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Making healthy choices

by Annie Brinson

The truth.

We all come in different shapes and sizes. Eating carrots at every meal is not going to make you Angelina Jolie. Eating fast food isn’t either. To feel good, stay healthy, and keep growing, teens need balance in their daily life. That means getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right.

We know it can be hard to do, but starting out simple and slow can get you on the right track. That’s where your family and friends come in. Find one person, adult or peer, who wants to change, too.

Talk to them. Share some ideas.

For example, eat an orange instead of a bag of chips; or celery with peanut butter in exchange for that candy bar.

Make an exercise plan. Walk. Go to the gym. Find a friend who has weights at home. Whatever it is, just get moving.

Be good to yourself. We as teens have a lot going on. Having no sleep, bad food and no circulation in our bodies doesn’t help.

So you want to get fit?

Here’s how to get started and keep going.

Buddy up: In whatever exercise you choose to do, be it running, walking, swimming or going to the gym, it’s important to find a friend or group of friends who will keep up your stamina. It’s easy to do something steadily for a week and then drop it. Buddies will keep you going, and you’ll end up pushing each other every day to complete the workout until it becomes a pattern.

Start slow: Don’t kill yourself during the first workout to burn off that ice cream you ate last night or the doughnut you savored this morning. You’ll get sore and not want to work out for a week afterward. This ruins the pattern.

Build steady: Start at something that’s fairly easy for you and your workout partner to complete. If you’re running or walking, choose a destination for you to reach, remembering that you also have to return to your starting point. Increase your time or destination every week by about five minutes. This should be an easy and steady progression. Just plan on it getting easier!

Eat right: If you find you need a snack before the workout, eat light. This is very important because if you eat something oily or fatty that doesn’t digest well, then you’ll feel crummy the whole workout, and it won’t be fun. Whole-wheat bread with honey (no butter) and fruit is always safe.

Aftermath: A pattern will form. Your body will adapt to exercising, and you’ll be on your way.

Ask Annie

Q: Is running better than walking?

A: It depends on what you are looking for. They are both awesome when it comes to burning calories. Per mile, they are about the same but obviously walking takes a little longer. Walking is better on the knees, but running gets you in better cardiovascular shape (better heart workout) because it is harder.

Q: Is it good to drink soda after you exercise?

A: Skip the soda, even though you might feel like rewarding yourself after your workout. Go for the water. This will replenish your body and flush out all the impurities. You will be ready for the next workout.

If you’re a runner

Experienced people always find new ways to excel at things. I believe it is their jobs to teach and pass on their knowledge to help the rest of us become better. In order for runners (or any athletes for that matter) to become successful and reach their goals, they must adapt to the strains training puts on the body. Many of you, I’m guessing, are now nodding your heads in agreement. You have all been hurt, sore or just plain irritated at certain times in your training period. Here are some tricks from other athletes that have helped them and may help you. Read up and heal up.

Muscle Cramps: Drink pickle juice. This will help with the electrolyte deficiency you are experiencing.

Nosebleed: Insert Vaseline and eat Jell-O or take gelatin capsules. Your nose bleeds due to a blood vessel that bursts because of the dry Nevada climate. Vaseline will soothe and allow for the spot to heal. Gelatin will build up the weak area in your nose.

Blister: Rub lanolin or Body Glide on area before every workout. Fleet Feet, $5. Blisters occur due to friction and can be prevented if you apply lubricant to the rubbing spots before every activity.

Little aches and pains: Ice, Ice, Ice. With ice pack and strap from Body Glove Copeland’s, $10. Any pain has potential to become an injury. Icing brings more blood to the area and helps the body heal itself faster. Ice on and off every 10 minutes.

Motivational movies

“Watch Prefontaine!” – It’s as incredibly inspiring movie if you’re a runner. You’ll find yourself watching it before every meet or race. It gets you pumped! You’ll fall in love with Steve Prefontaine.

“Chariots of Fire” – Another great running movie that will lift your spirits and make you want to run like crazy down a beach or at least sing the opening song every time your bare feet touch the sand.

“4 minutes” – A story for those track milers about running the first four-minute mile. It lets you know just how unpredictable and amazing the human body really is. Its limits exceed our wildest dreams.

• Eighteen-year-old Annie Brinson has been active all her life. She runs, swims and skis. She knows how good it feels to be in shape, and believes everyone can feel that way.