National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. Just over four years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, an initiative designed to end childhood obesity within a generation and create a brighter future for our nation’s youth. Today we can say that Let’s Move! has actually moved America in a healthier direction.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month: a great time to renew your commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day where they live, learn, and play. In addition to physical health benefits, regular activity provides cognitive health benefits as well. Research shows that when children are physically active, they achieve higher grades, record better attendance, and their behavior improves. Put simply, active kids do better.
May is the ideal time to get outside, be active, and enjoy nice weather. Warm weather motivates people to get moving. The sunny days entice kids to venture outdoors for free play, sports, and a healthy dose of physical activity. While it’s great to see our youth outside and active when the weather is nice, they need physical education and activity year-round. Studies have shown that active kids do better! When children are active, they perform better academically, have better attendance, and behavior improves.
These schools are working hard to promote a culture in which physical activity and physical education underpin academic success. Let’s Move! Active Schools equips school leaders and teachers with the resources and tools to incorporate at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during, and after the school day. It also ensures that movement is a fundamental part of a child’s educational experience. Currently, Let’s Move! Active Schools positively impacts the lives of over 8 million youth through physical education. But we need you to keep the movement going and growing!
Health benefits can be gained through simple everyday tasks, such as raking leaves, cleaning the house, or walking the dog. Even 30 minutes a day, broken up into shorter increments of 10 or 15 minutes, can greatly improve your health. Regular physical activity can also help your mental health. Often, when you’re low, regular physical activity can pick you up; or, if you’re anxious, physical activity can calm you down as you recover from your fitness return.
So, whatever activity or sports that you choose, remember to check with your physician first, and take care to slowly warm up your muscles and joints before you start any strenuous activity. Also, give yourself time to cool down and gently stretch when you’re finished. And, most of all, pick something you truly enjoy and do it regularly. Rise to the challenge! Whatever your fitness level, get moving in May and beyond. Your body will thank you. A call to action for all of America’s health and physical educators to unite and focus on a common purpose —getting all of the nation physically active, enthusiastic and committed to making healthy lifestyle choices.