Exercise? Why Not! by Mark Iglesias, Stoughton, MARegular exercise and physical activity are very important and beneficial for long-term health and well-being. Exercise can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, improve psychological well-being and enhance academic and athletic performance.Most high-school students do not think that they have the time. With homework, sports and other activities, it is often difficult to set aside an hour or two to engage in some sort of physical activity. For a week, try to find points in your schedule that you could set aside for exercise. Make a chart of times and places you can go to get in shape. Call a friend to see if he/she is interested in joining you. There are many ways to find time.The first priority for these activities is warming up. You might start with light stretching or jogging in place. Remember, if you're just starting, you want to go easy on your muscles. For basic training, you could go for a nice walk or jog around the block. When you've become serious with your workout, you can lengthen your route. A bike ride in the woods is not a bad idea either. The tranquil environment makes for more intense exercise. If there is an indoor pool, you could try doing some laps. If your little sister has a jump rope lying around, pick it up to see if you're as good as she is. There are many ways to become physically active! These are just helpful hints to get you started.You're not weight-lifting in the Olympics or playing wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, so know your limits and do not over-exert yourself. Do not strain your body because you may put yourself at risk of serious injury. Exercise is extremely important; its benefits cannot be stressed enough. So, next time you feel like sitting on the couch with some potato chips and a soda, forget it! Dig out those dirty old running shoes and "Take a hike!" t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.