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Teen Health

How Regular Exercise Benefits Teens

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Exercise and Your Muscles

Most people know that exercise keeps muscles strong. But did you know that strong muscles burn more calories? Muscle mass is metabolically active tissue. In other words, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn even when you're not working out.

Studies estimate that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you will burn an additional 35-50 calories per day. So an extra 5 pounds of muscle will burn about 175-250 calories a day -- or an extra pound of fat every 14-20 days.

Because guys have more muscle mass, they burn calories faster and lose weight more easily than girls. So girls need to work out daily to stay strong and in shape.

Exercise and Your Bones

Regular, moderate exercise -- particularly weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging, and dancing -- keeps your bones strong. Studies show that resistance (strengthening) exercises also boost bone mass and keep muscles strong.

Exercise and Your Skin

Exercise also boosts circulation and the delivery of nutrients to your skin, helping to detoxify the body by removing toxins (poisons).

As exercise boosts oxygen to the skin, it also helps increase the natural production of collagen, the connective tissue that plumps your skin. Your skin color is also improved after exercise because of the increase in blood flow.

Exercise and Stress

Regular exercise reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body, resulting in a slower heart rate, relaxed blood vessels, and lower blood pressure. Increased relaxation after exercise shows on your face with reduced muscle tension.

Exercise and Your Mood

Research shows that regular exercise reduces symptoms of moderate depression and enhances psychological fitness. Exercise can even produce changes in certain chemical levels in the body, which can have an effect on the psychological state.

Endorphins are hormones in the brain associated with a happy, positive feeling. A low level of endorphins is associated with depression. During exercise, plasma levels of this substance increase. This may help to ease symptoms of depression. A recent National Health and Nutrition survey found that physically active people were half as likely to be depressed.

Exercise also boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send specific messages from one brain cell to another. Though only a small percentage of all serotonin is located in the brain, this neurotransmitter is thought to play a key role in keeping your mood calm.

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