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FIT Connection for Teens: Recharge

How do rest and relaxation tie in with being fit?
By Brenda Conaway
WebMD Feature

When a cell phone, iPod, or battery gets low on power, you recharge it. You also need to RECHARGE your body. The way to do that is with rest and healthy relaxation.

"Screen time -- and that includes TV, computer, even texting -- takes up all our down time," says David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist with Sanford Health. "It's a very unhealthy activity as far as exercise goes, and even emotional well-being. People text and tweet instead of talking to one another, so I think there's even some social isolation that goes along with that."

Use the articles, slideshows, and interactive evaluators in the RECHARGE section to help you learn how to practice healthy relaxation. You can also learn how to create sleep routines you can stick with.

How RECHARGE Fits in With the Overall FIT Platform

Sleep is essential to overall good health, and it also has an effect on what and how much you eat, your energy level, and your mood and emotions. Here is how taking time to RECHARGE fits in with the other components of the FIT Platform:

You need to RECHARGE by getting enough rest to have the energy to MOVE your body every day. Ever noticed how unmotivated you are to get up and get dressed in the morning after too little sleep the night before? If your sleep deficit builds over several days, you'll find it harder to move all day long. It's just common sense -- the more tired you are, the less likely you are to have extra energy to be active.

Inadequate time to RECHARGE can stimulate your desire for FOOD and perhaps lead to weight gain. When we don't get ample sleep, it affects our appetite. Studies of adults have shown a link between lack of sleep and a decrease in the hormone leptin, which decreases appetite. Other studies have found that inadequate sleep causes the levels of the hormone ghrelin to rise in adults -- even after just one night of sleeplessness. This hormone increases appetite and makes high-calorie foods look more appealing. Bottom line? If you want to make it easier to eat a healthy diet, you need to RECHARGE. And the most effective way to do that is to set a sleep schedule you can follow. To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, see FIT Connection for Teens: Healthy Weight.

If you don't RECHARGE, you are less likely to make healthy FOOD and MOVE choices. When you're in the craziness and busyness of life, it can be harder to slow down to think, rest, or sleep. Then it's easy to be less physically active, and that can be the start of a vicious cycle. When you don’t take time to move your body, your stress and anxiety worsen. That, in turn, can make you sleep less deeply. Similarly, when you're busy and tired, you’re more susceptible to the temptation to turn to foods you can get quickly from a package even though they aren't that healthy.

When you RECHARGE with rest and relaxation, you'll find it easier to manage your MOOD. Those mornings that you wake up “on the wrong side of the bed” are likely caused from not getting enough sleep the night before. In a study, people who were deprived of sleep for one week became stressed, sad, angry, and mentally exhausted. Another study found that missing just one night of sleep can have an effect on your mood and ability to think clearly. Researchers have also found that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are more likely to develop anxiety and depression.