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Exercise: Its Importance, Scheduling Tips & Examples

Which statement above do you agree with the most?

  1. Youth, aged 12 to 17, are expected to engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

  2. Youth, aged 12 to 17, are expected to study hard and perform well in tests and assignments.

  3. Youth, aged 12 to 17, are expected to be able to immerse themselves in different extracurricular activities to be well-rounded students.

Well, most students would hope to be well-rounded, having time for both academic, as well as extracurricular activities. But, what about exercise? While exercise should be a priority for most students, after being pummelled with school work and activities, it becomes a second thought and not much of a reality. But it shouldn’t have to be that way!

Read on to learn about why exercise is important to both present and future you, how to find time for it, and examples of effective exercise methods.


Importance and Benefits of Exercise


Putting it simply, exercise is important because it keeps you healthy. This is accompanied by other health factors as well, such as the amount of sleep you get each night and the balance of nutrients you receive from your meals.


There are various such benefits of exercising regularly:

  • Improves your mental health and your overall mood, allowing your body and mind to relax and step away from stressful work.

  • Reduces risk of heart disease —exercising strengthens the body, especially the heart and circulation. Exercise increases dopamine levels and raises the body’s oxygen level.

  • Aids in sleep quality, longevity, and consistency.

  • Strengthens the overall body, including your stamina and muscles.

  • Helps with your ability to process information, specifically school-related for students. Exercising stimulates the release of protein in the body that improves cognitive function.

With so many crucial benefits to exercise, don’t you think you should incorporate exercise into your daily routine? But how can you schedule in time to do it, amid all the other activities and tasks you have to do? Keep reading...


Scheduling Time to Exercise


In order for you to get your daily exercise, it is important to schedule it throughout the day, rather than leaving it all for one concentrated period of time. Using digital reminders such as on a Google Calendar or a reminder app or physical reminders such as a sticky note on your wall or a note in your agenda are small ways to motivate you to do your daily physical activity.

Scheduling periods of time, all amounting to 60 minutes, in the morning, afternoon and evening can help you create a solid routine. Especially if you are attending school from home. Taking breaks from the screen to rest your eyes and increase blood circulation is very beneficial for not only your physical well-being, but your mental health as well.


Examples of Exercises


There are different types of exercise you can engage in, depending on the time, space, and equipment available to you. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines explains the type of exercise individuals should engage in every day, based on their age. For youth, daily moderate to vigorous activities that strengthen bones and muscles, both at least 3 days a week, is recommended.

Moderate activities include brisk walking, bike riding, or moving the lawn, while vigorous activities include jogging, running, high-intensity sports, or swimming. Remember, not all types of exercise are available to participate in due to the COVID-19 pandemic (such as team sports), so it's important to find substitutes for such activities.


Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your schedules:

  • Complete High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. These are efficient workouts that involve cardio sessions with varying intensity levels, going from light to high intensity with added breaks. They can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, and can really be self-directed based on the type of exercises you want to do. If you need ideas on what exercises to do, you can check out these websites: https://darebee.com/, https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout, and https://www.coachmag.co.uk/cardio-workouts/6419/how-to-get-hiit-workouts-right-because-they-re-easy-to-get-wrong

  • If possible, walk rather than taking the car or public transportation. This provides an ideal opportunity to avoid crowded areas such as bus or subway stations and helps you reduce your carbon footprint all while allowing you to get your daily exercise.

  • Use expressive arts as a form of exercise. In particular, dancing is a fun and engaging way to get your body moving no equipment required. Just put on your favorite music and feel your body move to the beat! Want an extra challenge? Check out videos on Youtube to follow, like Just Dance.

  • Clean! While this may be a tedious task that you want to avoid, cleaning allows you to use your muscles while getting an overdue task done.

In the end, it’s important for everyone, regardless of your age, to ensure that you are getting your daily dose of physical activity. Use the tips provided throughout this article to create an exercise plan that works for you!


References:

CSEP. (n.d.). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

https://csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_0-65plus_en.pdf.

Gold, M. (2017, January 2). High Intensity Interval Training: What Is HIIT, And How Do You

Know If You're Doing It? Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

https://www.self.com/story/what-is-high-intensity-interval-training-benefits.

Harvard Health Letter. (2019, August 26). Why we should exercise - and why we don't.

Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/

why-we-should-exercise-and-why-we-dont.

Medlife. (2017, August 30). Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.


Featured image is courtesy of Pixabay.



Article Author: Asima Hudani

Article Editor: Valerie Shirobokov, Maria Giroux

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