National Physical Fitness and Sports Month: May the fitness be with You
July 03, 2017
In recognition of May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we want to remind you just how important and easy it is to work physical activity and sport enjoyment into your daily life. A life habit so important they did not give it one day to draw awareness, but rather a whole month. It is worth noting that physical activity and exercise may have different formal definitions if you want to get technical, but for daily use it is helpful to think of both of them as movement. Therefore, whatever gets you moving, count as exercise and keep trying to do more of it.
From the American College of Sports Medicine the recommended amount of weekly activity is 3-5 days, at a moderate to vigorous intensity (think noticeable breathing to labored breathing), for about 20-60 minutes, that works large muscle groups (think walking, running, biking etc.). The higher the intensity, the less time and days per week that you have to do it, and vice versa. Meaning if you only have time for a 20-minute workout, get sweating and make the most of it. Alternatively, if you prefer a slower paced nature walk, make sure to give yourself a little more time and enjoy the day.
The good news is that they both count, and for long-term success and enjoyment it might be best to find a blend of both styles. Not all workouts have to be the hardest workout, nor do they all need to be a walk in the park. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, we should be aiming for 2-3 days per week, of moderate to vigorous intensity, strength training. Try 1-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions of strength building or resistance training exercises. Pick about 8-12 exercises that work different major muscles of the body.
How to add more activity
While we would like the above recommendations to be everybody's weekly exercise goals we also want to appreciate that everyone is different and has different needs. This does not need to be a zero to 60 mentality. We can take our time, start small, and build up. Your mantra of exercise could be "something is better than nothing, and more is better than less". In a busy world with hectic schedules, time is the most commonly cited reason for not partaking in exercise. The good news, exercise does not have to come all at once. Remember when we talked about it as movement? We can move almost anywhere.
Break your activity down in to smaller increments and work them into your schedule. Only have ten minutes before the next meeting, and it is not enough time to start the next project? Find the nearest staircase and walk up and down a few flight of stairs. Been sitting at the computer for over two hours without moving, take a little stretch break and walk down the hall to fill up your water bottle. Make the exercise work for you!
Support your Sport
Pick what is important to you and what you enjoy. Many people define sports to mean coordinated group activities. While that definition may fall under the umbrella of the term, we can use a broader definition of sports just like we did with movement for exercise. Sporting activities can sometimes be one of the easiest and most convenient ways to increase daily physical activity. They do not all have to be group activities, as there are many individuals sports. They are also a great way to learn more about the community and social groups around you.
For many, the time in our lives when we transitioned from regular activity to less activity occurred around the transition out of high school or college and out of structured activities like sport teams. For some people, this group activity might be how they learned to be active. Picking up old activities can be a great way to enhance enjoyment and be regularly active.
With the anticipation of great weather upon us, May is a wonderful time to get active with old habits or new!
For more health tips, visit the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.
Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science. Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more see http://hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/adultfitness
Contact: Kimberly Burke
Telephone: (970) 491-0928