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May is Physical Activity Month

Since 1983, May has been observed as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Individuals and organizations everywhere have joined in the fun to promote awareness of the value of physical activity in the pursuit of happier, healthier, more productive lives.
What can physical activity do for you?  You may have heard the good things you can gain from regular physical activity:

  • Be healthier
  • Increase chances of living longer
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Have less chance of becoming depressed
  • Sleep better at night
  • Help you look good
  • Be in shape
  • Get around better
  • Have stronger muscles and bones
  • Help you stay at or get to a healthy weight
  • Be with friends or meet new people
  • Enjoy life more and have fun
Did you know when you are not physically active, you are more likely to:

  • Get heart disease
  • Get type 2 diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Have a stroke
How much physical activity do you need each week?  Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate effort.   You need to do this type of activity for at least 10 minutes at a time.  Children should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day.
Adults should also do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.  Strengthening activities include push-upson the floor or against the wall, sit-ups, lifting weights, heavy gardening (digging, shoveling) and working with resistance bands (long, wide rubber strips that stretch).  Children benefit from muscle strengthening activities 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes (per day).
Getting Started:  Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do more. If you have not been active for a while, start out slowly. After several weeks or months, build up your activities—do them longer and more often.
Walking is one way to add physical activity to your life. When you first start, walk 10 minutes a day on a few days during the first couple of weeks.
Add more time and days. Walk a little longer. Try 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes. Then walk on more days a week.
Pick up the pace. Once this is easy to do, try walking faster. Keep up your brisk walking for a couple of months. You might want to add biking on the weekends for variety. 
Do it your way.

  • Pick an activity you like and one that fits into your life.
  • Find the time that works best for you.
  • Be active with friends and family. Having a support network can help you keep up with your program.
  • There are many ways to build the right amount of activity into your life. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.
Plan your activity for the week.  Physical activity experts say that spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, do each activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. There are many ways to fit in 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day, for 5 days.  On the other 2 days, do activities to keep your muscles strong. Find ways that work well for you.  The important point is to make physical activity a part of your life style, and a part of your life.
Is something still holding you back?  Think about reasons why you have not been physically active. Then try to come up with some ways to get past what is keeping you from getting active. 
Have you said to yourself, “I haven't been active in a very long time.”   Solution: Choose something you like to do. Many people find walking helps them get started. Before you know it, you will be doing more each day.
“I don't have the time”.   Solution: Start with 10-minute chunks of time a couple of days a week. Walk during a break. Dance in the living room to your favorite music. It all adds up.
“It costs too much”.   Solution: You don't have to join a health club or buy fancy equipment to be active. Play tag with your kids. Walk briskly with your dog for 10 minutes or more.

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month shines a spotlight on the important role physical activity plays in our Nation's health and wellness.  Participation in sports can strengthen both body and mind, and all kinds of active pastimes can help improve physical and mental well being.  Let us reaffirm our commitment to leading active lives and fostering healthy homes and communities for the next generation. 


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