Meeks Heit Health & Wellness

Unit 6: Personal Health and Physical Activity

WebQuest Projects

The Importance of Exercise for Teens


Cross training - step aerobics - interval training - weight training - yoga - low-impact - high-impact…we live in an exercise-crazed world. We hear these and other fitness terms all the time, but what is really the best fitness plan for teens? What kinds of benefits does exercise provide? Do you need to have a specific plan or is regular, moderate physical activity of any kind beneficial to your health? In this WebQuest, you will discover the answers to these and other questions through researching the benefits of exercise and learning ways to motivate yourself to be physically active.


Your job in this WebQuest is to learn about exercise and the critical importance of physical activity in your daily life. You will explore the many different health benefits of exercise and physical activity, such as strengthening the heart muscle and building muscle strength. You also will investigate many health benefits that you may not have considered before, such as the effect of physical activity on the risk of cancer. After doing your Internet research, you will answer a set of questions. Then, you will make a physical activity plan for yourself. For a period of 3 weeks, you 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. You will record your activities for the day in the chart provided for this WebQuest, and write one journal entry for each week discussing your plan and the results of your physical activities.


Before beginning your Internet research, read the following questions. As you visit the resource Web sites, look for information that will help you answer the questions.

  1. List three reasons it is important for teens to get regular physical exercise.
  2. Why is it better for a person to start exercising when he or she is young instead of waiting until he or she is an adult?
  3. Name three health benefits of physical activity and exercise that are not physical benefits.
  4. List three activities or exercises you would suggest for someone who wants to become more active but has never exercised before.

After conducting your internet research and answering the set of questions above, use what you have learned about exercise and physical activity to make a plan for yourself. You will need to plan at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day for a period of three weeks. Each day, use the chart below to record the type of activities you plan to do, the activities you accomplish, and the amount of time spent on each physical activity. Your plan may include all kinds of different sports, exercises, and physical activities. You may include things that you already do in the course of a day, such as a sports practice. You may plan to walk or jog after school with a friend or family member. You may decide to try an activity that is new to you. Use your research to find new ways to improve your activity level.

Activities can (and should) vary from day to day. You may have more than one activity or exercise on the same day, as long as the length of your physical activity equals at least sixty minutes. Choose activities that you enjoy. Your choices are not limited to exercising and sports-related activities. You do not have to have experience with the activities. Try something new and different.

The chart includes space for health benefits and for comments or notes about each day's activities. In the Health Benefits column, fill in at least one potential health benefit for each different activity you have for that day. Use the Comments column to record any thoughts you have about a certain activity, if you liked it or not, and how you felt after completing it.

After creating your physical activity plan and completing your first seven days of activities, write a short journal entry that discusses your feelings about the assignment, your experiences with each of your activities for the week, and what kinds of benefits you have experienced from your activities during Week 1. Then write two more journal entries, one at the conclusion of each of the next two weeks of activity.

DayPlanned Physical ActivityTime SpentHealth BenefitsComments
 Write journal for Week 1   
 Write journal for Week 2   
 Write journal for Week 3   


1 week to research the Internet sites and answer the questions; 3 weeks to conduct the study of your personal activity plan

Check out this study which recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that inactivity may be even worse for your heart than being overweight.
This page from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) site answers the question, "Does regular aerobic exercise help prevent cancer?"
Here, ACE explains the specific ways that warming up prior to a workout protects and benefits your body.
Read this page to understand the importance of a person's waist-to-hip ratio. This measurement can give clues to a person's future health risks. Are you an apple or a pear?
Investigate this Medical College of Georgia study that shows that even moderate amounts of exercise hold big rewards for teens of all shapes and sizes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) answers the question, "Why should I be active?" After reading the long list of answers, you may ask "Why would I choose not to be active?"
Here, the CDC gives guidelines for the amount and frequency of physical activity needed by adolescents and children. How do you compare to the recommendations?
The CDC discusses the benefits of exercise and physical activity on this page, and provides many interesting links to statistics on frequency of exercise.
This Web site gives a detailed history and purpose for The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. It provides startling statistics about U.S. citizens' levels of physical activity (and inactivity), and identifies four pillars that are vital to improving the health and fitness of Americans.
Exercise can benefit everyone. The CDC uses this page to discuss the specific benefits of regular physical activity for all age groups, including teens.
This CDC report on bone health explains how exercise in childhood and adolescence can help prevent osteoporosis in the future. Peak bone mass is achieved in women by age 20, so weight-bearing physical activity in the teen years is critical to protecting against deterioration of bone tissue late in life. Be sure to read the entire report. Specific examples of weight-bearing activities are given and the benefits discussed.


By completing this WebQuest, you have learned how important exercise is to maintain your good health-not only your physical health, but your emotional health, too. In fact, the health benefits of regular physical activity are so numerous, it seems risky not to participate in some form of exercise or activity regularly. You have learned about many different types of physical activities that benefit health and well-being. By making your 3-week plan for physical exercise, recording the results, and using your journal to reflect on your experiences, you have explored different options you have for improving your health and learned ways to motivate yourself to maintain a habit of regular activity.
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