How Active I Am

The “101”

Physical activity is important for getting and keeping you in good health. Physical activity keeps your muscles strong, your body limber, and your organs, like your heart and lungs, operating correctly. It also creates chemicals inside your body that make you feel content and happy.

Physical activity can take many forms, including walking, running, weight lifting, swimming, and on and on. The type of physical activity you choose is up to you. You will want to get good advice from someone knowledgeable about physical activity to make sure you don’t under do, or overdo it. And don’t let gender stereotypes get in the way of your doing the physical activities that you enjoy or want to try out.

Reflect On It

Write in your journal (download journal) any thoughts you have as you think about this topic, using the questions below:

Learn More

Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers This guide recommends small and doable steps to get healthier.

Keeping Active and Healthy Eating for Men This resource is designed to help men, including young men, learn about healthy eating and physical activity and set and reach healthy eating and physical activity goals.

GirlsHealth This website has information designed for young women to learn about healthy eating and physical activity.

Take Action!

Discover Physical Activity Opportunities in Your Community

Stop by a recreation center or youth club near where you live, learn, or work and ask about classes they offer or whether they have time set-aside for open recreation in their facilities. Don’t let money be a barrier because sometimes the recreation center will offer programs without charge, or make accommodations for youth with limited resources.

Select an Enjoyable Physical Activity

Select a physical activity or activities that you enjoy because you are more likely to stick with them that way. If you don’t yet know what you enjoy, try a few different activities and see what appeals more. You might consider physical activities that you can do with your family or your friends. Take the initiative and ask them to get more active with you.

Advocate for More Physical Education Time

If you are in school and the school is not providing enough time for physical education or physical activity, you could organize a group of students to ask to meet with the school leader or a physical education teacher or coach to talk about your school’s physical activity choices and amounts of activity allowed in the school day or during afterschool hours.

Advocate for Gender Equity in Athletics

If you don’t think it’s fair that some physical activities, especially competitive athletics and team sports, are not available to you because of your gender, you can do something to change that. In fact, there’s a law, known as Title IX that prohibits sex discrimination in athletics and sports offered by schools, colleges, and universities. The Feminist Majority Foundation suggests a set of strategies you can take to make changes in your community.

Prevent and Treat Injuries from Physical Activity

If one of your motivations for being physically active is to change your body size or shape, or if you get injured from a physical activity, get medical attention. If the injury is an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, set an appointment with your healthcare provider, or ask the adult responsible for your health care to set the appointment.

If you or your family are not insured or do not have a regular healthcare provider, consider getting your health services through a community health center. Use the Find-a-Health-Center Tool to locate a community health center by ZIP Code.

Use the Find a Family Planning Clinic tool to locate a family planning clinic by state, city, or ZIP code.

Use this tool to locate an Indian Health Service, Tribal, or Urban Indian Health Program facility.


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