Today’s post is related to this month’s earlier posts on National Backyard Games Week, National Safe Boating Week, and National Bike Month – it’s Physical Fitness & Sports Month, encouraging Americans to get active and play in May! Although the first week in May was officially National Physical Education and Sport Week, it’s never too late to start getting in shape. The summer months provide a great opportunity to encourage physical activity in the pursuit of happier, healthier, and more productive lives.
There are lots of fun ways to get your heart pumping and your muscles moving! But despite the many health benefits associated with daily exercise, many Americans do not participate in regular physical activity. To promote youth physical activity, the Center for Disease Control and several partner organizations developed the Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services developed Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults , describing the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans aged 18-64.
One way to make physical activity part of your daily life is to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which allows people of all ages to receive presidential recognition for being active.* The six-week program motivates participants to log daily physical activities they enjoy like gardening, walking the dog, taking a bike ride after dinner, or playing a game of basketball at the park. The idea is that when you’ve logged six weeks of physical activity, you will have started a regular routine for a more active lifestyle. Log on to the President’s Challenge to start your own physical activity program.
*The physical activity requirements for PALA: youth (6-17 years old) need to be active at least 60 minutes a day (or 12,000 steps for boys and girls); and adults (18 and older) need to be active for 30 minutes (or 8500 steps) for five days a week for six out of eight weeks. The definition of “activity” is fairly simple: it’s any movement that uses large muscle groups as opposed to sitting or lying down. Physical activity doesn’t have to be continuous to be healthy, either. Doing chores around the house counts! Click here for a list of activities that meet physical fitness goals.
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition offers a Physical Fitness Test that measures the physical fitness of kids and teens, and an Adult Fitness Test that measures an adult’s aerobic fitness, muscular strength, flexibility, and other aspects of health-related fitness.
Join the Active Play PALA+ Challenge! The Active Play PALA+ Challenge is a collaborative effort between the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Through this innovative partnership, video gamers can earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by logging their active video game activity online. Passively playing video games doesn’t count, but ACTIVE GAMING definitely counts! Click here to see which video games are truly “active.”
SEE ALSO: Kids Running – The “Happy Feet, Healthy Food” First Fitness Log for Kids can be ordered here, or join the “Happy Feet, Healthy Food” kids running club. Help your children start a lifetime of exercise and healthy eating!