National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

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) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activities Among Youth, 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.

Here are some ways to get your body moving:

Be a Sport

Join a community sports league—softball, soccer, basketball, flag football or even Ultimate Frisbee. You will have a blast and get your exercise in at the same time.

Join a Group

Working out with others keeps you on target. Your classmates will hold you accountable for attending each day and you'll enjoy working up a sweat together.  

Exercise with Mom

For Mother's Day, take some time to help Mom feel great. Depending upon her fitness level, take her for a scenic drive followed by a healthy lunch and brief stroll, or if she's able, show her some gentle yoga stretches or tai chi motions. If mom is really fit, she might take you for a walk.

Have a Ball with Your Children

Engage your kids in fitness and fun. Toss a football across the yard, kick a soccer ball through a park, or take turns swatting a baseball with a bat and running to get the ball. Return home for a healthy snack accompanied by water or unsweetened juice.

Hip Hoopla

Remember Hula Hoops? Swirling a hoop around your swiveling hips is fabulous exercise for your abdominal muscles and your entire torso from the action and from all the laughing you'll do. If you have children, have them join in; they might show you a thing or two.

Jack of All Trades

Jumping jacks can be done anywhere. All you need is your body and the desire to feel vital. Try variations such as half-jacks (raise your arms to shoulder height only), power jacks (finish each one with a squat) or scissors jacks (scissors your legs on each jump).
Whatever your fitness level, get moving in May and beyond. Your body will thank you.