Walk, climb or swim to celebrate Fitness and Sports Month

May is National Fitness and Sports Month. Launched by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in 1983, this month of advocacy aims to encourage Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles.

May is not only National Fitness and Sports Month, but it’s also a great month to get moving!

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This observance month not only celebrates exercise and sports participation, but also highlights the important benefits of physical activity, such as reducing your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Exercise can also help reduce stress, improve your mood, and strengthen your bones and muscles. With spring in full force and summer fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get out and explore your city.

Adrian Wilson, a student at Florida A&M University, climbs the rock face located at the Hansel Tookes Student Recreation Center on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

Benefits of physical activity

Going for a walk or bike ride, trying rock climbing, or even going for a swim in a local pool are great ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle. Find accessible parks or trails near you to move outside.

Have a fun, safe and healthy summer by making physical activity part of your daily routine.

A list of some of the physical and mental health benefits of physical activity are as follows:

Some specific health benefits of physical activity include:

  • Avoid thinking about cigarettes if you’re trying to quit
  • Helps control your appetite
  • Helps you lose weight if you are overweight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Gives you more energy and stamina
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Raises your “good” HDL cholesterol levels
  • Reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke
  • Helps control blood sugar by improving how your body uses insulin

Relieve stress, anxiety

The mental health benefits of regular physical activity can improve quality of life and relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression.

You may notice a feeling of “wellness” immediately after your workout and you will also see an improvement in your overall wellbeing over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of your life.

This can be especially important as we return to our old daily routines.

Physical activity can improve your mood and help you think more clearly, release stress, calm you down, improve the quality of your sleep, and feel better about your appearance.

Today’s article focuses primarily on some of the benefits of becoming more physically active as an adult, without neglecting this same need for children.

Thanks to ODPHP for much of the content provided for this column

Additional Resources

Everyone needs physical activity to stay healthy. But it can be hard to find the time in your busy routine. The Move Your Way® tools of the U.S. Department of Health’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) provide guidance that facilitates physical activity.

And small changes can add up to big health benefits!

Access the following ODPHP resource for fact sheets and videos on physical activity needs for adults as well as children and teens at: health.gov.

Physical activity can improve your daily life. View the Physical Activity for Adults Fact Sheet at health.gov.

It’s important to get a mix of activity types as you get older. Read the fact sheet on different types of activities for older people at health.gov.

Information about Leon County Parks and Recreation departments can be found at:

cms.leoncountyfl.gov.

Marc Mahoney

Mark A. Mahoney, Ph.D. has been a registered dietitian/nutritionist for over 35 years and completed graduate studies in nutrition and public health at Columbia University. He can be contacted at marqos69@hotmail.com.

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