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June 1, 2012

By Pacific Quest

Move well, live well. Striving for optimal wellness involves taking care of the physical body. Exercise intensity, however, is different for different bodies—ages, current health, special considerations, along with a variety of other variables.

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy ProgramOne thing is certain: exercise does more than improve the physical body, it helps improve the emotions as well. After just 20 minutes of aerobic activity your body starts pumping around the feel-good hormones called endorphins. Once this is pumping through your system the overall affect is a better self-image (pride in self goes a long way), happy outlook and a more creative mind. Physical activity can be a wonderful stress relief or a way to boost your energy when it is low. With all the possible ways to workout, it helps to have a go-to list especially for teens. Here at Pacific Quest, our troubled teenagers camp has beautiful weather and lots of fresh air, so getting outdoors and being active comes naturally, but once outside, it is nice to have some tips for how to keep up the healthy start.

Ways To Get Up and Get Moving:

Aerobic Sports: At least 3 times each week. Try every other day and see how great this routine can become.

  • Soccer—join a team, league, or play a pick-up game with friends
  • Volleyball—head to a park with a volleyball and the crowds may just gather
  • Football—flag football is any easy game to get going with a crowd (family, friends, siblings)
  • Running—no clubs, memberships or equipment required!
  • Swimming—even playing Frisbee in the shallows gets your heart rate up
  • Cycling—if you can bike to school, do it
  • Tennis—just practicing serves and backhands with a ball against a wall gets up the heart rate
  • Kickboxing—a great instructor can lead and make a class sweaty and fun
  • Cross-Country Skiing—easy to rent or borrow equipment during the winter months
  • Surfing—rocks the core and encourages balance
  • Jumping Rope—easy to do almost anywhere
  • Racquetball—perfect stress-reliever to do with a friend
  • Tae-Bo—a full-body workout

Muscle-Building: At least 2 times each week. Be sure to leave some rest days between strength-training workouts or your muscles will scream for mercy.

  • Playground equipment—the older we get, the harder crossing a set of monkey bars becomes…try it, you’ll see
  • Climbing Trees—seriously, start up a nice climbing tree and your arm strength will impress you
  • Rock Climbing—find a certified climbing instructor and take to the heights
  • Push-ups—you can do these on your own—no equipment required
  • Sit-ups—another free form of strength training requiring zero equipment
  • Squats—sit deep and love the sting in your quads
  • Calf raises—easy to do almost anywhere

Working Exercise In: Sometimes there are just regular days: school or work, dinner, bedtime and it seems as though there isn’t time to get an actual workout in. Here are some everyday-type activities you can do when a workout opportunity just didn’t present itself.

  • Rake leaves—your parents will be astounded
  • Take a hike—on your own with your thoughts or with a friend for company
  • Active gaming—when you lose a passive video game switch to an active one that gets you off the couch and moving
  • Play tag with your siblings or roommates—it will get everyone up and running
  • Roll to school or work—skateboard or blade
  • Mow the lawn—or even mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor: workout, get paid

At this point in the history of the world, there really aren’t that many great excuses NOT to exercise. The incentives to get active are huge: better bodies, better minds, better attitudes, better sleep, better health, better skin, better get crackin’!

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