Happy National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! In 1983, the President’s Council on Fitness assigned this designation to the month of May to help promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.
There are so many reasons to be active. Regular physical activity is essential for good health and may help you live longer. It can help control weight, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your mental health and mood. Physical activity can also decrease your risk of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some types of cancer.
Physical activity guidelines
How much exercise do you need? While each individual’s ability varies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued standardized guidelines in 2008 to help us understand the types and amount of physical activity that will offer long-term benefits. They are:
- Children and young adults (ages 6-17) should engage in at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity every day. This should include vigorous physical activity at least three days per week.
- Adults (ages 18-64) should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week; 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity; or a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity. Aerobic physical activity should take place in intervals of at least 10 minutes. At least two days per week, you should also do strengthening exercises involving all major muscle groups.
- Older adults (65 and older) should strive to follow adult guidelines. If this isn’t possible due to health conditions, you should remain as physically active as possible.
Finding time for fitness
We all lead busy lives, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find time for fitness — especially because it’s so important to our health. Here are simple tips to increase your level of activity.
- Do housework yourself, instead of hiring someone.
- Work in the garden or use a push mower on your lawn.
- Go for a brisk walk before breakfast, after dinner, or both. Start with 10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes or longer.
- Walk or bike whenever possible instead of driving.
- While watching TV, stretch or use an exercise machine. Ditch the remote and get up to change stations
- Stand or walk, while on the phone.
- Walk or jog with your dog.
- Park in the farthest possible spot at the mall or other destinations.
- Walk to work or park further away.
- Stand while talking on the phone.
- Use a stand-up desk.
- Walk to a co-worker’s office, instead of emailing or calling.
- Brainstorm project ideas and plans, while walking together as a team.
- Take the stairs, not the elevator.
- Walk on your break or during lunch.
- Team up with co-workers to encourage each other to be active.
- Join or start a group recreation league.
- When traveling, choose hotels with a pool or fitness center.
- Schedule exercise time on your calendar and treat it as an important appointment.
- Join a club near your job to make before- or after-work, or lunch-hour work-outs easier.
Be active this month, every month.
At Healics, we’re excited to recognize National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Yet in reality, we celebrate physical fitness all year round. Every day, our coaches work with participants at more than 500 employers across the U.S. to help individuals increase their level of physical activity to lead healthier, happier, more vibrant lives.
This month is the perfect time to kick-start your activity level and begin important health habits that will benefit you for the rest of your life. If you don’t already, follow Healics on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to get ongoing fitness and other health and wellness news.
If you are an employer of any size — from two to 10,000 — call us today at 1-800-Healics to find out how we can motivate your employees to embrace physical activity and achieve wellness goals that can help them live longer and happier lives.