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March 26, 2010

Exercise for Sports-Haters

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

Teen Ink loves sports. It's great to hear from teenagers all over the world who share their stories of athletic triumph (and sometimes defeat) on our website and in our print magazine. We love getting these articles--in part because, frankly, they're not one of our most popular submission genres.

I used to scratch my head a lot and wonder why that is. But it occurred to me recently that I always kind of hated competitive sports growing up. I wouldn't be caught dead trying out for a team, let alone writing about that experience, much as I loved and supported (and envied) my more athletic friends.

See, I'm guessing that quite a few Teen Ink readers feel the same way about sports that I did for so long. If the idea of any activity involving a ball, sneakers, or competition makes you sprint like a track champion in the opposite direction, don't lose hope. There are plenty of ways to get great exercise that don't involve your school mascot.

Our first contender, yoga, taught me to love exercising. If you hate competitive sports like I do, yoga might be just your ticket. You're always going at your own pace, listening to your body, and blissfully ignoring all the people who might be more skilled or advanced than you are. Besides, yoga is about bringing health to both your body and your mind, something all you smart Teen Inkers will definitely love. Check out these features on yoga from our magazine archive: Yoga and Me by Tyler C. and Yoga by Elizabeth S.

If you're looking for something more aerobic, but still in a class setting, you should try martial arts or dance. While these are two very different forms of exercise, they have several important factors in common: discipline, self-motivation, and artistry to name a few (not to mention those really high kicks)! Learn more by reading these articles: Martial Arts Misconceptions and Tutus and Twirling.

There are lots of great non-competitive ways to get healthy, de-stress and blow off excess energy. Swimming isn't just for school teams--you can swim laps at the pool in your local rec center and race against no one but yourself. Running is also a wonderful way to exercise that many people find fun, challenging and even meditative. There's also rollerblading, skateboarding, biking, hiking, Pilates, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding--you get the idea.

By the way, you can write about any of these activities for Teen Ink's Sports section. Like I said, we don't get nearly enough sports submissions! So get out there, get active, and then get back to us. We'd love to hear from you.

PS: Betsy has returned to the Teen Ink Twitter feed, so check it out and follow her for daily writing tips, contests, and other fun stuff!

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