Generation X-tra Large

I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Rikki-Lee N. (Grade 9)

Junk. The preferred food of teenagers?

Up until last year, I thought cookies, cake, chocolate and ice cream were the four main food groups. That was when my grade eight teacher, Brad Gallant, informed me that nutrition and exercise really do matter. He said, "I remember watching a video during health class that showed the struggle that over-weight teens go through to get their weight and their lives back to normal. I knew that I would not be able to stand being like that so I started eating better and exercising more."

I find that most of the weight problems of kids my age are blamed upon technology: electrical heating instead of chopping wood for fires, cars instead of walking or biking. Also, activities such as watching television, playing Nintendo, or surfing the net all allow us to sit on our ever-growing backsides. I wish that people would realize that flexing our thumbs on the remote does not count, and we need to get in gear for a more active life. To get fit, your heart rate should be raised to be between 154-187 beats per minute (bpm), minus your age. So, if you are 14-years-old, your heart rate should be between 140-173 bpm. By doing this three to five times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes to a maximum of 60, you will be decreasing fat and increasing muscle.

Working out will not only help you to look better, but it will also help you to feel better and add a major boost to your day. Mr. Gallant often told my class that, if you are finding it hard to concentrate on your homework, take a walk or do some other form of exercise. That will clear your head and help you focus more easily. One of my best friends works out around three times a week at New World Fitness, a popular gym in town where teens and adults have the ability to participate in aerobics classes, lift weights, jog around the track, swim laps, or use one of the various exercise machines. She says, "It's a great way to relieve stress and boost your confidence in your physical image."

Most teens participate in at least two sports, whether it's dancing or hockey, swimming or judo. Generally, if people enjoy a sport, they will not consider it working out, and they will not have to force themselves to take part. So, as soon as you finish reading this article, throw out your box of Twinkies and get fit!!

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