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

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!

10 Ways to Be Active during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Written by the Weight-control Information Network

May is the National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! Celebrate by building habits to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines—or, if you have these habits, by keeping up the good work. The warmer, sunnier weather of spring may make it easier to fit activity into your day and try new kinds of exercise.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) offers ideas to help people of all ages start physical activity and make it part of their routine. Here are some tips for adults:

  • Mix it up. Try a new activity each day like dancing or planting a garden to find out what you enjoy most.
  • Make it social. Meet a friend for workouts, or train together for a charity event. Join a class or sports league where people count on you to show up.
  • Move more with your kids. No matter what age your kids are, find an activity you can do together. Dance to music, take a walk, run around the park, or play basketball or soccer.
  • Fit it in. Add a daily 15-minute walk during your lunch break or after dinner. If your schedule allows and you can do so safely near home or work, taking a walk may help you clear your head.
  • Don’t break the bank. If you’re on a budget, try activities that don’t require special gear. Walking requires a pair of sturdy shoes. To dance, just turn on some music.

Here are some ideas to help teens get and stay active:

  • Get outside. Enjoy outdoor physical activity, such as jumping rope, playing Frisbee or flag football, or skateboarding.
  • Join in. Join a school sports or dance team. Jump into a neighborhood pickup game of basketball or softball.
  • Pitch in. Help keep your community’s sidewalks, sports fields, parks, and athletic centers clean and usable.
  • Be active with friends. Choose group activities such as sports, active games, or walking around a public park.
  • Sit less. Watching TV, gaming, and surfing the web are fun but inactive, so spend less time in front of the screen.

Find more tips and information in WIN’s Tips to Help You Get Active and, for teens, the tip sheet Get Moving! Tips to Help You Get Active offers tips to help readers become more physically active, overcome barriers to activity, and stay motivated. Get Moving! suggests ways teens can get and stay active both indoors and outdoors. It is based on the longer booklet Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers, which is available in English and Spanish.

Check out healthfinder.gov’s page on National Physical Fitness and Sports Month for reasons to be active, ideas for helping others get more exercise, and sample messages to send through email or social media and post to your blog or other website. 

Have you tried a fun new kind of exercise this spring—something you’ve never done before? What did you do?

Don’t Let a Sports Injury Keep You Out Of The Game, Get Covered Today | HHS.gov/healthcare

Wondering what the Affordable Care Act has to with sports and physical activity? Read this recent post from Secretary of Health and Human Services to learn why athletes should get covered.