A study shows taking part in frequent extra-curricular activities will make sure you keep the flab at bay Take up a new sport and you could protect yourself against becoming overweight, according to new research from the John Hopkins University in Maryland, US. The study published in this month's issue of Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine followed 3,345 teens in 1996. They were asked to record their body weight and their school and extra-curricular activities. Their weight was recorded again five years later. The study found that 941 teens were overweight in 1996. Of these, 838 (89 per cent) were still overweight five years later. Of the 2,404 'normal weight' teens in 1996, 855 (about 36 per cent) became overweight adults during the five-year period. The researchers found that adolescents taking part in school and extra-curricular sporting activities three or more times a week were less likely to become overweight as adults. The risk was reduced by 48 per cent for those taking part in rollerblading, skateboarding or cycling more than four times a week, and by 20 per cent for those taking part in school-based activities three or four times a week such as football, soccer, swimming, basketball and softball. Rollerblading is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that gets your heart pumping and the muscles using oxygen. Health experts recommend that we exercise for half an hour everyday. Furthermore, the American Heart Association suggests that teens give their hearts a good workout for 20 minutes without stopping, at least three times a week. Your heart will become stronger and better at supplying oxygen to every part of your body. Cardiovascular or aerobic ('with air') exercise not only improves heart function but also lowers blood pressure, increases 'good' cholesterol, lowers 'bad' blood cholesterol and helps to reduce body fat. Did you know that a person weighing 120lbs rollerblading leisurely for 30 minutes around a circuit or park will burn off 216 Calories? Where to go rollerblading in Hong Kong Lai Chi Kok Park on Lai Wan Road in Mei Foo or rollerblading circuit in Victoria Park. Don't go without your safety gear: helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads and kneepads are a must!