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: physical activity

Health Literacy Month - Join our Thunderclap today!

9 in 10 Americans have difficulty understanding health information. This Health Literacy Month, join ODPHP’s Thunderclap campaign in support of clear, easy-to-understand health information. It will take no more than a minute of your time - and there are only three days left!

And while we’re on the subject, how can we address health literacy when promoting physical activity in our communities? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Simple Steps to Prevent Eye Injuries in Sports

Written by Dr. David Geier, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Most athletes think of knee and shoulder problems when we talk about sports-related injuries. With fall sports in full swing, it is important to remember that eye injuries in sports are not only common, but they are potentially very serious.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, sports account for approximately 100,000 eye injuries each year. Roughly 42,000 of those injuries require evaluation in emergency departments. In fact, a patient with a sports-related eye injury presents to a United States emergency room every 13 minutes. It is estimated that sports-related eye injuries cost between $175 million and $200 million per year.

Generally baseball, basketball and racquet sports cause the highest numbers of eye injuries. One of every three of these eye injuries in sports occurs in children. In kids between the ages of five and 14, baseball is the leading cause. Basketball is a common culprit in athletes aged 15 and older. And boxing and martial arts present a high risk for serious eye injuries.

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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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Active Kids Do Better: A Win-Win for All

Written by Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

As the buzzer sounds on another sizzling summer, kids across America are getting back in the game and gearing up for another school year. Now, instead of days filled with swimming, biking, climbing trees and playing, most kids will spend six to seven hours each day within school walls. 

The primary focus of schools is to help students learn and develop foundational skills and knowledge to succeed in life. But with the increasing demands and pressures of improving standardized test scores and grade point averages are we defeating these goals by eliminating or significantly restricting the time students are physically active throughout the school day?

When it comes to the school environment, the latest research shows that increased physical activity and improved academic outcomes don’t have to be an either-or-proposition. In fact, physical activity and academic success go hand and hand – a true win-win for all.

Physical activity not only helps kids stay healthy, it can also lead to higher test scores, improved attendance, better behavior in class and lower rates of childhood obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), school-aged youth should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day to reap these benefits.

That’s why the President’s Council is proud to serve as the federal lead for Let’s Move! Active Schools – a comprehensive school-based physical activity program that will help make physical activity the new norm for schools. Let’s Move! Active Schools encourages schools to develop a culture in which physical activity and physical education are foundational to academic success.

Powered by a national collaboration of leading health and education organizations, Let’s Move! Active Schools streamlines the selection of programs, resources, professional development and funding opportunities, and delivers a customized action plan – making it simple for teachers and administrators to implement.

Across the nation, we are starting to see positive changes take hold. Bower Hill Elementary School in Venetia, Pennsylvania is a powerful example. Recently, the school started a walking program that quickly grew into a marathon challenge, where teachers and their students attempted to walk a marathon over the course of the year, leading up to participation in the final mile at the Pittsburgh Kids Marathon.

To learn how you, too, can be a “game-changer” for your school, sign up to be a champion for Active Schools at www.letsmoveschools.org.  For more information about the learning connection between regular physical activity and academic performance, visit http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/health_and_academics/.

'Age be Damned'

Written by the International Council on Active Aging

There is a growing sentiment in society today that age is just a number. As our expectations for growing old change, a new mantra is emerging to support this view: “Age be damned.”

At the root of this shift are the scientists who dissect every aspect of growing old—from the impact that lifestyle modifications have on disease management, to preventive strategies that help us age well. These unsung heroes, and their findings, enable us to develop and provide solutions that can reduce many of the challenges and obstacles associated with growing old. Their efforts drive recommendations and demands for new models and social contracts that promote older adults’ abilities and contributions. And their findings encourage us to recognize the benefits of a more cohesive, inclusive society. This growing body of research is not only shifting views and expectations of what is possible over the life course, but redefining the life course as well.

The World Health Organization’s director general shares the new way of thinking. “When a 100-year-old man finishes a marathon, as happened last year, we know that conventional conceptions of old age must change,” said Margaret Chan in her World Health Day message in 2012. And change they are.

A new survey from AARP shows that people in their 60s (69%) and 70s (69%) are not letting problems with their physical health hold them back from what they want. Those in their 40s (58%) and 50s (63%), however, find this a bigger issue.

Still, “89% of older adults and 84% of younger adults say they’re confident they can maintain a high quality of life throughout their senior years,” reports a 2014 survey conducted by the National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today.

The question is: Is this raw optimism based on facts or denial of facts?

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Building Healthy, Inclusive Communities for All

Post Submitted by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD)

Community Health Inclu­sion, a term that describes disability-friendly environments where people with disabilities have access to the same programs and services associated with being as physically active and eating as well as the rest of the community.

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Many communities across the country have participated in a change process to improve the health and health outcomes of their communities, yet more and equal effort is required to address the health barriers and needs of people with disabilities.  Research shows that the estimated 56 million Americans with disabilities are not only at greater risk of developing serious health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, but also face greater environmental barriers that inhibit their access. Coupled with health promotion initiatives that are inaccessible and seldom target improving the health of people with disabilities, the low activity status of people with disabilities is a concern. The lack of guidance and translation of inclusive practices makes this an issue of public health concern. 

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association observes National Public Health Week.  This is a time to recognize and highlight successes and areas of need for improving our nation’s health.  This year is a focus on guiding communities through the evolving public health system with the theme “Public Health: Start Here.”  As this week sparks discussion and action towards the evolving public health systems to improve the health and wellness of the entire community, we invite you to embrace the term Community Health Inclusion.  A well-planned, livable community is one that makes the right choice the easy choice by including people of all abilities!

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