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November 14, 2008

Be a Gym Class Hero

This Extra Ink was written by our intern, Betsy C.

Without a doubt, I hated gym class all through middle school and high school. I had a lot of friends who were athletic, and I just never felt like I could keep up with them. Plus, there's really nothing fun about being graded no your physical ability (well, maybe it's fun if it comes naturally, but I certainly wouldn't know anything about that!) Trying desperately to climb to the top of the dreaded gym-class rope in middle school, I would never have guessed that I'd voluntarily sign up for sports and exercise classes once I got to college. I've found sports that work for me now, but I really wish I'd gotten a little more understanding and encouragement when I was dreading gym class with deathly horror a couple of years ago.

If you feel the same, or even if you already like sports and gym and you're looking for ways to improve your game, we've found some great websites that can give you the information and encouragement you need to excel in (or at least not passionately hate) gym.

Ihategymclass.com is a great new site for girls who have to summon their courage to walk into gym class every day. The site host, Heather, offers practical, non-condescending advice on anything and everything sports-related. Just reading the pep talks and Q&As at I Hate Gym Class will empower girls to pursue success in sports, even if that's the last thing they're interested in now. There's also a contest going on right now to redesign the site logo, so if you're at all art- or tech-savvy, give it a try!

A great option for both guys and girls is teengrowth.com, a teen fitness and health website that offers a huge amount of information on everything from sports and bodybuilding to nutrition and emotional health. The Sports section in particular offers helpful information for anyone. A teen who's just beginning to explore fitness and doesn't know where to start and a varsity athlete would find this site equally helpful.

Gym class is something a lot of teens feel like they just have to get through--I know that's how I always felt. But with the help of these sites, you can empower yourself to finally enjoy it (I know that sounds crazy!). After all, as Heather says at ihategymclass.com, "wouldn't it feel just a little bit better going to a class you "don't mind" than one you absolutely hate?"

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