April 2, 2016 I’M NOT REALLY INTO SPORTS, BUT…! Hi Brandon! I’d like your help with two problems. First, I’m only in 6th grade and I’m growing like a giraffe. I’m 5 feet 4 inches and I don’t mind being one of the tallest in my class. The problem is, as I’m getting taller, pains are forming in my body. My back aches a bit when I bend and my knees feel wobbly when I run. My shins also feel clunky and sore. My second problem is that I don’t do a lot of sports, but I still want to stay active. I’m more of an inside girl, snuggling with a book and warm tea. But, now I’m wondering if I should become more active to stretch out my muscles and exercise. The problem is…I hate sports and anything to do with them. Help! Julie the Giraffe Hi Julie! Thanks for writing to me! First of all, you should probably go see your doctor if you’re feeling pain in your body. My grandma would say you’re having “growing pains” and she might be right, but don’t take our word for it. Get that checked out! Even though I can’t give you medical advice, I wanted to answer your letter for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to say that there’s nothing wrong with being an inside person. Sports get a lot of attention, especially if you live in a town or go to a school where the sports teams are a big deal. But plenty of people would rather curl up with a good book than play (or watch) a team sport. So if that’s just who you are, don’t feel bad or stress about it. But, if you want to become more active for health reasons, there are lots of things you can do besides sports. I’m not too into sports myself, but there are plenty of things you can do to get moving. (And hey, you could listen to audiobooks while you do most of these, so you don’t have to give up any reading time!) Gardening – Gardening might seem like an old person’s activity, but I helped my grandpa weed out his vegetable beds last weekend and I’m still a little sore! It’s more physical than you’d think, but it can be a quiet, solitary activity, if that’s your thing. Dance or Yoga – If you want to try something in a group that will challenge your body, you might consider a dance class or yoga class. You can also find YouTube videos or DVDs at the library, if you want to try out dance or yoga by yourself at home. Walking, Jogging or Running – When my grandma sees joggers, she says she’s not running anywhere unless a bear is chasing her. But, I have an aunt who’s really into running—I even got to cheer her on at a marathon once! Running is cool because you can compete against yourself, always trying to improve your time. If you’ve got a dog, they’d love to go with you! Rollerskating, Rollerblading, Skateboarding or Scootering – If you want to go faster than your own feet can take you, get some wheels! Hiking or Geocaching – This might be getting way too outdoorsy for an indoorsy girl like you, but hear me out – even if you live in a big city, there’s probably some sort of trail or woodsy area to hike through. Being surrounded by all those trees can make a cool change! And if you want to mix it up, look into geocaching. It’s an activity that involves using the GPS on your phone to find hidden treasure boxes in all sorts of places all over the world! Swimming – If you’ve got access to a pool, like at a community center or YMCA, swimming is great exercise, and it can be especially great if you’re feeling klutzy and uncoordinated. Everyone’s graceful in the water! Martial Arts – This might seem like a sport, but it’s closer to a dance or yoga class. In Martial Arts, you’re focused on building your own skills, while you build strength and coordination and focus. Man, after thinking up all of those activities, I’ve inspired myself to put down my computer and get outside for a while. I think I might go really old school and climb a tree I’ve had my eye on! What do you guys think? How do you get moving if you’re not into sports? Tell us in the comments!