Welcome to the Be Active Your Way blog, the official blog of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG). Follow the Be Active Your Way blog to learn what organizations across the nation are doing to help Americans be more physically active. Learn more about this blog.

Posts tagged: events and programs

Commit to Inclusion

Written by NCHPAD

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, the American Association on Health and Disability, and the Center on Disability at the Public Health Institute recently joined the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) to launch the national Commit to Inclusion campaign. The goal of the campaign is to encourage individuals, organizations and key stakeholders to help build healthy, inclusive communities. The Commit to Inclusion campaign was launched as a call to action following the “White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities,” co-sponsored by PCFSN and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. 

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Commit to Inclusion is a campaign that supports the implementation of Guidelines for Disability Inclusion and programming like “I Can Do It, You Can Do It” to empower people with disability to lead healthy, active lifestyles.  While there will always be a need for specialized health promotion interventions targeting specific disability groups, there is a need to promote more inclusive programming to address the obesity epidemic in the United States. Obesity rates are higher for adults (58%) and children (38%) with disability compared to those without disability.  Physical activity can provide individuals with disability the strength and stamina required to participate in all aspects of life successfully.

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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Written by Karen Mueller, PT, DPT, PhD, Chair of the Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group, APTA Oncology Section

With the approach of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on October 11, it is the perfect time to recognize the important role physical activity can play for this often-underserved population, and to note the wealth of information that is available online.

Studies of patients who are in hospice care suggest that desire to maintain a level of activity does not diminish at the end of life. In fact, most of these patients state that the ability to walk, sit up, and function independently in the bathroom are of great importance to their quality of life.

To promote the value of activity in patients at the end of life, the American Physical Therapy Association Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group (APTA HPC-SIG) was formed in 2008. It provides the public with information and emerging research findings that support the value of activity. APTA HPC-SIG represents more than 60 physical therapists (PTs) practicing in hospice and palliative care settings that include hospitals, home health, and assisted living centers. These PTs promote the value of activity through community and professional-group presentations, published research, and web-based education.

The APTA HPC -SIG website offers members’ insights, as well as links to organizations with the same goals, including the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Jake, a 60-year-old rancher with terminal brain tumor, was a poignant example of the desire to remain active.  He wanted to be able to walk to his dining room table for a final Thanksgiving with his family. After a few physical therapy sessions involving gait training with a walker, Jake achieved this important goal, and died peacefully 3 days later.

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The baby boomer generation is a vigorous population whose desire for physical activity is not likely to diminish at the end of life. There never has been a better time to promote activity throughout the lifespan. APTA HPC-SIG is proud to help lead this effort, which can mitigate health care costs while improving quality of life.

Building Consumer Campaigns: National School Backpack Awareness Day & Other Events

Written by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

APTA’s vision statement is “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.” It is both ours and our members’ goal to help consumers make wise choices with their health care and assist people of all ages improve and maintain mobility and remain active and fit throughout life. We take that mission seriously and through a variety of multifaceted, consumer-oriented campaigns, on a number of subjects, we get the word out.

Pediatric back pain, for example, is just one issue on which we’ve focused. As children head back to school and ease back into the daily routine of learning, stuffing their bags each day with heaps of heavy books, it is important to remember the impact the weight of all those books can have on young child’s back. The added pounds can lead to serious issues and back pain. Last week was National School Backpack Awareness Day, and each fall APTA launches a campaign, using a mix of social and traditional media to get the word out about backpack safety.

Launching Consumer Campaigns at APTA

When we launch any consumer event we take a multifaceted approach using both social and traditional media. We incorporate all of our social media properties (Facebook, YouTube, BlogTalkRadio, Twitter, and Pinterest) to extend our reach as far as possible. Whilst our web team is busy coordinating that effort our media relations folks are busy composing talking points, press releases, and other content, and then personally reaching out to targeted media.

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Watches Are Good, Synchronized Watches Are Better

Written by Tom Richards, Senior Legislative Counsel, IHRSA

As a young kid playing various “war games” in and around the wooded neighborhoods of upstate New York, my friends and I always thought it was essential to synchronize our plastic digital watches, like they did in the movies. Of course, we never performed any maneuvers that would require precise timing, but the act of synchronizing our watches seemed to strengthen the bond among friends and make us more accountable to one another. It was a signal that we were in it together.   

I thought of my old friends as I watched the roll out of Apple’s latest world changing technology.

The Apple Watch electrified the mobile health movement on Tuesday with its integration of several health and fitness applications. With its user-friendly interface and elegant design, the Apple Watch combines the utility of health monitoring devices with humanity’s love affair with touch screens. It’s a very exciting tool that surely represents just the beginning of a new era of wearable technology. Unfortunately, despite its relentless coolness, it can’t lift people off the couch, take them for a walk, or drive them to a gym.

As we’ve discussed previously in this space, there is no one solution that will get the world moving.

But we know there is at least one powerful motivator for physical activity that seems to positively impact a great number of people: the buddy system. 

We may be a more sedentary species than we once were, but we are as social as ever.

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Global Comparisons of Youth Physical Activity

Written by the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) Alliance

Less than a month after the NPAPA and other supporting organizations released the U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, international results were presented at the first Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children in Toronto, Canada (May 21-24).

Hosted by Active Healthy Kids Canada, the summit brought together research teams from 15 countries to compare physical activity report card grades and discuss solutions to childhood inactivity. The results of the global comparison were shared with over 700 international delegates attending the summit and were also published in a Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Supplemental Issue.

Among the six grades assigned to the U.S., key grades and comparisons included:

Based on the report card grades presented above, we want to hear from you!

What are your initial reactions to the U.S. grades?

Compared to other countries, how would you rate the activity levels of U.S. kids?

What areas should the U.S. focus on to increase American kids’ active levels?

What are your suggestions for improving our children’s opportunities for physical activity, especially in areas where the U.S. did not score well (e.g. active transportation)?

The NPAPA has identified several strategies and tactics in the National Physical Activity Plan to improve physical activity among U.S. children. If successfully implemented, these strategies and tactics can positively impact youth activity levels and increase U.S. Report Card grades.

#WhyGetActive

Written by IHRSA

When it comes to promoting the health benefits of physical activity to Americans, we need to stop thinking in terms of “awareness.” Polls indicate that Americans have heard the message. And in a culture that feeds on controversy, the notion that exercise is good for health remains one of the last points of consensus, at least in broad strokes.

But, still, too few Americans live healthy, active lives. Evidence indicating that exercise can prevent or mitigate nearly every major disease is simply not persuasive enough.  Even appealing to vanity – “hey, you’ll look better” – barely moves the needle, if at all, over the long run.

IHRSA believes that exercise is a highly individualized pursuit fueled by personal motivations and emotions that go well beyond the prospect of disease prevention.

Sure, the prospect of warding off cancer or diabetes plays a significant role, but the more important motivator is “why” we want to ward off cancer or diabetes.

For some, the “why” might be a child or loved one, a career, the feeling of waking up with energy, or even just the age old fear of sickness.

The motivations are endless and timeless.

And those motivations inspired IHRSA to launch a social media campaign, #WhyGetActive, in conjunction with National Physical Fitness & Sports Month.

The goal of the campaign—which revolves around everyday people sharing their answers on social media to the question, “Why do you Get Active?” – is to provide a platform for sharing individual motivations and encouraging inactive people to find their own.

To see the power of #WhyGetActive in action, simply visit whygetactive.org.

Though the campaign was begun by IHRSA, we hope to see the movement take on a life and spirit of its own as individuals and organizations adopt #WhyGetActive with the common goal in mind: To foster a culture of wellness, where physically active lifestyles are encouraged, supported, and easy to sustain.

Visit whygetactive.org for more information, to see what others are doing with their #WhyGetActive posts, and to learn how you can share your message as part this campaign for a healthier, more active world.

The basic “how to” directions are to either write on a whiteboard or a PDF template why you pursue an active life. Take a photo and share on social media using the hashtag #WhyGetActive. Or share a photo of yourself doing a favorite type of exercise using the #WhyGetActive hashtag. Ask your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

Staying Fit with a Disability

This Physical Fitness & Sports Month we’re reminded, through a recent CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, to recognize the importance of physical activity among adults with disabilities. More than 21 million U.S. adults 18-64 years old have a disability. Did you know that these adults are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer? Regular aerobic activity increases heart and lung function, improves daily living activities and independence, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases, and improves mental health.

Let’s make fitness attainable for everyone in our communities. Here’s how we can start:

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“Physical Activity is for Everyone,” CDC Vital Signs™. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability. CDC. May 2014

Do you or a loved one have a disability? Are you looking for ways to stay fit? Here are some quick tips:

  • Talk to a doctor before you begin.
  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.
  • Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.
  • Find support and stick with it.

Read more tips on healthfinder.gov, and share them with your loved ones!