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: types of physical activity

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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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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Help Children and Teens Get an Active Start to the School Year

Written by the NIH Weight-Control Information Network

For many, September marks the start of a new school year. It is also National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. This observance is especially important in the United States, where about one-third of children and teens are overweight or obese. With extra weight in young people linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, many people may want to help youth improve their health throughout the year.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) offers these ideas for helping an overweight child:

  • Set a good example. Show your child that you are physically active and enjoy what you do.
  • Be active together as a family. Assign active chores, such as making beds, sweeping, or vacuuming. Plan active outings, like a walk through a local park.
  • Encourage your child to join a sports team or class, such as basketball, dance, or soccer, at school or at your local community or recreation center.
  • If your child feels uncomfortable playing sports, help him or her find physical activities that are fun and not competitive, such as playing tag, jumping rope, or riding a bike.

For teens, WIN offers these tips:

  • Be physically active for 60 minutes a day. It’s fine if you can’t do it all at once! You can be active for as little as 10 minutes at a time, spread throughout the day.
  • Walk or bike to school if you live nearby and can safely do so.
  • Between classes, stand up and walk around, even if your next subject is in the same room.
  • Choose activities you like. Try running, playing flag football, or having a dance party with friends.

Find more ideas for helping kids in WIN’s Helping Your Overweight Child. Also available in Spanish, this brochure offers tips for parents and other caregivers to support an overweight child while also helping her or him to be healthy. Along with ideas to help your child be more active, it features lists of healthy snacks and tips to help your child consume healthy foods and beverages each day.

For the teen in your life, check out WIN’s Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers, also available in Spanish. This booklet gives teens basic facts about regular physical activity and healthy food and beverage choices and offers practical tips they can use in everyday life.

Have you done something that worked to encourage kids and teens to get more physical activity? What did you do?

Keep an Active Piece of Summer in Your Heart

Guest post from Dorothea Vafiadis, MS, FAHA, Director of Healthy Living at the American Heart Association

Why do we sometimes get the blues at the end of summer? Is it because of the long, hot days beating down and drying out the landscape? Watching the days shorten and the mornings and evenings darken? Or is it the anticipation of giving up the casual summer clothes and vacation activities, and thinking ahead to tighter routines?

It’s natural to think of summer as a freer, more active time. But, as fall approaches and back to school mode creeps in, we don’t have to give up on the fun or abandon our physical activity routines. We can do ourselves a favor, and plan now to take the aspects of summer that we like and integrate them year round into a regular pattern for a healthy lifestyle and a healthier heart.

It’s important to exercise regularly, because the effects of exercise ebb away once physical activity stops. Most studies suggest many of the key benefits are lost in four to six weeks of inactivity.  So, keep that physical activity going and don’t let the blues cut your summer short or take a toll on your heart health.

What activities have been fun for you this summer? Motivation is a key consideration in keeping up an exercise routine. Having a workout partner also helps many people adhere to their physical activity plans. If you enjoyed that summer walk, picnic softball game or swim with the kids, think about ways to continue similar activities into the fall. Research has shown that people will be motivated more to participate in physical activity if it’s something they enjoy, feels like a positive experience and helps them feel relaxed or reduce tensions.

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Help Your Kids Have a Healthy Summer—and Make Sure You Do Too

Written by the Weight-control Information Network

Happy summer! Are you a parent or other caregiver who is trying to help your kids enjoy physical activity and stay healthy during the summer? With summer’s longer days and seasonal fruits and vegetables like strawberries, nectarines, and sweet corn, chances abound for you and your family to get healthier this summer.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) offers these ideas:

  • Eat breakfast every morning to charge up your family. Then go for a hike or bike ride.
  • Take your kids to a local park or walking path to increase their active time.
  • Limit screen time on TV, computers, and hand-held devices. Take play outdoors. Jump rope or play hopscotch or kickball.
  • Make sure your kids drink fluids to stay hydrated. Choose water or nonfat or low-fat milk instead of sugary beverages like soda or sports drinks.

WIN also suggests these tips for summer health for adults:

  • Beat the heat with early morning activity. Go for a walk or bike ride (wear a helmet and reflective gear) as the sun comes up.
  • Start a small garden in your yard or a community patch to exercise, grow healthy food, and have fun with family and neighbors.
  • When the sidewalks sizzle, get moving indoors with a fun fitness video or DVD.
  • Choose water workouts and make a splash as you get fit and strong.

Find more ideas in WIN’s Don’t Take a Vacation From Your Healthy Habits This Summer! This flyer suggests ways to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and stay hydrated during the summer. WIN also offers Parents … Splash Into a Healthy Summer with These Ideas!, a flyer for parents and other caregivers with ideas for helping kids have fun and be healthy. This flyer is available in Spanish as well as English.

Have you done something this summer that helped your family get healthier? Or something that helped you? If not, use the above tips to build a plan to try a new activity or fruit  before the season ends.

Get Active, Stay Hydrated!

Written by the NEA Health Information Network

After the Polar Vortex that seemed to never want to end, summer is just around the corner! If you’re like us, you probably can’t wait to head outdoors and shake off those winter blues.

Who says that resolutions are only for January? Set a fitness goal to accomplish by summer’s end! Summer’s longer daylight hours make it easier to wake up early and get moving, or to get in a brisk walk after work.

STAY HYDRATED

Before you head out the door, be sure to grab two things: sunscreen and water.

Popular to contrary belief, you don’t need fancy sports drinks to hydrate while being active. Did you know that the average sports drink has nearly nine teaspoons of added sugar? That’s more than the daily suggested sugar limit for kids and teens!

Water is refreshing and free – and it does a great job keeping you hydrated while you’re on the move.

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?