Physical Health

Physical Fitness

Moving your body can do wonders for your health. Sometimes, it is hard to find the motivation to get up and get moving. Let’s be honest, after a long day of work, school, volunteering – sometimes the last thing you want to do is to get up and do physical activity. If you’re dealing with mental health struggles and haven’t done a lot in the day, it can still difficult to find motivation. That’s completely okay.

However, it’s important to consider adding some body movement into your daily routine. This can help reduce the risk of developing health conditions. Such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis

Also, staying active is not only good for your physical health. It can also be good for your mental and emotional health. Staying active can:

  • Help reduce stress
  • Make you feel more confident
  • Improve your concentration
  • Boost your mood
  • Be an awesome way to meet new people

Body Movement vs. Working Out

Some people might believe that a gym membership is a prerequisite for body movement. This is far from the truth. You can in fact be active without going to the gym.

Below are some tips on how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life:

  • Prepare for it! Create a healthy sleeping and eating schedule. This helps you feel fueled and ready to take on some exercise.
  • Walk more often to get to where you need to go. If possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator!
  • Try waking up 15 minutes before your usual wake-up time. Use this time to do some small movements (sit-ups, jumping jacks, stretching, etc.).
  • If you use public transportation, try getting off the bus a bit before your destination.
  • See if your school has any low-cost recreation clubs you can join.
  • If you have the means, consider buying some dumbbells and other workout gear to use. You can use these from the comfort and privacy of your own space.
  • Ask your parent or caregiver to show you how to do chores like laundry, vacuuming, sweeping. These chores get your body moving. Plus cleaning up your space and doing something helpful for the family can be good for your mental health too!
  • Make a playlist of songs that make you dance. Put it on during a 15-minute study/work break and dance your stress away!

Physical activity does not only involve walking, running, lifting, and/or playing sports. It can also include things like dancing, and yoga. If you do not like sports or running marathons, that is completely fine! Don’t pressure yourself to do things you dislike for the sake of doing them. Instead, find activities that bring you joy. Remember that any activity that gets you moving is great!

Check out this page for some physical activities you can do at home.

Going to the Gym

Using the gym is not a prerequisite for physical activity, but for some people, it might provide the motivation they need to stay active. The gym can be an intimidating place, especially if it is your first time going. It might feel like everyone is looking at you, or it might feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re not alone. Chances are a lot of people in the gym feel just as insecure about being there. Below are some tips that might help you feel more comfortable in a gym:

  • Consider going with a friend
    • Having someone by your side might help decrease any anxiety you’re feeling. A good friend is bound to help you laugh off any feelings of inadequacy.
  • Put in your headphones
    • Playing some music while working out can improve your mood and give you a boost. It can help you forget there are other people around you.
  • Get a personal trainer
    • It might be a good idea to have someone show you around. They can give you a few tips on how to use the equipment. They can also show you some workout routines. This can help boost your confidence.
    • You may think that getting a private trainer is expensive. However, look into your local recreation centres and see if they offer discounted training sessions for youth. Some centres have a service where they give you a free tour and explain how to use the equipment!

Finally, have fun with it! The gym might seem like a very intense place, full of extremely fit and focused people. However, don’t let that distract or intimidate you! Remind yourself that you are doing this for you. Set small realistic goals, grab a friend, put on some music, don’t take yourself too seriously, and get started.

Although being physically active could potentially change your physical appearance, the internal health benefits of moving your body far outweigh the outside changes you might notice. If you have concerns about your exercise habits, or your body image talk with your doctor.

Team Sports

There is a good chance that you have been introduced to a variety of physical activities through your school. Or perhaps you are involved in team sports or other youth sporting activities in your communities while growing up. If you are approaching the end of your ‘youth’ involvement (usually around the year you turn 18), it is a good time to think about where you can continue to be a part of a team! Almost every youth activity is continued into adulthood. So don’t feel that you have to give up something that you love. Take this transition time as a great opportunity to try something new!

Organized sports can be a great way to meet new people during transitions in your life. It can give you a sense of belonging and acceptance. It can also be a great way of maintaining accountability and motivation for your physical activity!

Another option is to stay connected to your youth sport. You can do this by becoming a volunteer, assistant coach, coach, or referee. There are many ways you can still contribute to help other young people enjoy something that was important to you as a young person.

Most cities have recreational or competitive team leagues for sports – hockey, soccer, basketball, and many others. Post-secondary schools also often have intermural leagues that you can join to continue your involvement. Most leagues have a “looking for a team” section. You can post your personal information and expect to be contacted. There may also be a “looking for players” section. This is where teams put a notice when they are hoping to have new members join. You could also connect with a teammate from your youth team. Going together on this new adventure can help make things feel easier.

There are too many options to list here but don’t be shy to look up what exists in your area.

Stay active! Stay healthy!

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact emergency services (9-1-1) now.