- Teens and young adults, both male and female, benefit from physical activity.
- Physical activity does not need to be strenuous to be beneficial.
- Moderate amounts of daily physical activity are recommended for people of all ages. This amount can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense activities, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes, or in shorter sessions of more intense activities, such as jogging or playing basketball for 15-20 minutes.
- Greater amounts of physical activity are even more beneficial, up to a point. Excessive amounts of physical activity can lead to injuries, menstrual abnormalities, and bone weakening.
- Nearly half of American youths aged 12-21 years are not vigorously active on a regular basis. About 14 percent of young people report no recent physical activity. Inactivity is more common among females (14%) than males (7%) and among black females (21%) than white females (12%).
- Participation in all types of physical activity declines strikingly as age or grade in school increases.
- Only 19 percent of all high school students are physically active for 20 minutes or more, five days a week, in physical education classes.
- Daily enrollment in physical education classes dropped from 42 percent to 25 percent among high school students between 1991 and 1995.
- Well designed school-based interventions directed at increasing physical activity in physical education classes have been shown to be effective.
- Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity.
BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps control weight, build lean muscle, and reduce fat.
- Prevents or delays the development of high blood pressure and helps reduce blood pressure in some adolescents with hypertension.
Quick GuidePictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form)
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Last Editorial Review: 3/3/2003