Meeks Heit Health & Wellness
Personal Health and Physical Activity
The Importance of Exercise for Teens
Often, teens have a warped sense of the importance and value of exercise. Some teens may use it to an extreme to control weight or to shape their bodies in certain ways. Some may feel as if physical activity and exercise simply are not interesting to them. They may feel that those kinds of activities are only for people who excel at sports. None of these attitudes is healthful and none of them helps teens to maintain good health through physical activity. In this WebQuest, students will research the importance of exercise and physical activity, especially as it relates to teens. They will explore the different physical and emotional health benefits that physical activity provides, and conduct an experiment regarding their own physical activity.
Students will need to answer a set of 4 questions about the importance of exercise during the teen years and the many health benefits it provides. After completing the Internet research and answering the questions, students will create physical activity plan for themselves. For a period of 3 weeks, they need to set a goal of at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, which is the recommendation of The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for children and teens ages 6-17. Students will record their activities for each day in the chart provided. Also, they will write one journal entry at the end of each of the 3 weeks discussing their activities for that week, what they liked or didn't like, and how the activities made them feel. Encourage students to record specific feelings they have after exercising each day in the "Comments" column, and whether they notice any obvious health benefits right away.
- To identify the physical and emotional health benefits of physical activity
- Investigate the specific health benefits for teens of exercise and physical activity
- To research the health risks caused by living an inactive lifestyle
- Give examples of types of activities that will benefit teens
- Give examples of activities and exercises that could benefit those who have not exercised regularly before
- To discover ways to motivate themselves to try new physical activities and to maintain regular physical activity for the health benefits
- To create a regular physical activity plan for themselves
- To identify their own health benefits and results by recording details about their physical activities
Students will use the Internet sites to investigate the impact of both activity and inactivity on our bodies. They will learn about the countless health benefits of exercise and physical activity, and the value of beginning the habit of exercise early in life.
1 week to research the Internet sites and answer the questions; 3 weeks to conduct the personal activity studies
Before conducting the research, you may remind students to read through the set of questions so they are familiar with the material. After exploring the Internet resources, students will create a 3-week plan for physical activity and use the chart provided to record their results. This chart and the process of recording results for each day will help students develop goals for physical activity that may last beyond this project. The journal entries that follow each week are meant to help students identify their strengths and preferences for different activities, as well as help them to be aware of any health benefits they experience during the 3-week plan.
You may assign five points to each of the four questions for a total of 20 possible points. The answers to the questions are given below. You may rate the answer to each question by the following scale: Excellent - 5 points; Very Good - 4 points; Good - 3 points; Satisfactory - 2 points; Poor - 1 point; and Unsatisfactory - 0 points.
Answers to questions about the importance of exercise for teens:
- Students' answers can include any of the following: To lower the risk of heart disease; to lower the risk of stroke; to lower the risk of cancer; to lower the risk of osteoporosis; to increase daily energy; to help prevent premature death; to sleep well; to improve mood; to help fight depression; to control weight; to create good habits to carry into adulthood.
- Answers can include: Exercise provides health benefits for people of all ages; if a person is active as a teen, it is likely he or she will continue that behavior in adulthood; if a person waits until adulthood to start being active, he or she may have a hard time finding the motivation, energy, or desire to try new things or develop new habits.
- Answers include: can help reduce depression; can help relieve emotional stress; can help improve body image.
- Answers can include: Doing yard work; doing somewhat vigorous housework, such as washing windows or vacuuming; climbing stairs instead of using an elevator; parking far from the entrances of stores when running errands; simply walking in a neighborhood or shopping mall; doing something the person already enjoys that requires some energy, such as walking the dog or visiting a park with a nature trail; enrolling in an exercise class of some kind for beginners, such as low-impact aerobics, a swimming class, tennis lessons, or golf lessons.
Physical Activity 3-Week Plan
You may use the following scale to assess your students' charts and plans for activity.
|Requirement||Possible Points||Points Earned|
|Goal identified for each day of the 3-week period||20|| |
|Results recorded for activities each day ||20|| |
|Goals met / at least 60 minutes of activity each day ||10|| |
|Health benefit of specific activity listed for each day ||20|| |
|Student used Comments column to record daily reactions to activities ||10|| |
|Total points:||80|| |
You may assign ten points to each of the three journal entries, for a total of 30 points.
An excellent journal entry should include the following:
- description of the activities of that week
- discussion of the students' feelings about the activities
- description of any health benefits the student noticed after completing the activities
- goals that the student may have for continuing to be physically active
The following scale may be helpful for assessing the entries: Excellent - 9-10 points; Very
Good - 7-8 points; Good - 5-6 points; Satisfactory - 3-4 points; Poor - 1-2 points; and Unsatisfactory - 0 points.
After exploring the information on the resource Web sites, students should have a better understanding of the importance of being physically active. With recreational choices such as television, video games, and computer use, teens today face a greater threat from inactivity than ever before. By creating a plan for themselves and reflecting on the results, students will gain a better understanding of how they can take action to maintain good health.