Keeping fit isn't just about your physical health. It also supports your mental health. Exercise can help you:
- Work through stress
- Forget about worries
- Build confidence
- Feel strong and capable
- Get better discipline and determination
These are all things that help with every part of your life, not just when you are exercising.
The effect on your health is also important. One in three children aged 12-15 are either overweight or obese (really overweight), and this means that they are at risk of developing health conditions that can make them feel bad, develop serious problems like diabetes and heart disease and even have shorter lives. This is worrying, but you can easily help yourself just by getting enough exercise, and eating healthily.
Exercise is for everyone. Even if you're not sporty, aren't interested in playing sports or hate being active there is still exercise that will suit you. Any exercise will help keep you fitness levels good, your weight healthy, and most importantly, make you feel really good.
Take action: Visit Activities Oxfordshire to find out about activities in your area, get motivational support, find courses, classes and more!
How much exercise is enough?
Health guidance for children and young people is that you should get at least an hour of exercise each day. This should be vigorous enough to make make you breathe faster, feel hot and get at least a bit out of breath. Twice a week (or more if possible) your exercise should be things that make your bones and muscles stronger and more flexible, like running, yoga, keep fit classes or other activities where you are on your feet, rather than swimming, or riding a bike.
- 1 hour of exercise a day - aim to get out of breath
- 3 days a week, do exercise to strengthen muscles and bones
If you need to sit down for a long time for your job or to study, then you should break this time up with short bits of exercise, every hour or so. It doesn't have to be anything very strenuous, even getting up and walking around helps.
Take Action: You don't have to get sporty to get fit. Did you know that walking briskly for just 10 continuous minutes counts as exercise? Download the Active 10 app and walk your way to health!
For many young people, these recommendations are not a problem because they are always running around at school or at home, kicking a football with friends, cycling or walking to or from school, swimming and doing other stuff.
But for other children being active is not as interesting, or they might have other reasons. like being embarrassed or being worried about not being good enough. None of this should stop you from being active and doing the sports you are interested in. If you are feeling anxious, this might help:
- Nobody starts out as an expert - and everyone can get better over time
- Get the right clothes or equipment - it makes a real difference
- Take advantage of help on offer, like classes, coaches or personal trainers, they can help you build your skills
- Don't be embarrassed, you have as much right to be there as anyone else
For some people starting in a small class or even at home can make all the difference. There are lots of exercises you can do at home, using videos, for free, as well as small classes and taster sessions that help you try out different things.
Why not have a go at being more active now with this Change 4 Life dance video?