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Teen Health

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Aerobic Exercise for Teenagers

Are Weight-Bearing Exercises Aerobic?

Many aerobic exercises are also "weight-bearing" -- the kind where you stand on your feet and exercise. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises include walking, aerobics, dancing, tennis, climbing stairs, and running.

Weight-bearing exercise stimulates the cells that make new bone and boost bone strength. This is especially important for teenagers because your bone mass peaks between ages 25 and 30. Adolescence is the time to build the strongest bones possible.

Getting Started with Aerobic Exercise

To start an aerobic exercise program, just put on your running shoes and start walking. It's fun -- and free. You can walk in your neighborhood, at a local mall, at school on the track.

If walking is not your thing, grab your bike and start riding. Or swim laps. Or do all of these! There are enough choices to let you do a different one each day for a month -- or longer. See the list below for some other exercises and school sports that build your cardiovascular endurance.

Find Your Best Time of Day for Exercise

As you start an aerobic exercise program, it's important to find the right time to exercise -- a time when you feel alert and energetic. This helps to make the exercise more fun and even easier.

You may be a morning person and enjoy using a stationary bike before school. Or, if you're barely awake at 6 a.m., you can hit the track running at lunchtime, during PE, or after school. Maybe swimming is what you love. So enjoy de-stressing while swimming laps on your school's team.

Exercise with a Friend

If you get bored easily and like to talk with someone, invite a friend to be part of your aerobic exercise program. Your friend can act as a coach, motivator, and conscience, as well as give you someone to laugh with during exercise.

Exercising with someone can increase the chance that you'll stick with the program.

Join an Aerobic Exercise Class

If you are social or need further instruction, you might prefer being part of a fitness class. Try an aerobics or gymnastics class at the local "Y," an indoor cycling class at a fitness center, or a school sports team: volleyball, basketball, football, swimming.

The options for aerobic exercise are numerous. Just find what you like and make it your daily habit -- your gift to yourself.

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