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 for specific populations

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.

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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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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Accessibility is More than Getting in the Door

Written by NCHPAD

It is well reported that exercise is a vital component to leading a healthy lifestyle.  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) are in place to outline and support the minimum amounts of activity that adults, including those with disabilities, should get per week.  For some, achieving the PAG may be a simple feat, but for others, such as people with disabilities, physical activity opportunities might be an exercise in frustration.  People with disabilities are more susceptible to barriers to physical activity most often reported in the areas of architectural, programmatic, and attitudinal.

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Architectural barriers include physical obstacles to inclusion, such as access to buildings or outdoor facilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities; Title III of the ADA applies to public accommodations, including fitness centers.  Many people with disabilities can physically enter a fitness center, only to find that there is no equipment accessible to them.  The intent of the ADA is that people of all abilities can equally access all public accommodations; in the case of fitness centers, this means being able to enjoy all membership benefits and access to fitness equipment.  This is not always the case, but efforts to address this barrier and promote universal design are well underway.  In August of 2013, the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) approved two new standards for inclusive fitness equipment.  These standards provide specifications for fitness equipment that is accessible to users of all abilities and will be used to ensure future development and use of fitness equipment that more closely meets the intent of the ADA. 

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The Importance of Exercise for Kids with Arthritis

Written by The Arthritis Foundation | KIDSGETARTHRITISTOO.ORG

Physical activity can boost your child’s ability to move and enjoy life.

We all know exercise is good for us, but the benefits of physical activity for children with juvenile arthritis and related conditions can even be greater – as can the downsides of not being physically active. That’s why it’s especially crucial for kids with arthritis to keep moving.

Fitness Facts 

By and large, studies show that kidswith arthritis are less fit than their healthy counterparts. Specifically, they have less muscle strength and muscle endurance. They also have less aerobic capacity (needed for prolonged exercise) and anaerobic capacity (needed to perform intense bursts of activity); therefore, they tire faster during physical activity than kids who don’t have arthritis even when their disease is inactive.

On the flip side, studies also demonstrate that these conditions can be improved with exercise training. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity can be boosted, and resistance training can increase muscle strength and endurance.

Yes, They Can 

Perhaps the most important thing to know about exercise for children with arthritis is that when done properly it does no harm. They can and should exercise.

Many studies show that land- and water-based exercise is safe, and that joint pain and swelling don’t get worse after exercise programs.

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If Exercise Is Medicine, Will People Fill Their Prescriptions?

Written by IHRSA

On Monday, July 14th, the Healthcare Leadership Council hosted an excellent briefing on non-adherence to medication, highlighting the fact that 1 out of 3 patients never fill their prescriptions, and nearly 3 out of 4 Americans don’t take their medications as directed.

The panelists discussed innovative strategies for improving adherence, such as targeted and timely communication. Each strategy was based on the reality that a one-size-fits-all approach to communication is both inefficient and ineffective. Clearly, the digital age is creating medical providers with new opportunities for engaging patients and tracking their adherence, but there are no simple solutions for getting folks to take their medicine.

The problem of non-adherence to medication raises an uncomfortable question for physical activity advocates.

If 1/3 of patients are signaling that a visit to the pharmacy is a barrier too high to overcome, and 75% are finding it too difficult to take medication properly, how many patients can we reasonably expect to fill an exercise prescription that typically requires 150 minutes/week of exertion?

Although evidence suggests that patients are more likely to exercise if their doctors prescribe exercise, we suspect very few patients will stick to an exercise program unless medical offices and physical activity providers (e.g. health clubs, personal trainers, community centers) adopt engagement strategies similar to those being implemented by the pharmaceutical industry for medication adherence.

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