Be Active Your Way Blog
The summer months are upon us! As the days get longer and the weather heats up, take advantage of the extra hours of sunshine to get outdoors and be physically active with your friends, coworkers, and family. When heading outside for activity and fun in the sun this month, always remember to grab your sunscreen and a reusable water bottle to protect your skin from the summer sun and to keep your body hydrated.
This month, celebrate National Running Day on June 5 and National Get Outdoors Day on June 8!
How are you or your organization enjoying the great outdoors this month? E-mail us at email@example.com if you would like to contribute a blog post!
In his book, Microtrends, famed pollster Mark Penn concludes, “The power of individual choice has never been greater, and the reasons and patterns for those choices never harder to understand and analyze. The skill of microtargeting—identifying small, intense subgroups and communicating with them about their individual needs and wants—has never been more critical in marketing or in political campaigns.”
Penn identifies these subgroups as “microtrends,” which he describes as “an intense identity group, that is growing, which has needs and wants unmet by the current crop of companies, marketers, policymakers, and others who would influence society’s behavior.”
The concept of microtrends naturally makes me wonder: Are there microtrends in America that could, if fully appreciated by fitness marketers and programmers, decrease the high rates of leisure-time inactivity of Americans? Below, I’ve created a list of three possible microtrends that may be under leveraged by fitness advocates. The list is surely not exhaustive and each subgroup is already the target of some form of outreach, but my sense is that more could be done for these groups.
What do you think? Can more be done to target these subgroups? What are some other microtrends that could impact physical activity levels of Americans?
Primary Care Physicians Prescribing Exercise
In nearly every community in America, primary care physicians serve on the front lines in the battle against obesity, inactivity, and chronic disease management. And their influence is growing. Health system experts suggest that changes to the American health care system will require the hiring of 30,000 additional primary care physicians by 2015. Concurrently, influential health system thought leaders, such as Dr. Edward Phillips of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, have arranged events such as “White Coats, White Sneakers” to encourage more physicians to lead healthier lives. “The idea is to let the heath care providers set the pace,” says Dr. Phillips, “and let us encourage not just by asking or pointing or cajoling, but by saying ‘I’m making a change, follow me.’” These developments suggest that investing in the recruitment of a primary care physician to become more physically active may have wide benefits for the community.
I would argue that despite all the attention around “senior fitness,” individuals over 65 are still vastly under appreciated as a market, but here I am suggesting specifically “grandparents.” The vast majority of grandparents seem to perceive their grandchildren as deep and profound inspirations for vitality. Creative programming for this subgroup could focus, for example, on the physical capabilities necessary to keep up with a toddler, splash around with a preschooler, and/or cradle a newborn while standing or walking.
Individuals Diagnosed With Depression
According to Mental Health America, more than 19 million Americans suffer from depression each year and research indicates that exercise eases the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sadly, many sufferers feel compelled to keep their condition private, which may prevent them from obtaining the necessary help. Clearly, however, there is a greater need for outreach to Americans diagnosed or suffering from depression.
What are some other microtrends that could impact the physical activity rates of Americans?
Tags: Creative Programming, Marketing, Physical Activity
Physical activity is important for all ages. Our Recommended Guidelines suggest 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for children. Inactivity resulting from increased screen time in this digital age is on the rise, so it is more important than ever to stay active.
Children are active by nature, but busy schedules and sedentary hobbies often make it difficult to engage in recommended activity. Families can help re-light the fire to play by participating in fun physical activities together. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
10 Activites for Families
What is your favorite family activity?
Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is just around the corner in September. Visit www.coam-month.org to find out what you can do to change the childhood obesity trend.
Stay Active on Campus
No college student wants to experience the "freshman 15" or the "four-year 40" - both terms for the weight gain that is all too common in the college years. In high school, many students are very physically active through sports and other activities, and they have access to more nutritious meals at home and at school. Learning how to make health and wellness a priority is an important lesson that should be taught during college. Every student should leave college with a lifelong plan for fitness.
Exercise is Medicine on Campus is bridging the gap between health care, fitness and the campus population (students, faculty, and employees) to integrate physical activity into their daily regimen and improve the quality of life on campus. The goal is for all college students to learn proper physical activity habits that they can continue throughout life. Sonoma State University used EIMC's guiding principles to create a video informing the students about campus opportunities to stay active.
Stay Active at the Office
Many adults spend most of their day sitting. A typical office worker will sit while commuting and working, during lunch and breaks, and in the evening upon returning home. In a world with an abundance of sitting opportunities, it is no wonder inactivity is on the rise.
It may be easier to become inactive on the job, but that does not mean there isn't ample opportunity to get moving in the office. So what can you do?
All of these activities are simple, inexpensive changes that create a healthier work environment. None is easier than increasing how often you walk. People who walk are three times more likely to reach the physical activity guidelines, even if only done 10 minutes at a time. You can easily measure your daily walking by wearing an inexpensive pedometer (often $5 or less). Aim for 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.
For more information on the benefits of walking, check out Every Body Walk!. I challenge you to walk at least 30 minutes per day. How are you getting your activity in?
Tags: physical activity, creative programming, campus, office, families
Creative programming | Exercise is Medicine | Physical Activity and Employers
Some adults think kids have it easy. It’s easier and generally acceptable for kids to be outside playing, whether it be shooting hoops, playing ball, riding a bike, throwing a Frisbee, making up games, or just messing around. For most kids, getting outside to play is fun, easy, inexpensive, and something they can do every day with their friends. All that unstructured playing adds up, and it is the only way some kids come close to meeting the weekly dosage of physical activity according to the published guidelines. Although not all kids have access to safe outdoor play spaces, or enjoy these activities, many do, and kids certainly outnumber adults. Have adults lost their interest in play? Is there a creative way to get adults out to play in the same activities they did as kids? Can we help sedentary adults inch closer to the Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) through these traditional activities?
YMCA of the USA threw this challenge out to a select group of Ys. What can you do to get kids, and their parents, outdoors, to play every day? This group of Ys did some experimenting with various activities. Although the activities were facilitated by the Y, the activities were co-designed with the actual target audience, and organized every week by Y staff and the participants themselves. Once a week during the summer months, kids and their parents came together to play. Bike riding, games around a campfire, nature hikes, soccer or kickball – all helped these children, teens, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers increase the number of minutes of physical activity to get closer to, or surpass the reccomendations from the PAG.
Can’t forget to mention the important family bonding that occurred through these activities. While the Ys goal was indeed to increase the physical activity levels of everyone involved through play, we helped create the motivation by building connections and friendships between the families, especially child to child and parent to parent. We created a welcoming atmosphere where fun and sweat were valued over skill or winning so that everyone felt they could participate.
For eight weeks last summer, and five weeks (and counting) this summer, Ys have been stirring the interests of kids and their families to come up with fun and enjoyable (but not necessarily new) ideas to get active, and play. And it has worked. In community parks, local swimming pools, school ball fields, and city sidewalks, families are coming together with other families, to enjoy outdoor activities of their choosing, all with the goal of getting more physical activity.
We don’t have a name for any of these programs. Overall we call it Play Every Day Outdoors. All it took was organizational commitment to the PAG, a willingness to engage local families, and an open mind to try a variety of activities.
The adults told us about how much fun they were having, especially playing with their kids. Maybe kids don’t really have it easier to just go out and play. We just think they do.
What activities, old or new, do you think you can use to get more folks active and achieving the P.A. recommendations? What kind of play would you enjoy with your family, every day, outdoors?
Tags: Physical activity, Recreation, Playing outdoors
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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