Lynchburg, VA - We have all heard about the dangers of childhood obesity, but the dangers of children not getting enough exercise can be just as bad. A new national study says more than half of teens age 12 to 15 are considered physically unfit. The unfit teen numbers involve cardiovascular fitness, not just being thin or obese. Whether playing basketball or climbing on the playground, adults like Mike Loflin know how important it is for his grandson Nicholas to exercise in the summer. "We come about two or three times a week here...we love to get him out, he plays soccer, and I told him this is a good way to stay in shape," Loflin said. A new study from the CDC says only one half of teenage boys and only one third of teenage girls are considered physically fit. Experts like Leslie Hoglund say this is when kids should be developing healthy lifestyle habits. "Twelve to 15 year olds are at a stage in life when their body is changing, and this is the time when developing life-long fitness habits are really important," Hoglund said. The CDC Report states that more than 600 teenagers had their cardiovascular fitness tested on a treadmill. The better the heart and lungs can move blood to supply muscles during exercise, the more physically fit a person is. For teens who are still growing, being physically fit can have many other benefits. "Their brains are functioning well, they'll sleep better, they tend to eat better, they won't be as impulsive with eating," Hoglund said. With plenty of summer activities around, Hoglund says 60 minutes of physical activity every day can set-up kids for better health. "That doesn't mean you go out and run a marathon or do something really big or crazy. It's just simply going outside for a walk, or playing a pickup game of soccer," Hoglund added. If it's just too hot, there are always a wide variety of indoor activities, like indoor rock climbing, basketball, or simple exercise in the house. Hoglund says social exercising, like pick-up games and family walks, also make great ways to keep the entire family physically fit.
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