November 30, 2009
Welcome to a new addition to the blog!
Once a week we will be posting a few links to current events, research, and other physical activity-related news-worthy items going on around the country. To kick off our News & Reports category this week we have new research on the cost of distributing tailored information about physical activity online vs. in print and news of a a new role for renowned golfer Annika Sorenstam. Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments:
November 17, 2009
As important as the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are, we know that simply telling people what they should do will not necessarily enable them to act. So, in 2007 I was excited when colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraged me to coordinate the process of developing a National Physical Activity Plan for the U.S. To best enable increases in population levels of physical activity, we must create environments that are conducive to being active. The National Physical Activity Plan will do just that. A primary goal of the Plan is to encourage policy makers to affect activity-supportive change at local, state and federal levels. Proper execution of the Plan will bring about the changes necessary to allow more Americans to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines.
Where did the impetus for the National Physical Activity Plan start? Over the past 15 years physical activity has assumed an increasingly high profile in the public health community…in the U.S. and worldwide. Key landmarks have included production of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1996 and release of the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. I was privileged to serve on the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, and so I believe I understand well the strengths and limitations of the Guidelines. Strengths include a very solid grounding in the pertinent scientific evidence and comprehensive recommendations for all segments of the American society. But, by design, the Guidelines do not address the changes that we need to make in our society to enable many more people to meet the Guidelines.
What changes will you make in your setting to increase the physical activity levels of your family members, friends and neighbors? How might you or your organization become involved in The Plan? If you’re not involved already and want to become so, please contact us.
November 12, 2009
A long time ago, I made a conscious decision to be more active and eat healthier over the holidays. I understand that this is something that many people have trouble doing, but by making increased physical activity part of a holiday tradition, it can actually become something that the whole family looks forward to.
As Professionals in physical activity, we should look at a variety of ways to assist people in becoming more active, and the holidays actually offer all kinds of creative and fun outlets to family physical activity. My wife and I ski every Thanksgiving Day, no matter what. And after the Thanksgiving meal, we ALWAYS take a two mile walk (regardless of the time, weather, or what is on TV). We also used to participate in some neat Y programs too (Huff and Puff while you Stuff was one of our favorites), and we gently persuaded any visiting family to join in these additional activities. If shopping is part of the upcoming holiday season, try what we do; park the car “a short hike” from the mall entrance to get some extra minutes of activity towards the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes per week of moderate activity. It’s almost become a game we play to see how many different things we can do (at a moderate intensity level) that last at least 10 minutes that count towards the 150 minute guideline.
Family traditions play a crucial role in the healthy or unhealthy choices a family makes about eating and physical activity, and with the holidays just around the corner, why not choose to start some healthy traditions this year. The YMCA has a great, free resource called Healthy Family Home, available at www.ymca.net/healthyfamilyhome. Healthy Family Home outlines all kinds of simple yet effect ways families can eat healthier, be more physically active and spend more time together. No matter what your role is in encouraging or leading physical activity, you’ll find all kinds of uses for YMCA Healthy Family Home.
The tips in YMCA Healthy Family Home work year round, but trying them out around the holidays may help jumpstart some new family traditions. Other suggestions include playing a vigorous game of touch football rather than watching TV Football Half-time reports. All of the tips in Healthy Family Home focus on small, simple things, that when combined, can have a positive effect on your family’s health and well-being. Check out YMCA Healthy Family Home. What are you doing to help create healthy family traditions?
Also visit our website at www.ymca.net