Rise to the
Make physical activity
part of your life
The month of May has been designated National Physical Fitness and Sports Month to raise awareness of the importance of active living. Many organizations, communities, and schools have joined with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) to challenge Americans to get active, get fit, and eat well throughout the month of May – and, of course, for the rest of their lives. May is the month to begin to set those great health habits for the new you.
Physical activity is an essential part of a being health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) recommends that adults get at least 2½ hours of moderately to vigorously intense physical activity each week. You can spread this activity out over easy 30-minute increments, five days a week. Or you can choose from many activities and can accumulate activities in bouts of 10 minutes. The HHS also advises doing muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week. The health benefits of regular physical activity can be remarkable. Regular physical activity can:
- Help you maintain a healthy weight
- Lower your cholesterol
- Lower your blood pressure
- Strengthen muscles and bones
- Reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and obesity
Regular physical activity can also help your mental health. Often, when you're low, regular physical activity can pick you up; or, if you're anxious, physical activity can calm you down as you recover from your fitness return.
There are even intangible benefits of participating in fitness activities, including:
- Providing an opportunity to connect with others
- Lifting your spirits
- Giving you a new outlook on a problem or project
Health benefits can be gained through simple everyday tasks, such as raking leaves, cleaning the house, or walking the dog. Even 30 minutes a day, broken up into shorter increments of 10 or 15 minutes, can greatly improve your health. For more ideas of easy ways to add activity in your day and to calculate if it's enough to meet the PAG, visit our Physical Activity page.
Making Room for Sports
Sports can give a big boost to the amount of physical activity in your life. You can choose individual activities like: biking, running, swimming, or hiking. Or, you may want to celebrate your social—and perhaps more competitive—side by joining a team or a club. Research your local community to find adult teams to join such as: soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, football, tennis, or even Ultimate Frisbee.
You may also be able to catch a pick-up game at your local parks department or gym. You can find “meet-up” groups on the Internet for other sports enthusiast s in your area. There are also classes. This is a great way to introduce yourself to a new sport and skill set.
So, whatever activity or sports that you choose, remember to check with your physician first, and take care to slowly warm up your muscles and joints before you start any strenuous activity. Also, give yourself time to cool down and gently stretch when you’re finished. And, most of all, pick something you truly enjoy and do it regularly. Rise to the challenge!