Because the month of May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we want to talk about how important it is to take care of our bodies by being active. President Dwight Eisenhower started the Presidents Council on Youth Fitness back in 1956, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that our youngsters were as physically fit as their European counterparts. Through the years, different Presidents have given the project various titles, always emphasizing fitness of young people, followed later by promoting physical fitness of all ages.
According to findings by the following: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of the Surgeon General, Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, we want to highlight some valuable information.
- The ideal requirement for adults (18 or older) is 30 minutes of physical activity for 5 or more days per week, and children and teens should get 60 minutes of activity every day for their health. Thirty to sixty minutes of activity may be broken into smaller segments of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day to count toward your total exercise time.
- Physically inactive people are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among U.S. men and women.
- Inactivity and poor diet can lead to overweight/obesity. This increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, gallbladder, respiratory, diabetes, and other serious health problems. Nearly 60 million Americans are obese. Sixteen per cent of children and teens aged 6 to 19 are now 3 times more overweight in 2002, than in 1980. The number of overweight children ages 2 to 5 has doubled since 1980.
- Not all high school students participate in regular school physical education. It is important that schools emphasize the need for physical education.
- A study done by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE,) shows that infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.
- One-fourth of U.S. children spend 4 hours or more watching television daily.
In the old days, we would play outside with neighborhood kids until our parents called us in for supper (dinner). We rode our bikes, roller-skated, played hopscotch, and did all kinds of activities, simply having fun, not knowing it would possibly have health benefits in later years.
Not all kids are into sports, but parents can do things with them, like taking them bowling, playing miniature golf, or doing other fun things that keep them moving. It’s good for mom and dad, too! By showing them there’s more to life than playing video games for hours, texting on a cell phone all day, or sitting in front of the television or computer, they will develop healthy habits for the rest of their lives.
It’s never too late for us grownups to locate a fitness center. Just taking thirty or forty minutes out of your day to work out, or take a daily walk (cost is free), will be worth the effort. Many companies and schools provide places for employees and students to exercise. You don’t have to be a professional athlete, just get out those jogging shoes or barbells and see if you don’t feel better! Last, but not least, choose healthy foods.