Be Active Your Way Blog
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This month, organizations, schools, worksites, and communities across the nation are celebrating the benefits of being physically active, and the strides we've all made to help Americans move more. During May, take some extra time to enjoy the fun and excitement of being physically active with your friends, coworkers, and family.
How are you or your organization recognizing National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? E-mail us at email@example.com if you would like to contribute a blog post!
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
Written by guest blogger, Jake Lynch, from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
In recent years Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has seen trails evolve from being considered purely as recreational facilities to occupying a key role in the relationship between built environments and public health. But building the trails themselves is only half the battle. Longer-term work involves encouraging their use, investing residents and users with a sense of ownership, and making trails a natural, integral part of the community.
To facilitate this relationship, RTC staff must be creative, running programs that, at first glance, seem far removed from their trails mission. For example, RTC staff recently helped students at a D.C. school paint a colorful mural on a trailside wall, next to a vegetable garden. We brought along a fitness instructor who specialized in children’s activities, so the young artists took breaks from painting by running, stretching and racing along the trail. The event began a gradual process of familiarization that the trail is for them, that it connects to their school, and that it offers physical and personal freedom in an environment that can be restrictive.
In Pittsburgh, RTC sponsors students from low-income neighborhoods to join the annual Sojourn bicycle tour. As training, volunteers from Bike Pittsburgh lead rides along local trails. To warm up, they do yoga. It’s a wonderful sight: A group of young black students in the Lion’s Pose as cyclists and joggers cruise by. Bike Pittsburgh also operates a Free Ride Recycled Bike Shop. In areas where being able to afford a bike is a major obstacle, creative initiatives like these have a real impact on the number of people riding for regular trips.
In Spartanburg, S.C., an educational scavenger hunt on the Mary Black Trail is increasing trail usage among students and seniors. Small train sculptures are hidden along the trail; kiosks, signage and iPods transmit historical facts and scavenger hunt clues. Organizers hope to bring regular educational trails trips into the school syllabus.
Across America, rail-trail organizations stage fun runs and races. An underlying purpose of these events is to establish the local trail in the collective mind of the community as a free fitness and recreation facility open to all. Staging events for people who are already active runners does little to address broader health goals, so trail organizers are innovating and expanding their reach. An annual fitness day on the Hurley Trail in New York includes a cycle-spin workshop and Zumba sessions. ‘Trail Mix’ on the W&OD Trail combines biking, walking and the area's Civil War history, plus live entertainment and sports clinics. The Morgana Run hosts "Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound."
Trails are the backbone of programs that provide incentives for students to ride or walk to school, ostensibly to reduce vehicle congestion at drop-off and pick-up times. RTC hosts Compton BikeFest, encouraging riding among children in inner-city communities, a focus of anti-obesity efforts. For trails advocates, the key to increasing physical activity is often to make it about anything but the exercise, promoting the financial savings, convenience, accessibility, freedom, social interaction and environmental aspects of riding and biking.
Tags: creative programming, outdoor activities
Building Healthy Communities | Creative programming | Playing Outside | Recreation
The American Physical Therapy Association Section on Geriatrics held a 3-day conference in July 2010 on the campus of the University of Indianapolis to promote the application of research on benefits of exercise for older adults into clinical practice. Both the content format and the unique meeting planning create a model that may be useful to other organizations planning an education offering on the value of physical activity.
The conference, Exercise and Physical Activity in Aging Conference (ExPAAC): Blending Research and Practice, was hosted by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community and Krannert School of Physical Therapy, and drew 350 participants. Presentation topics included the effects of PA and exercise on health and aging, how to affect behavioral change, and evidence-based prescription for older adults. Our goals for the conference were to: 1) make available current research about PA and exercise from middle through older adulthood; 2) translate research into evidence based practice; 3) identify barriers to translation of research into evidence based practice; 4) promote best practices in physical therapist practice; and 5) evaluate public policies that influence the capacity of physical therapists to provide services. Speakers included national and international researchers Jack Guralnik, MD, PhD, MPH; Pamela Duncan, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FAHA; Alexandre Kalache, MSc, MD, PhD, FRCPH; James Rimmer, PhD; Thomas Prochaska, PhD; Barbara Resnik, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP; and Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD.
Session topics included national and international physical activity initiatives, effects of physical activity and exercise on components of health and aging, determinants of behavior change, and evidence based practice exercise for optimizing function. We also held an evening poster presentation session to highlight case reports, research studies, special interest reports, and theory reports. Some participants wished to attend ExPAAC but felt they needed a review in geriatrics, so we offered a one-day pre-conference course that enabled these participants to maximize their experience. The closing keynote speech was delivered by Dr. James Canton, PhD, renowned author and advisor from the Institute for Global Futures.
Holding the conference at the university allowed us to have many great opportunities for networking and discussion - both formal and informal - at mealtimes in the campus cafeteria, during breaks on the outdoor commons, and at several special social events planned for conference attendees. Attendees stayed in the nearby Holiday Inn or in the dormitories on campus, which had the advantages of lower hotel and meeting site costs. An additional benefit was that conference participants were invited to attend exercise classes and to use campus recreational facilities during their free time.
For those who were unable to attend ExPAAC, we made sure that all of the sessions could be purchased through the APTA Learning Center at (click on "Courses" and search for ExPAAC). The PowerPoint presentations and the commentary of the experts during their ExPAAC presentations were included. Each session features multiple choice question examinations for the purposes of CEU credit.
Because of ExPAAC's overwhelming success, the Section on Geriatrics is considering an "ExPAAC II" in the next 5-10 years. We hope that a model such as ours will be as successful for you as it was for us...
Written by guest bloggers: Ellen Milner, PT, PhD; David M. Morris, PT, PhD
Tags: creative programming, older adults, exercise
Creative programming | Events
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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