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Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Get Active and Stay Fit!

Physical Fitness and SportsMay is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Whether you’re a child, adolescent or adult, regularly participating in physical activity can benefit you. For children and adolescents, physical activity can improve muscular fitness and bone and heart health. Physical activity can lower the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in adults and for older adults, physical activity can lower the risks of falls and improve cognitive functions like judgment and learning. 

 

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Recommendations

Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. Some of your daily life activities—doing active chores around the house, yard work, walking the dog—are examples. To help Americans understand the types and amounts of physical activity that will benefit their health, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued the federal government's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  These guidelines recommend a total amount of physical activity per week to achieve a range of health benefits.

Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.
Moderate activity includes walking at a brisk pace, dancing, swimming and gardening. This can be done in 30 minute increments each day or in multiple sessions as short as 15 minutes.

Children and adolescents ages 6-17 should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.
Most of the daily physical activities should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least three days a week.

At least two days a week, do muscle strengthening activities. 
Target all the large muscle groups (legs, arms, shoulders and core) by lifting weights and using exercise bands. Children and adolescents should include muscle and bone strengthening physical activity three times a week.

 

Walking

Walking is a great physical activity with a number of health benefits. Taking a 30 minute walk, three times a week can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness, which helps improve lung and heart condition, and increases feelings of wellbeing. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some time.

Walking reduces stress.
Studies report that walking benefits your mood, and may even ward off depression and anxiety.

Walking can lower the risk of developing some diseases and medical conditions.
When compared to those who do not exercise, people who regularly walk have about a 50% lower risk of suffering from arthritis, having their vision affected by macular degeneration, and even being diagnosed with certain cancers.

Walking improves heart health.
People who walk on a regular basis have fewer heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure and higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol than couch potatoes.

Walking is a great physical activity to do as a family.
Make a plan to take a family walk after dinner at least 3-4 days a week. It is good bonding time while you get fit together. Take your dog or bring someone else’s for a great walking companion.

 

Playing Sports

Playing sports is a fun way to be active. Check out various programs in your community and join a team!

Join a fitness class for an aerobic workout that is fun!
Many community centers and fitness facilities offer a variety of classes, from step aerobics and floor exercises to Hip Hop and Zumba.

Dance at home.
When it is raining or too cold or too hot to go outdoors, put on some music and have a dance party at home with the kids. Dancing is a great, fun workout!


Last Reviewed: 4/24/13