A multi-year study at Tufts University found that students who exercised at least three days a week reported higher levels of happiness and better concentration on school work than those of students who didn’t exercise. Who would have thought that exercising daily could help you improve your grades? Your work productivity? Your happiness?

But (and there is always a “but”) there’s a problem. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends teens get one hour of vigorous exercise in everyday, and most teens do not meet this goal. This lack of exercise can be attributed to technology, reliance on cars, or cutbacks to physical education classes in some schools. But no matter the reason, the lack of exercise teens get these days has led to issues that affect us all. Teen obesity rates have more than tripled in the last 40 years and cases of type 2 diabetes in teens has skyrocketed as well. The issue with teens’s physical health has been a hot topic for the last couple of years, with celebrities like Michelle Obama and the NFL trying to spread awareness. Now it is PEA’s turn.

The reasons to exercise regularly are endless. The fact that exercise gets you out in the fresh air helps to clear your head after a long, hard day of work. Exercise also gives you time to hang out with your friends and make new ones. At Phillips Exeter, friends are made not only in class, but out on the fields and in the quad through a game of frisbee. Daily exercise reduces stress which is why students who exercise on a regular basis do better in school than those who don›t. There is many other benefits to regular physical activities like football, soccer, or other sports. They help improve your stamina and agility. Stamina is one’s ability to participate in exercise for a long period of time. Agility is your ability to be nimble and change directions quickly. This is very good for your physical and mental health. It affects your mental health by making you feel good as your body gets more accustomed to the physical exercise and your stamina increases. Increasing your stamina and agility will allow you to perform better in sports, whether you’re playing competitively or just having fun with friends (which can get pretty competitive too).

Additionally, regular exercise gives you energy. Studies have shown, countless times, that people who exercise daily have more focus and energy. In fact, most researchers have concluded that exercising daily can have a greater effect on fatigue than stimulant drugs like Adderall. We all want to do better in school. We take SAT prep courses and spend hours studying for finals, but if we could spend just one hour exercising the effect on our school work could be tremendous.

We want to change this culture of couch-sitting. Not just in Exeter but in every country that sends students here for the summer. We want students here to take what they learned about the importance of daily exercise back to their countries of origin. So we have hatched a plan (no maniacal laugh needed). We would like to introduce the 2015 PEA Fit Week! (Queue Fireworks and dramatic music).

Now, we understand that exercise doesn’t make you want to  jump out of your chair in excitement and that we would rather sit on the couch and watch Netflix, but the Hamm group has been working on creating a week full of fun and energy. As you have seen on flyers, we will be organizing different activities for each day. The week begins on Sunday July 26th with a push-up and plank competition on the McConnell Lawn at 6:30 pm. Next, on Monday July 27th a Zumba/aerobic dance class will be held on the McConnell Lawn at 6:30 pm. Tuesday we invite every student to participate in a giant capture the flag game in front of the Academy Building at 6:30 pm. Thursday we will be hosting a volleyball tournament at 6:30 (location TBD). Team registration will be available for the tournament at any of the earlier events, but is not necessary, just show and play if you want! Lastly, Friday a school-wide 3 v 3 soccer tournament will be held in front of the Academy Building starting at 6:30 pm. (Same registration rules as the v-ball tournament). We hope for it to be a fun, exciting, and simple way to a healthy lifestyle and the start to the recognition of the importance of our health. See you there!