Fitness You need exercise to look and feel your best, but this doesn't mean you have to live in sweats and play 3 varsity sports. Exercise helps build muscle, thereby increasing your metabolism and your resting metabolic rate, so you can eat more fun foods without putting on pounds. Exercise also enhances the immune system and boosts brain power, which increases alertness and concentration (which is why exercise is such a good study break!). Exercise doesn't have to happen in the gym: just taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking a few extra blocks everyday can do the trick. Get a pedometer so you can measure the number of steps you take and keep this count near the goal of 10,000 daily. Increasing the number of steps you take is a great way to get started on working activity into daily life when getting to the gym isn't possible.

Mental Resilience There is an interdependent relationship between mental and physical health. No matter how great you look on the outside, if you are emotionally unhappy, you won't be happy with what you see or how you feel. That's why you have to take time during the day to center yourself and relax, whether through meditation or breathing exercises, or by finding an activity that gives you purpose and makes you feel part of a community. Once you do start feeling and seeing the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, this success should boost your confidence and make you feel even more committed to staying on track.

Succeeding at the rewarding task of getting healthy is a wonderful way to start feeling empowered to set other long-term goals, such as promoting awareness of health and health issues among your friends. It will also help make all of us mentally tougher to deal with the challenges of life as our generation inherits the planet.


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