The average American watches three and a half hours of television every day. That adds up to 56 days of channel surfing per year. By the age of 65, over nine years will have been spent in front of the small screen!
In addition, from 1991 to 1999, participation in physical education (P.E.) in schools dropped from 42 percent to 29 percent. Since it is not a required part of the curriculum in most schools, kids basically opt not to be involved. (In only one state in the U.S. is P.E. a mandatory part of the curriculum.)
Nearly one-third of children ages 4 to 19 eat fast food every day, and over 15% in that age group are obese. In order to become slim, thousands of U.S. teens become bulimic or anorexic, or undergo a procedure known as gastric bypass.
Also known as “obesity surgery,” this procedure involves getting their stomach stapled in order to restrict the food intake. As a result, they eat less and lose weight. Yet, a host of other problems develop.
One such problem involves deterioration of the stomach lining. Also, the staples sometimes come apart, causing tears and leaks. And, due to the stomach’s poor absorption, nutrient deficiencies can occur. Is this the only way in which overweight, out-of-shape people can become healthy? Is there any alternative? Yes! And that alternative is exercise!
Many factors contribute to the degradation of health in teens today. You live in a terribly polluted world. The atmosphere, water supply, and—unless everything you eat is totally organic—food supply are all contaminated. You are bombarded by fast food at every corner. And video games have led the majority of teens to spend countless hours in front of the television being sedentary. And, as a result of all of this, there exists a generation that is out-of-shape, overweight and obese.
But there is hope. The wonderful tool of exercise can help teens become fit and healthy. Performing some form of physical activity daily will significantly boost your “basal metabolic rate”—the number of calories your body burns in order to keep you alive. By having a high metabolism, you burn calories 24 hours a day—even while you sleep! You can literally turn your body into a fat-burning machine!
This has many benefits: With a strong metabolism comes a strong immune system. When you burn fat, the toxins are released into the bloodstream, and are quickly carried out of the body through sweat. This inoculates you against the probability of developing cancerous and diseased cells. Therefore, hard exercise—that makes you sweat—is very good for you.
Exercise also helps to regulate the amount of insulin released into the bloodstream. Insulin is commonly referred to as “the fat-making hormone.” Its job is to metabolize blood sugar into energy. But too much insulin in the bloodstream keeps your body from burning stored fat. Years of an overworked pancreas—the organ that produces insulin—can lead to “onset (type 2) diabetes.” However, if you use—burn—more calories than you consume, you significantly reduce the chances of developing this disease.
Exercise can also help control other problems, such as: Sleep apnea, moodiness, stress, decreased energy, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and others. There are too many benefits to list here. But be assured that this tool can help you become a fit, stronger, disease-free, and overall healthier person.
The main goal of aerobic exercise is to keep the heart elevated for an extended period of time for the purpose of strengthening the heart and lungs. The most common aerobic exercise is walking. It is easy to do. You have been doing it since you were a toddler. By now, you are a “pro” at it. Increase the pace, and walking turns into an aerobic exercise. But, if you are more advanced or are easily bored, then you can move on to jogging or running.
Running is the quickest way to lose weight, because it burns many calories. It also tones your calves and thighs. However, to avoid extreme muscle aches or injuries, do not begin a running routine until you have performed two to three months of aerobic walking.
Other aerobic exercises could include: Bicycling, hiking, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, etc. Aerobic exercise should be done a minimum of 3 days a week, but 5 to 6 is recommended. The important thing is to pick something that interests you. If you like what you are doing, you will be more likely to stick with it.
Proverbs 20:29 states, “The glory of young men is their strength.” Therefore, strength training—also known as toning and weight lifting—is also a very good exercise. Through moderate toning, you gain muscle definition and increased bone mass, which helps to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
Interestingly, every extra pound of muscle that you have burns 50 calories a day just to maintain its mass. So, if you gain five pounds of muscle, then an extra 250 calories per day is burned! (3,500 calories equal one pound of fat.)
The easiest way to implement a strength training program is to use your own weight as resistance. For example, push-ups are great for strengthening the chest muscles. Yet simultaneously, they strengthen your upper back, biceps, triceps and shoulders. However, strength training should be done no more than three times a week. You should pick one exercise for each body part. Never train the same body part two days in a row, or you will overwork the muscle, possibly causing injury.
By now, you may be thinking, “I’ve tried all of this, but nothing worked.” Seriously and honestly think for a moment. Did you really try? Were you diligent in your pursuit? Did you try as hard as you could? Were you driven to SUCCEED? Your answer to these questions will tell you a lot about why you did not succeed.
In The Laws to Success, Mr. Pack shows that without good health, it is very difficult—if not impossible—to succeed in life. The way to succeed in anything is by exercising your will. Employ the laws of success. Anything of value takes time and effort.
First, you must increase your motivation. You can do this by thinking about the benefits of exercising every day. Nothing can stop the person who is driven to succeed.
Next, you must resolve to begin exercising, and then DO IT! Don’t put it off until tomorrow, because tomorrow will never come. Make it a habit of visualizing yourself as fit and healthy—and make it happen.
And finally, you must be diligent and persevere. This is called “stick-to-it-iveness.” Once you start, you must never stop. Determine to keep going, regardless of outside circumstances.
If you put all of this into action, you are well on your way to becoming a healthy adult.