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FIT Connection for Teens: Move

How does physical activity and exercise tie in with being fit?
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By Brenda Conaway
WebMD Feature

Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. That's why MOVE is one of the four areas of the FIT Platform along with FOOD, RECHARGE, and MOOD. Keeping all four of these areas of life in balance is the best way to be fit and healthy.

The Benefits of Moving

Exercise helps your fitness in each of these ways.

  • Improves your strength and endurance
  • Builds healthy bones and muscles
  • Improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Builds your confidence and self-esteem
  • Controls your weight
  • Lowers the risk of diabetes and certain cancers
  • Prevents osteoporosis (fragile, weak bones)

But you may not be aware of how moving affects your overall fitness -- that balance between mind, body, and spirit.

How Moving Fits in With the Overall FIT Platform

Moving your body everyday has a positive effect on the other components of the FIT platform.

When you MOVE more, it helps you balance the energy you get from FOOD. To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you eat in food with the number of calories you burn each day. Being physically active helps even out this energy balance. When you are active, your body uses more calories than when it is at rest. To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, see FIT Platform for Teens: Healthy Weight.

How often you MOVE and what type of FOOD you eat can affect your appetite. Being inactive and eating unhealthy foods can actually increase your appetite. Not moving every day and eating unhealthy foods both decrease the hormone leptin in your body. When you have less leptin in your body, you are more likely to feel hungry. But when you move more and eat healthfully, you can reset your body chemistry so that you don't feel as hungry.

When you MOVE regularly, you can improve your MOOD. Being active helps improve your mood and outlook in several ways. The sense of accomplishment you get from being active helps you feel good about yourself. Exercise also increases the amount of mood-enhancing brain chemicals that our bodies produce. So being physically active is a natural, healthy way to relieve anxiety and boost your mood and overall outlook.

Choosing to MOVE every day helps you RECHARGE. Studies have also shown that regular physical activity helps reduce fatigue, increase energy, and ease stress and anxiety. Plus, want to improve the quality of your shut-eye? Then get out and move your body every day.