May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Started by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in 1983, this advocacy month is aimed at encouraging Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles.
May is not only National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, but it is also a great month to get moving!
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This observance month not only celebrates exercise and sport participation, but it also highlights the important benefits of being physically active, such as reducing your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
Exercise can also help reduce stress, improve your mood, and strengthen your bones and muscles. With spring in full force and summer just around the corner, it is a perfect time to get outside and explore your city.
Benefits of physical activity
Going on a walk or bike ride, trying rock-climbing, or even going for a swim at a local pool are great ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle. Find accessible parks or trails near you to get moving outside.
Have a fun, safe, and healthy summer by making physical activity a part of your daily routine.
A listing of some of the physical and mental health benefits accrued from becoming more physically active follows:
Some specific health benefits of physical activity include:
- Keeps your mind off cigarettes if you’re trying to quit
- Helps control your appetite
- Helps you lose weight if you’re overweight, or stay at a healthy weight
- Gives you more energy and stamina
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Increases your “good” HDL cholesterol level
- Reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke
- Helps control blood sugar by improving how your body uses insulin
Relieve stress, anxiety
Mental health benefits from regular physical activity can improve quality of life and relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression.
You may notice a “feel good” sensation immediately following your workout and also see an improvement in overall well-being over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of your life.
This can be especially important as we move back out into out into our former daily routines.
Physical activity can improve your mood and help you think more clearly, release stress, help calm you, improve your quality of sleep and help you feel better about how you look.
The focus of today’s column is primarily on some of the benefits of becoming more physically active as adults not to discount that same need for children.
Thanks to the ODPHP for much of the content provided for this column
Everyone needs physical activity to stay healthy. But it can be hard to find the time in your busy routine. The Move Your Way® tools from the U.S. Department of Health’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) provide tips that make it easier to get a little more active.
And small changes can add up to big health benefits!
Access the following resource from the ODPHP for fact sheets as well as videos on physical activity needs for adults as well as for children and teens at: health.gov.
Physical activity can make your daily life better. Read the fact sheet about physical activity for adults at health.gov.
It’s important to get a mix of activity types as you get older. Read the fact sheet about different activity types for older adults at health.gov.
Information on Leon County’s Parks and Recreation services is accessible at:
Mark A. Mahoney, Ph.D. has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 35 years and completed graduate studies in Nutrition & Public Health at Columbia University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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