May is Exercise is Medicine Month: Go Outside and Be Active!


You can feel it all around you – in the office, at the store, in a restaurant, and at home; it’s May, and it’s time to get active! Warmer weather is upon us, and we feel rejuvenated with an abundance of energy. What better time than May for Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? Let’s use this gift of increased energy and warmer weather to be more physically active.

EIM Month was launched in 2008 to celebrate May as a time for health care providers, fitness professionals, the public, and supporting organizations and constituents to recognize, emphasize and celebrate the valuable health benefits of exercise on a national scale.

Over the past few years, almost all 50 states, many cities, organizations and even some military bases have celebrated health and fitness in May by hosting a variety of organized events requiring physical activity to get people moving. This year we hope to involve every state!

Exercise is Medicine Month Spotlight

Art Anderssen’s Wet ‘n’ Dry Fitness ‘n’ Fun, located in Punta Gorda, Florida, kicked off their EIM Month activities early this year. Their Dragon Boat team, the Drippin’ Dragons, supported Exercise is Medicine Month while the EIM Network logo was emblazoned on the front of their team shirts during the 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival held on April 14. Punta Gorda issued its EIM Month proclamation on May 2nd,following Charlotte County’s proclamation on April 24th.

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Be Active in May

A lot of great information was shared at the Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition this year. Here’s a glimpse of what participants learned from the many topics presented. You might want to consider trying some of these when planning physical activities this month and beyond.

  • Eccentric exercise and “going negative” in fitness routines: Instead of just putting the emphasis on curling or contracting motions, focus on slowly straightening or lowering the muscle. This technique can help you push through a training plateau. Examples of “eccentric exercise” include some of the following: walking downhill, doing single leg squats on an incline leg press or tricep dip on a bench, or doing a back extension on a Roman chair. This style of training can be good for injury protection. If you’re injured, it can still be used on the healthy limb.
  • Trends in high performance training: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and conditioning is in demand. Two weeks of HIIT – that’s alternate bursts of high- or low-intensity energy levels – improves your aerobic capacity the same amount as doing 6-8 weeks of endurance training. Incorporate HIIT to help build muscle and speed weight loss. During HIIT, a person consumes more oxygen than during slower, distance exercising. This can increase post-exercise metabolism, and research has actually shown that one session of HIIT can burn calories for 1.5 – 2.4 hours after exercise.
  • Be More Active and Less Inactive: Adults in the US spend 60% of their waking time being sedentary, mainly sitting. Even adults who exercise do not meet the recommendations for daily physical activity. Throughout the day, find opportunities to reduce the time spent sitting. Stand up during phone calls or while sending emails, walk more, take the stairs, and park further away from places you’re going. Increased interruptions in sedentary time have added benefits.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Building a Fit Nation

Capping May as the month of both Physical Fitness and Sports Month and Exercise is Medicine Month, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will speak May 30 at the 59th ACSM Annual Meeting and 3rd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine. Dr. Gupta, CNN’s multiple Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent, will speak on “Using the Power of the Media to Help Build a Fit Nation.”

How are you celebrating Exercise is Medicine Month? Share your story with us!