You exercise all the time without even thinking of it. When you run around outside or play kickball at school, you are exercising. What else counts as exercise? Playing sports, dancing, and doing push-ups. Even reaching down to touch your toes!

When you exercise, you make your body stronger. So be active every day. Your body will thank you!

Make Your Heart Happy!

Your heart is a muscle. It works hard, pumping blood every day. Help your heart get stronger by doing aerobic (say: air-OH-bik) exercise.

Aerobic means "with air." When you do aerobic exercise, you breathe faster so you take in more air. Your heart beats harder too. This gives your heart a workout. It will get even better at its main job — taking oxygen from the air you breathe in and giving it to all your body parts.

What Type of Exercise Is Good for Me?

Lots of exercises can get your heart pumping. Try these:

  • swimming
  • basketball
  • hockey
  • running or walking
  • skating
  • soccer
  • cross-country skiing
  • riding your bike
  • jumping rope

How Can I Get Stronger Muscles?

Did you ever swing across the monkey bars at the playground or play a game of tag? They can make your leg and arm muscles stronger. Here are other ways to build strong muscles:

  • push-ups
  • pull-ups
  • tug-of-war
  • rowing
  • running
  • jumping
  • bike riding

How Can I Be More Flexible?

Being flexible means you can stretch your body easily. Exercises that build flexibility feel really good, like when you take a big stretch in the morning after waking up. It's easy to find things that help you stretch:

  • gymnastics
  • yoga
  • dancing
  • karate
  • bending, twisting, and reaching

Exercise Feels Good

It feels good to have a strong, flexible body that can do all the things you enjoy — like running, jumping, and playing with your friends. It's also fun to be good at something, like making a basket, hitting a home run, or dancing.

Exercising can also put you in a better mood. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel happier. It's just another reason why exercise is a good idea!

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2019 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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