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Exercise - why you need to exercise

physical activity; muscles; fitness; healthy eating; sport; climb; jump; sprint; sleep; physical; carry; walking; energy; bike; ride; soccer; football; cricket; hockey; athletics; basketball; fencing; karate; Tai Chi; lacrosse; softball; baseball; swimming; tennis; sports club; badminton. ;


Can you:

exercising exercising
exercising exercising

Could you run and walk for hours, leap over rocks, climb mountains, jump over streams, carry loads, sprint short distances, have a sound sleep and do it all again the next day?

Your body was designed to do all that and more. So how much physical activity do you do?

In the 'olden days'

exercisingI bet your grandparents have told you stories of themselves or their parents walking or bike riding miles to school every day, chopping wood, carrying groceries, washing the clothes, carrying water, digging the garden, playing sport and walking home afterwards, walking to the cinema, etc. (in the rain or 40C heat of course; after all, this is a story they are telling!)

Nowadays we have cars or buses, washing machines and gas or electric stoves. Not many people grow vegies, and an adult usually drives kids where they want to go.

But your body was designed for physical activity, and without enough exercise it starts to slow down, clog up and become unhealthy.

Why you need exercise

  • exercisingIt makes you feel fit, strong and healthy.
  • Your brain releases 'endorphins' (en-door-fins), chemicals which make you feel good.
  • You feel relaxed.
  • It stops you feeling 'stressed out'.
  • It's fun to exercise with others.
  • It keeps your weight down.
  • Your muscles get stronger.
  • You sleep better.
  • exercisingYour heart and lungs get stronger.
  • Your bones get stronger.
  • You have more energy to do other things.
  • You look great.
  • You can get rid of anger and bad feelings.
  • Your body stays 'tuned up' and works better.

If you feel tired
If you feel blue
If you don't know what's wrong with you.
Get up and move
Get in the groove
Exercise and you'll improve.


How to exercise for free

  1. exercisingClimb stairs instead of using lifts or escalators.
  2. Walk or ride your bike to wherever you're going (instead of asking mum or dad to drive you).
  3. Play games at lunch, recess or after school.
  4. Practise skills like running, catching, throwing, kicking, hitting, or bouncing a ball.
  5. Walk while you talk with a friend, instead of sitting down talking.
  6. Walk or run with the dog (if you haven't got one, borrow one from a neighbour - you might even start a 'walk your dog' business).
  7. exercisingTake your phone or iPod to school and dance during the lunch break. Making up dance or skipping routines to music is fun!
  8. Make and fly a kite.
  9. Join in sports lessons and sports teams at school. You don't have to be really good, just really try.
  10. What other ideas can you come up with?

A lot of these things you can do by yourself. There are lots of other things that you can do which may cost some money, and you will have to keep that time free during the week for you to be able to join in.

What else can you do?

  • Join a team. There are probably heaps of teams for all sports at your school. You don't have to be 'world class' to have a go, learn some skills and have fun.
  • Join an organisation like a youth group, cubs/brownies, scouts/guides or something like these, and you'll have lots of fun plus it will keep you active.
  • Look for sports clubs around your area  - swimming, baseball, tennis, softball, soccer, football, cricket, dance, ballet, calisthenics, hockey, little athletics, volleyball, basketball, karate, or Tai Chi. There are dozens around. Look in the local paper or the Yellow Pages if you don't know what's around.
  • Ask the kids in your class what they do. Maybe you could do it together, eg. riding a bike, skateboarding, scooter riding, roller blades, etc.

exercisingMany sports do cost money, but one or two sessions a week with practising skills at home on the other days will soon have you doing well, making new friends and feeling great.

Not all levels of sport are competitive so you don't have to worry if you're not very 'sporty'.

So, if you haven't been keeping fit - START NOW!

Look at:

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate

Getting fit and keeping fit is a great way to use your time, feel good about yourself, make new friends and improve your chances of having good health.

 Check out the topic Exercise safely before you race off and start to exercise.

What some kids say

  • "I feel good when I exercise, I try to get a bit better every time." Ben
  • "I have fun when I play sport with my team." Katie
  • "Our team isn't very good but we try and we give each other 'build-ups'." Taj
  • "Our team may not win but we enjoy trying." Kathy
  • "Bike-riding with a friend is good exercise and good fun too." Tylor
  • "I'm trying to run faster and longer so I exercise every day. Maybe one day I'll be good enough to be in the Olympics. Anyway at least I'll be fit." Marie
  • "Walking to school with friends is a lot more fun than squashing onto a bus." Haydn
  • "We have a 'walking bus' at our school, so I walk to school every day." Tom

Word game (hangman)

'Exercise' words - see how many you can guess. Some are 'doing' words (eg. hopping) and some are name words (eg. softball).

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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