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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute a blog post!
Cross-promoted from the NCHPAD News: Volume 12, Issue 1
Written by: Carol Kutik, Director of Fitness & Health Promotion at the Lakeshore Foundation
Never! Even if you have had an inactive lifestyle, research suggests that you are never too old to benefit from exercise. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that even moderate physical activity can improve the health of older adults who are frail, or who have diseases that accompany age. A substantial number of research studies confirming the many benefits of regular physical activity for older adults helped the U.S. government to report in its 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that, compared to less active people, more active people have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression. The Guidelines add that “regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging.” Note the word essential, as opposed to the word suggested.
Despite the known benefits of physical activity, the NIH reports that rates are low among older people. Only about 30 percent of adults between age 45 and 64, 25 percent between age 65 and 74 years, and 11 percent age 85 and older engage in regular physical activity. Physical activity rates for older adults with physical disabilities are even lower. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding adults age 50 and over, approximately 70 percent of those with disabilities do not participate in recommended amounts of physical activity, as compared to 60 percent of those without disabilities.
As older individuals become less active, they begin to lose their ability to perform standard daily living activities and become discouraged and reluctant to exercise, fearful that it will be too strenuous and cause them harm. All too often, decreased levels of both physical function and independence are accepted as natural consequences of aging, leading older adults to believe that exercise is not “for them” and perpetuating the downward spiral. Research from the NIH shows that the opposite is true – that exercise is safe for people of all age groups, and that older adults hurt their health far more by not exercising than exercising.
The following types of exercise are recommended for seniors who want to stay healthy and independent:
The following steps will help guide you in your new exercise routine:
Tags: physical activity, exercise, seniors, older adults
Active Advice | Older adults
At the fine age of 80, after his wife's death, Fauja Singh moved from India to the UK to live with his son. Being in a strange country and speaking a foreign language, Singh found himself isolated until he rediscovered an old passion - running. Twenty one years later, he is the marathon world record holder for adults 90 years of age and older, clocking in at 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Singh's rapid rise in the marathon world started 17 years ago, when at age 80 he completed the 26.2-mile race in six hours and fifty minutes. What made this achievement so special was the fact that he knocked 58 minutes off the previous world best in the 90+ age bracket. Since that time he has competed in more marathons and holds many world records. Singh's achievements have not gone unnoticed. In 2004, Adidas signed him to appear in a major advertising campaign that also featured soccer great David Beckham. The campaign's tagline, "Impossible is Nothing," reflects not only Singh's achievements, but also those of older athletes from around the world.
In the U.S. alone there are over 250,000 older athletes. These athletes desire to compete, no matter what their age, and have created national and state-level Senior Games and Senior Olympics.
What can you do to tap into the rising numbers of older athletes who want to compete outdoors without getting injured? Whether it's the training for the Senior Games or for a weekend competition (librarian by day, world record holder by night), helping the 50+ adults achieve their dreams is a valuable business.
The following are eight tips to share with your staff and clients as initial approaches to building "Life Champions":
By helping your customer to enjoy their competitive spirit outdoors, you are helping to create an environment that says, "It's never too late to pursue your dreams...and we will help you."
What are you doing to inspire older adults to enjoy the competitive side of physical activity and sports in the great outdoors?
Tags: physical activity, older adults, senior athletes, life champions
Cross-promoted from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Blog
By: Chris Paul, Point Guard for the Los Angeles Clippers and member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN)
From my early morning workouts to the final buzzer on game day, my body stays fueled by the nutritious foods I eat throughout the day. Making healthy choices is essential for me to function at the highest level, whether I'm on the road for a game or at home with my family. March is National Nutrition Month and is a great reminder for us all to incorporate healthy eating into our daily lives. Whether you are an NBA player, a student on the go, or a busy parent rushing between work and home, you can eat healthy and still enjoy the foods you love.
Sometimes I feel like I am constantly on the go, and it can be a challenge to make healthy decisions when I'm traveling from city to city or shooting hoops with my three year-old son. Life can be hectic but I have found that it's easier to make good food choices when you plan ahead and keep healthy options on hand. I keep healthy snacks in my bag, and bottled water with me at all times.
Eating healthy gives me the strength and energy I need to get through each game, and helps me reach my full potential. As a student athlete in college, I had little time to prepare food so I would snack on fruit, especially apples. This gave me a quick and much-needed energy boost before and after practice. Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina I learned to love southern food. When I lived in New Orleans, I found recipes (like red beans and brown rice) that offer a nutritious meal with rich flavor. Since moving to Los Angeles I've found that fresh fruit and vegetables are much easier to come by, and I try to incorporate them into every meal.
These days, I am team health captain for my family and teammates and encourage them to eat more balanced, healthy meals. My mother has told me that she feels better, and I know she will stick to her routine not only for herself, but for her grandchildren as well. This month, I challenge you to find your own balance that includes healthy foods and physical activity. While you're at it, sign up to earn your Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+)! Also, invite your family and friends to join you; it's always more fun to have a team of people for support along the way. Here are some healthy tips to get you started:
Get more tips to stay motivated throughout National Nutrition Month. Check out my "Nutrition Tips" video and follow PCFSN on Twitter (@FitnessGov). Also, be sure to read through our new list of "10 Healthy Eating Tips" to jumpstart your nutrition goals.
Tags: National Nutrition Month, Chris Paul, athlete, PCFSN
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
Content for this site is maintained by the
Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.