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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute a blog post!
The True Meaning of Sedentary
The start of a new year sparks considerable conversation on losing weight, exercising more, and eating a healthier diet. While these are great stepping stones to leading a healthier lifestyle, they may not be enough to ward off chronic health conditions and mortality. Recent research findings are revealing that sitting too much during the day can be detrimental to an individual's health regardless of whether or not they meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Today's society is consumed with advanced technology and a focus on convenience, which ultimately contributes to sedentary lifestyles among Americans. Fortunately, this sedentary lifestyle can be counteracted by adding in more movement throughout the day.
Health of People with Disabilities
There are approximately 54 million Americans with some type of disability. This amounts to about 20% of the population. Many consider health and disability and oxymoron, but in fact, persons with disabilities can lead healthy, active lifestyles when given the appropriate inclusive environment to succeed. The rate of obesity is far greater for both children and adults with disabilities than for the general population. 56% of people with disabilities do not engage in any leisure time physical activity, and 87% of people with disabilities experience at least one secondary condition. Self-reported health status is classified as poor in 37% of persons with disabilities compared to 8% in persons without disabilities. Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior is a national epidemic, but noticed more particularly in persons with disabilities due to few health professionals promoting regular physical activity for persons with disabilities, and a lack of community and health promotion programs inclusive of persons with disabilities. In order to develop a healthy, inclusive community, health messaging must include persons with disabilities. Below are strategies for creating an action plan to combat sedentary behavior and physical inactivity for everyone by adding movement in to the daily routine.
An Action Plan for Everyone
Simple adjustments to the daily routine can help make activity a default versus just an option. Get going and move more for an overall better health status.
In the workplace
In daily life
The Big Picture
Aside from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommended amount of physical activity per week, it is imperative that individuals simply move more throughout the day to reduce sedentary behavior and its associated health detriments. The Physical Activity Pyramid is a great way to start assessing daily movement levels in all individuals. Looking at physical activity in these categories makes it seem more attainable and included as a factor in every person's life. Now take a stand for a better health by moving more and getting active!
Tags: physical activity, sedentary, lifestyle changes, action plan, physical activity pyramid
Active Advice | Exercise is Medicine | People with Disabilities
As a trade association for fitness centers, IHRSA is responsible for creating and fostering an industry marketplace for creative programming. A particularly robust segment of that marketplace relates to youth programming in health clubs. Ideas are swirling about engagement, program design, and how to collaborate with communities to fill gaps left by budget cuts to recess and physical education.
To the surprise of policymakers, the health club market is already serving millions of American children.
In fact, IHRSA surveys indicate:
IHRSA recently profiled several clubs offering youth programming. One club, for example, reported great success and engagement with age-appropriate versions of historically adult programs, such as yoga, Zumba, boxing, mixed martial arts, and triathlon clinics. Other notable programs include physical education classes, after school “active” care, climbing wall sessions, suspension training, tumbling classes, group cycling, and even cooking classes.
In earlier posts, we’ve noted that health clubs provide a safe location, supportive environment, and a variety of options for meaningful physical activity, but behavior research points to additional benefits for children.
For example, family health club memberships can positively influence and reinforce healthy behaviors of both children and adults. As one IHRSA member recently noted, “In many communities, health clubs are one of the few places where families can exercise: parents can work out, while their children are having fun and getting healthy. We make it easy for them.” This family dynamic is particularly important for youth fitness in light of recent research findings that suggest that children are influenced by their parents’ activity levels.
Of course, any discussion about improving population health must consider the cost of implementation. Certainly, membership fees are a factor in determining the overall impact of the fitness industry to improve the fitness levels of American youth, but to a much lesser degree than commonly assumed. Health clubs may not be the right option for every American, but we believe that affordable choices exist for the great majority of American families. Often, affordability is simply a matter of budgetary priorities and Americans have an unfortunate history of assigning a low value to physical activity. When compared with the monthly cost of premium cable TV, cell phone service, junk food, video games, or even coffee, a health club membership can be a very accessible option.
What are some youth programs that could be implemented in a fitness center?
Tags: Creative Programming, Schools, Preventing Obesity
A newfound - or renewed - commitment to health is a common sentiment each year after the holiday season of sweet treats, calorie-laden cocktails and scarce free time to stick to a fitness routine. Year after year, many people resolve to lose weight, get fit and be healthier, using the turn of a new year as motivation to turn over a new leaf. Many resolutions, made with the best of intentions, are broken almost before the New Year's Eve confetti is cleaned up, and few last until spring.
The keys to lifelong healthy habits include:
Enjoyable alternatives offer healthy activity
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. If you're not currently physically active, this might be a great time to return to an activity you loved in the past or to get involved with a team sport. Not competitive? Don't like to run? A dance-based fitness class or yoga might be for you. Don't forget that consulting a certified trainer, exercise physiologist, or medical professional is always an important step before starting a new fitness program.
Cost need not be a concern
Financial constraints also weigh heavy on the minds of many as the new year begins. However, being healthy and fit doesn't require an expensive investment. Body weight training, or exercise that uses the body as resistance instead of equipment, was the most upwardly mobile activity on ACSM's 2013 fitness trends forecast. Body weight training can be done anywhere, including at home, and doesn't require a financial investment.
Beyond being buff - staying healthy throughout life
A desire to be fit isn't all about vanity. The most common diseases plaguing our world today are diseases caused by sedentary lifestyle - like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among others. Our daily lives are becoming increasingly scheduled around sitting: sitting at work, sitting in the car during long commutes, and sitting in the evening in front of the television. Committing to a healthy lifestyle not only can help you look good and feel good, but can keep the doctor away too.
For further reading on this topic, visit: "New Year, New Fitness Habits."
Tags: physical activity, new year resolutions, fitness plans, creative activities
Active Advice | Creative programming | Exercise is Medicine
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.