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Get Active: May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

Are You Committed to a Healthy Lifestyle?

Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May!

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.

Physical activity provides long-term health benefits for everyone! By being active, you will burn calories that you store from eating throughout the day and—it can be as easy as walking the dog or as rigorous as running a marathon. Providing opportunities for children to be active early on puts them on a path to better physical and mental health. It’s never too late to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.

The Facts are Clear

It’s time to get moving!

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active.
  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, video games, computer).
  • Nationwide, 25.6% of persons with a disability reported being physically inactive during a usual week, compared to 12.8% of those without a disability.
  • 28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive.
  • Nearly one-third of high school students play video or computer games for 3 or more hours on an average school day.

Rise to the Challenge

Aerobic Activities can range from 60-85% of your maximum heart rate.

During moderate activities, you can talk, but you can't sing. With vigorous activities, you can only say a few words without stopping to catch your breath.

The Activity Guidelines

To meet the guidelines for aerobic activity, basically anything counts, as long as it’s done at a moderate- or vigorous-intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Children & Adolescents

60 minutes of physical activity each day.

  • Aerobic Activity: This should be most of your child’s activity time each day. May include moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) or vigorous-intensity activity (running). Activity should be vigorous-intensity at least 3 days per week.
  • Muscle Strengthening Activities: Include at least 3 times per week (push-ups or gymnastics).
  • Bone Strengthening Activities: Include at least 3 times per week (Jumping rope or running).

Adults

Weekly activity levels:

2 hours 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days for all major muscle groups.
OR
1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.
OR
An equivalent mix of aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.

More Time = More Benefits
If you go beyond 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, you’ll gain even more health benefits.

Go Vermont!

Our state is a proud leader in physical activity.

  • In 2013, research found that adult Vermonters are the most likely of any state to report exercising 3 or more days a week for at least 30 minutes. Stats: Vermont (65.3%), Hawaii (62.2%), Montana (60.1%), Alaska (60.1%). The least likely were Delaware (46.5%), West Virginia (47.1%) and Alabama (47.5%). The national average for regular exercise is 51.6%.
  • Vermont is one of only 6 states that require physical education in every grade, K-12. The others are Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York.
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Live Active: Get Moving

Simple Ways to Add Action to Your Day

  • Walk the dog with the whole family.
  • Park your car as far away as possible from your destination and enjoy the extra steps.
  • Walk, run, or cycle to run errands in your community.
  • Take a walk together to catch up with friends.
  • Replace your coffee break with an outdoor walk (you can still bring the coffee).
  • Walk the golf course instead of using a cart.
  • Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Building Healthy Habits

  • Keep a list of quick activities near the remote as a reminder.
  • Do the Chores. Washing the car, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and yard work are great activities.
  • Check out Community Sports. Join a sports team or league, participate in a local race, or check out swimming at your local recreation center.

Getting Your Kids on the Move

As a parent, you can help shape your child’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity, and knowing these guidelines is a great place to start.

  • Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself.
  • Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together.
  • Give your children equipment that encourages physical activity.
  • Take children to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts.
  • Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities.
  • Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play.
  • Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes.
  • Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.

When to Check with Your Doctor

Moderate activity is safe for most people. But if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or other symptoms be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

Let's Move

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.

Resources for Active Kids

The Advantages: It's Your Health

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.

Big Risks

When you are not physically active, you are more at risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Fighting Obesity

Over the last 20 years, there’s been a significant increase in obesity in the United States. About one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents (aged 2-19 years) are obese. The implications are startling:

  • If things remain as they are today, one-third of all children born in the year 2000 or later may suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives, while many others are likely to face chronic health problems.
  • Studies indicate that overweight youth may never achieve a healthy weight, and up to 70% of obese teens may become obese adults.
  • Even more worrisome, the cumulative effect could be that children born in the year 2000 or later may not outlive their parents.
  • Those who are obese have medical costs that are $1,429 more than those of normal weight on average (roughly 42% higher). And annual direct costs of childhood obesity are $14.3 billion.

Bigger Rewards

Long-term health benefits include:

  • Prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke (the three leading health-related causes of death)
  • Control weight
  • Make your muscles stronger
  • Reduce fat
  • Promote strong bone, muscle, and joint development
  • Condition heart and lungs
  • Build overall strength and endurance
  • Improve sleep
  • Decrease potential of becoming depressed
  • Increase your energy and self-esteem
  • Relieve stress
  • Increase your chances of living longer

Move Your Feet & Elevate Your Mood

Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial.

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