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  Exercise fact file
Updated 15 December 2004, 11.51
Ukraine's Anatoliy Tymoschuk and England's David Beckham battle for the ball during an international friendly
Research shows that to stay healthy you should exercise for up to 30 minutes, five days a week. Below is a list of activities and the calories each of them burn in half an hour.

Stair climbing = 163 calories. Even simple things like taking the stairs instead of the lift can be a way of accumulating your weekly dose of activity.

Cycling = 118 calories. By cycling to school and back you will double the amount of exercise but remember to wear a helmet.

Football = 125 calories. A full 90-minute match will burn a massive 375 calories. This versatile sport can be played indoors and outside and with five-a-side you don't need to find as many players.

At the gym = 101 calories. Gyms have qualified instructors who can to teach you how to exercise safely and advise you on the exercise which best suits you. This means absolutely anyone can join in.

Jogging = 180 calories. This sport only requires a decent pair of running shoes and a little enthusiasm.

Tennis = 146 calories. Racquet sports such as tennis, badminton, squash and racquetball develop your skill, stamina, strength, power and reaction time.

Swimming = 160 calories. Swimming just a few lengths tones up most of the major muscles in your body. Research suggests you use up 25 per cent more calories moving through water than you would if you were moving on land.

Walking = 90 calories. Walking improves the condition of your heart, lungs and lower body muscles. Try walking to school or getting off the bus a stop early on the way home and walking the rest of the way.

Tai chi = 72 calories. Martial arts such as tai chi develop strength and flexibility, balance and good posture. They also help to relieve stress.

Dance = 91 calories. All kinds of dance, from ballet to street dance, are good for your heart, lungs and balance.

To stay healthy it is important to exercise. But this needn't mean sweating it out. Any physical activity, no matter how small, is better then none.

What exercise does for your body

Physical activity is necessary to stimulate the body's own natural maintenance and repair system.

Your bones, joints and muscles - especially your heart - will actually stay younger if you keep them busy.

If you are not physically active you are more likely to suffer from heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, breathlessness, a flabby body, low energy levels, stiff joints, bone problems, poor posture and being overweight.

The three main components of being physically fit are stamina, strength and suppleness.

With stamina you have a slower more powerful heartbeat and will be able to keep going without gasping for breath.

Strength comes from having well-toned muscles. When your shoulder, trunk and thigh muscles are toned-up you will not experience strains and injuries as often.

Developing suppleness or flexibility in the muscles in your neck, spine and joints will prevent sprains or pulled muscles and tendons. You will also be less likely to experience aches and pains from stiff joints.

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