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Facts about Physical Activity

Physical activity isn’t just important because it helps you keep at a healthy weight. It keeps your heart pumping, makes your bones and muscles stronger, and helps you feel better about yourself. It can be social or solitary. Healthy bodies come in a range of shapes, sizes, and weights but they all have one thing in common having a physically fit body means you can do the activities you want just as often as you want to.

There’s another big bonus to keeping fit. Regular physical activity protects you in the long run against many diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancer are all linked to lack of exercise.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for youth recommends that you increase your physical activity to 90 minutes a day and do three different kinds of activity a week. These include

  • Strength activities like lifting and pushing, to build your muscles.
  • Endurance activities, like running, kayaking, or rollerblading, to keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy.
  • Flexibility activities, like stretches and twists, to keep your joints moving.
  • Even if 90 minutes seems like a lot, you can start with 30 minutes and still get plenty of health benefits.

Hi5 Ways to Be Active

  • Multitask. It’s what teens are known for. Try it next time you’re watching TV. Instead of just sitting on the couch, put a yoga mat on the floor and do some stretches to increase your flexibility. Or lift some hand weights to build your muscles.
  • For girls, physical activity declines dramatically during the teen years. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport has a program called On the Move, which has as its objective “to increase the participation of girls and women in all aspects of Canadian sport and physical activity.”
  • How much is enough? If you can talk while exercising, you’re doing great. If you can sing, you’re not working hard enough.
  • Choose some place you normally drive or take the bus to reach and decide instead to walk, skateboard, or ride your bike there once this week. Then next week, up that to two times. Pretty soon, it will feel like the normal thing to do.
  • Try something new. Healthy Families BC has some good suggestions for trying new activities that can help you maximize health and get moving.