Persuasive Article: “Why Exercise is Wise”

"Come on!" your gym teacher bellows. "Just one more lap!"

"Why don't you head outside - it's a beautiful day, perfect for getting some exercise," your mom says.

"Well, he seems to be in great shape. Give him these heartworm pills once a month and take him out for lots of exercise," the vet says while looking over your new dog.

Exercise is a word you hear everywhere - and for good reason. Exercise is a very important part of life because it keeps the body in good shape (and not just in humans either, as the vet's comment shows). Doctors and researchers are finding evidence that regular exercise, along with other things that make up a healthy lifestyle, can prevent some diseases that occur later in life and lead to a longer, happier life in general.

Rewards and Benefits
"So what? How does that affect me?" you may be thinking. Well, exercise doesn't just offer rewards when you're older - it offers rewards that begin right at this moment, too. Exercise is beneficial to every part of your body, including your brain. But probably the best place to start is your heart.

You most likely already know that the heart is a muscle - it's actually the strongest muscle in the human body. But did you know that just like other muscles, the heart likes (and needs) a good workout? You can provide it with an excellent workout in the form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that makes your muscles use oxygen. Because aerobic exercise is repetitive, it brings fresh oxygen into the muscles of the body over and over - making the heart muscle stronger (and sometimes a bit larger, as well). Aerobic exercise increases the number of blood cells in your blood, so your blood can carry more oxygen than before; it also helps the blood travel more efficiently through your blood vessels.

It's recommended that teens do some sort of aerobic exercise at least three times a week, for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Many teens who play team sports may do more than what's recommended - and that's great! The heart appreciates it and you'll be able to do more and more exercise without getting tired. Some team sports that are good for pouring on the oxygen are swimming, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, ice and roller hockey, and rowing.

But if you don't play team sports, don't worry; there are plenty of ways to get aerobic exercise on your own or with a few friends.  Some awesome ways to get aerobically fit include biking, running, aerobics, swimming, dancing, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, hiking, and walking quickly. In fact, types of exercise that you can do on your own are easier to continue for years to come, so you can stay fit as you get older.