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Editorials and Profiles

The Importance of Exercise

Exercise. What a controversial topic for many, especially adolescents. Some teens love it, while others despise it. Believe it or not, teenagers would have a way more emotionally stable and positive life if they exercised once a day. In other words, a little physical activity can have a long-term positive effect on not only your body but your mental health as well.

When I say exercise, I don’t necessarily mean a three-hour Crossfit weight training session because let’s be honest, that’s not the most realistic thing for most. I think it’s safe to say that a majority of adolescents don’t exercise primarily because they feel it is too difficult or many claim they don’t have enough time. However, there is always the option of simply walking or jogging around the block, doing yoga, or playing a sport. Yes, even walking is considered a form of exercise.

Besides the obvious benefit of getting in shape, exercise improves blood cholesterol levels, protects and manages high blood pressure, boosts energy levels, aids sleep, fights stress, anxiety, and depression, and so many more essential benefits. As you can imagine, exercising being able to aid stress, anxiety, and depression is a life-saver to several struggling teens in the world. Mental health is arguably one of the most severe problems students deal with day-to-day, and exercising just 30-60 minutes a day may increase your serotonin, and cure whatever internal battle you’re fighting. According to James S. Gordon, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression, “Physical exercise has direct effects on the biology and psychology of depression. Exercising, we discover that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness begin to fade.” Taylor Jones, sophomore student athlete, states, “Whenever I exercise I always dread starting the workout. But as I get into it, my head starts to clear all the negativity and stress I had accumulated throughout the day. My mind gears away from stress and focuses on the workout, and how many reps I am doing. Exercise makes you feel free, as you’re fully in control so you can take as much time as you want to relax and reach your goals.”

Exercising is a significant habit that is vital to keep when moving into adulthood, so establishing an exercise habit as an adolescent is ideal. Once you get used to exercising daily, that habit will come into great use later on to avoid major health issues. Not to mention, exercising essentially “forces” you to manage your time to dedicate a certain amount of time to working out, and that is yet another crucial life-long skill. 

So, are you interested in exercising from home? To start, create a routine. Before or after school, dedicate around 15 minutes to start with to work out in any way you would like. Google a 15 minute home exercise video and do it! There are so many forms of exercise that fit all of our unique bodies and needs. Challenge yourself. Don’t stick with the same workout video, and instead try jogging around your neighborhood. Now, this information may seem a little overwhelming, so while establishing an exercise routine, stay mindful to give your body a break now and then. Unless you’re training for a bodybuilding competition, there is no need to exercise every single day without a break. After all, we are busy students and a break is always necessary, but don’t extend your rest for too long.

Exercising is meant to be a fun and enjoyable activity to help keep not only your body but your mind fit as well. Imagine how many mentally stable teenagers this world would have if we all dedicated 30-60 minutes each day to walking around the block, jogging, doing yoga, exercising at home, or playing a sport. All it takes is the proper motivation to create a beautiful and healthy lifestyle to keep forever.