If you don't exercise regularly, you're not alone. Nearly half of the pre-teens and teenagers in the United States are not active on a regular basis. Do you do less activity now than you did when you were younger? Then you're like most people your age. Seniors in high school do much less exercise than students in middle school.
But, if you understood the benefits of exercise, you might make a different choice:
- Americans can improve their health and quality of life by increasing the physical activity they do
- People of all ages, both male and female, benefit from regular physical activity
- A moderate amount of activity (30 minutes) on most days of the week is beneficial
- The amount and regularity of exercise is more important than how hard the exercise is
- Doing activity in shorter sessions during the day (10 minutes at a time) can give you about the same benefits as doing 30 minutes all at once
- Doing more activity than a moderate amount will give even more benefits
Physical Activity Pyramid
The physical activity pyramid is a good way to think about how much and the type of activity you should do to stay healthy.
- The type of activity at the bottom of the pyramid should be done the most often
- The type of activity (or non-activity!) at the top of the pyramid should be done the least often
Level 1: Lifestyle Physical Activity
- This type of activity can be done throughout the day without scheduling a special time for exercise and should be done on most days of the week
- These activities are not vigorous; you should be able to keep them up without getting breathless
- Look for ways to increase activity and add up the time to make 30 minutes or more-take the stairs, park at the back of the parking lot, get up to deliver a message instead of sending email
- You will be surprised at how many ways you can increase your activity while you're doing things you need to do anyway-but you'll have to look for these opportunities because our environment makes it easy for us to be lazy if we want to!
Level 2: Active Aerobics, Sports and Recreation
- These are activities that you need to schedule into your day
- Aerobic activities make you work harder to build endurance and strength
- Because these activities are harder, you don't need to do them as long or as often:
- 20 minutes of these activities equals 30 minutes of lifestyle activities
- These can be done fewer days of the week-3 to 6 instead of 6 to 7
Level 3: Flexibility and Muscle Fitness
- These activities should supplement the lower 2 levels
- You should stretch the muscles that you use for lifestyle or aerobic activity to keep them flexible
- Stretch after you exercise and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds (Don't bounce!)
- You should use weights (go easy!) or do calisthenics to make your muscles stronger about 2-3 days per week
- It is important to let your muscles rest and recover after using weights-leave a day in between your "strength days"
Level 4: Inactivity
- Try to decrease the amount of time you are inactive during the day (watching TV, sitting at the computer, playing video games)
- For every hour you spend doing something inactive, spend the equal amount of time doing something active
Although regular exercise can be difficult, it is worth it. Do it for yourself.
Block #1 Activity
At your next clinic visit, the physical therapist will discuss your current physical activity level with you. Please complete the Physical Activity Questionnaire prior to this visit. When you have completed the questionnaire, place it in your Riley Hospital for Children Stay Active in Life (SAIL) at Indiana University Health binder.
This scale was developed by Dr. Bess Marcus: Brown University Medical School and The Miriam Hospital Division of Behavioral Medicine