May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, a great time to get active! During the month of May, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition challenges all adults to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Regular activity boosts physical health and increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life- including reducing your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer… AND regular exercise also provides mental health benefits including improving mood, promoting better quality sleep, increased energy, sharper memory and thinking, and much more!
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition general guidelines recommend that adults:
- Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
- Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights or using exercise bands – at least 2 days a week.
Physical activity is for everyone! No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May and continue throughout the entire year! Here are 5 small steps you can take to increase physical activity during your daily routine:
- Take a walk! Whether it be by yourself, with a neighbor, coworker, with the family pet, etc. make time to take brisk walks regularly. Spending time outside can be relaxing and energizing; if spent with others, it can also create a great time to communicate and connect.
- Visit a local gym or fitness studio. Many studios and gyms offer FREE introductory classes and/or short-term trial memberships. Visit different studios and gyms to see which you like best. You are more likely to stick to a regular exercise routine if you enjoy the activity and format.
- Play! Let your inner child out and engage in physical play with your children, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc. Kids love it when adults play games with them. From playing tag to Frisbee, there are many games you can play at a local park or even in your backyard.
- Avoid conveniences. Increase your physical activity by taking the stairs instead of using the elevator, parking further away from store entrances, when you run your errands walk between the different stores/stops, etc. You’d be surprised how small steps can make a big difference.
- Use technology. Download a fitness app or use a fitness tracker. There are many fitness programs with downloadable apps which can guide you in exercise and physical activity you can do from the comfort of your own home. Some of our favorites include the Couch to 5k and the 7 Minute Workout Challenge. Our office particularly enjoys incorporating fitness trackers. Many phones can track your steps and physical activity, or you can also buy a fitness tracker- we love our Fitbits! We use them to track our daily steps, and love competing with each other in challenges. We are better able to monitor our levels of physical activity (or lack thereof) and can be more intentional in taking breaks and walking to get our steps in and get moving.