DR. WALLACE: I need to start exercising. I'm 15 and already starting to put on a few extra pounds. I want to look trim and fit, not overweight.
My best friend has a swimming pool in her backyard and has invited me to use it to work out. She swims almost every day, and she has a beautiful figure. I'm not an expert swimmer, but I can swim. My brother keeps telling me that swimming is good exercise, but it puts a huge amount of stress on the muscles. If that's true, maybe I should start jogging or doing something else to exercise properly. What do you suggest? — Anonymous, Miami
ANONYMOUS: Swimming is indeed a great method of exercise. Almost every muscle gets a workout during a swim. Of course, not everyone has access to a pool, especially when the weather is cool. Jogging (on grass or a school track) is also an excellent form of exercise, and no special skill is required. Skipping rope is an exercise that also helps improve coordination and can be done in a small area when the weather is unfavorable. And don't forget bicycling. A one-hour ride burns about 650 calories.
Exercise is very important, and when it's also fun, you've got the best of both worlds. Get started exercising in the pool very soon. Swimming for 30 minutes four times per week should bring you your desired results.
SEEK HELP FROM TRUSTED LOCAL ADULTS
DR. WALLACE: You once wrote: "Running away from home is never a solution to a family problem; it only compounds it."
I don't like your word "never." What about that teen that is being abused both physically and sexually by a stepfather? That's what was happening to my best friend, and after discussing it with me, we both agreed the best thing she could do was to run away with her boyfriend and start a new life in another location. You should never say never! P.S. I don't even know where they are these days — Worried Friend, Oakland, California
WORRIED FRIEND: Your friend was in a dangerous situation and clearly needed to leave her home as soon as possible, but I fear she may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Her best bet would have been to find shelter with a friend or relative — and to notify the proper authorities. Her stepfather was engaging in criminal behavior and should have faced the consequences in our legal system.
I know that some teens face drastic situations at home and have no other option but to leave. But they shouldn't try to face the world on their own. It can be a cold, cruel place for a runaway. I truly hope your friend and her boyfriend are safe. But never would I encourage a teen to run away from home. Seeking help from responsible local adults is always a better option.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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