If you have questions about getting active, try talking to your doctor or someone you know who’s already physically active – they’ll have lots of great tips and tricks on how to develop a routine that’s safe and fun for you.

Benefits of physical activity

People who aren’t physically active can have a variety of different health problems including heart disease and depression. Staying active, on the other hand, can have lots of great benefits for your mental and physical health. For example, regular exercise can result in:

  • A stronger heart
  • Better physical health
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood (exercise is often recommended to treat mild depression)
  • Increased self-confidence
  • A stronger, leaner and more toned body

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Regular exercise is also a great way to have fun and socialize with your friends!

Although there are lots of benefits to a consistent exercise regime, an addiction to exercise and weight loss could be an indication of other underlying issues such as low self-esteem, poor body image or avoidance of other challenges in your life.

If you are concerned about your approach to exercise and/or weight loss, try talking to someone you trust or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

Getting started

It’s not necessary to belong to a gym, be engaged in a competitive sport or follow a demanding exercise schedule to be physically fit. You can easily incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

  • It takes one hour a day of physical activity to maintain a healthy life style. This hour can be broken down to intervals of physical activity throughout the day.
  • Divide your physical activity into three groups: Endurance, Flexibility, and Strength
  • Try to reduce your periods of inactivity (e.g. use the stairs instead of the elevator, stretch)

If you have any doubts about your physical fitness, check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program. If you need help finding the right exercise program for you, try contacting some of the following places in your community:

  • YMCA/YWCA
  • Community drop-in centers
  • School
  • University athletics center
  • Neighbourhood sports teams
  • Local gym
  • Dance studios
  • Exercise videos

Tip: For the best workout, try to combine cardiovascular activities (eg. aerobics, jogging, swimming) with strength training activities (weight machines, free weights)

Cardiovascular activities get your heart pumping, burn calories and fat and aid in weight loss. Strength training requires that you put resistance on your muscles. It builds muscles, burns fat and calories and produces a stronger and more toned body.

Staying motivated

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to work out if your exercise routine is boring and repetitive. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or dull in order for you to benefit from it. Any activity that gets your body moving will do. Here are some ideas:

  • Aerobic classes
  • Weight machines
  • Jogging
  • Dance classes
  • Yoga
  • Team sports
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Bike riding
  • Roller blading
  • Dancing in your room to your favourite CD
  • Throwing a Frisbee
  • Jumping rope

Last Reviewed September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team


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