Kids exercise all the time without even thinking of it. Just
being active, like when you run around outside or play kickball at
school, is a kind of exercise. What else counts as exercise?
Playing sports, dancing, doing push-ups, and even reaching down to
touch your toes.
When you exercise, you're helping build a strong body that
will be able to move around and do all the stuff you need it to do.
Try to be active every day and your body will thank you later!
Exercise Makes Your Heart Happy
You may know that your
is a muscle. It works hard, pumping blood every day of your life.
You can help this important muscle get stronger by doing aerobic
means "with air," so aerobic exercise is a kind of
activity that requires oxygen. When you breathe, you take in
oxygen, and, if you're doing aerobic exercise, you may notice
you're breathing faster than normal. Aerobic activity can get
your heart pumping, make you
, and quicken your breathing.
When you give your heart this kind of workout on a regular
basis, your heart will get even better at its main job - delivering
oxygen (in the form of oxygen-carrying blood cells) to all parts of
So you want to do some aerobic exercise right now? Try swimming,
basketball, ice or roller hockey, jogging (or walking quickly),
inline skating, soccer, cross-country skiing, biking, or rowing.
And don't forget that skipping, jumping rope, and playing
hopscotch are aerobic activities, too!
Exercise Strengthens Muscles
Another kind of exercise can help make your
stronger. Did you ever do a push-up or swing across the monkey bars
at the playground? Those are exercises that can build strength. By
using your muscles to do powerful things, you can make them
stronger. For older teens and adults, this kind of workout can make
muscles bigger, too.
Here are some exercises and activities to build strong
- inline skating
- bike riding
Exercise Makes You Flexible
Can you touch your toes easily without yelling ouch? Most kids
are pretty flexible, which means that they can bend and stretch
their bodies without much trouble. This kind of exercise often
feels really good, like when you take a big stretch in the morning
after waking up. Being flexible is having "full range of
motion," which means you can move your arms and legs freely
without feeling tightness or
It's easy to find things to do for good flexibility:
- tumbling and gymnastics
- dancing, especially ballet
- martial arts
- simple stretches, such as touching your toes or side
Exercise Keeps the Balance
Food gives your body fuel in the form of calories, which are a
kind of energy. Your body needs a certain amount of calories every
day just to function, breathe, walk around, and do all the basic
stuff. But if you're active, your body needs an extra measure
of calories or energy. If you're not very active, your body
won't need as many calories.
Whatever your calorie need is, if you eat enough to meet that
need, your body
will stay about the same. If you eat more calories than your body
needs, it may be stored as excess fat.
Exercise Makes You Feel Good
It feels good to have a strong, flexible body that can do all
the activities you enjoy - like running, jumping, and playing with
your friends. It's also fun to be good at something, like
scoring a basket, hitting a home run, or perfecting a dive.
But you may not know that exercising can actually put you in a
better mood. When you exercise, your brain releases a chemical
-funz), which may make you feel happier. It's just another
reason why exercise is cool!
Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2009
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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