National Family Health & Fitness Day USA is an annual event observed the last Saturday of September, to encourage families to deliberately include physical activity in their daily lives. Since this year’s event will take place on Saturday, September 27, we wanted to devote this week’s RJWestmore blog posts to encourage subscribers and friends to develop a fit lifestyle for optimum health and wellness. This is an event I can really get behind, because (like most dogs), I love to stay active!
One of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, family fitness is crucial for anyone who wants to do their part to avoid costly and uncomfortable health crises. Of course, no course of action can guarantee perfect health. But countless studies confirm that people who exercise on a regular basis are healthier, by far, than their sedentary peers.
According to Health.Gov, regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, and additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration. The Office of Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion also points out five important facts about physical activity:
- Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. In fact, I would suggest 150 minutes a day of exercise.
- Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial. That means walking is just as good as weight lifting. I prefer walking.
- Health benefits occur for children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, older adults and dogs, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group!
- The health benefits of physical activity occur for people and pets with or without disabilities.
- The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes. So don’t use a lame excuse to get out of working out.
Unfortunately, despite the fact most people agree that activity is the key to optimum health, the Surgeon General reports that the majority of Americans, and especially children from 12 to 21, do not exercise nearly enough. And since most dogs depend on their masters to take them for walks, I’ll bet most dogs don’t get enough exercise, either. In fact, CBS News reported that 80 percent of American adults do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week. Data analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came from more than 450,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who were randomly phoned across all 50 states.
To help correct the trend, Health Information Research Center (HIRC) staff members help local organizations throughout the country host events such as health fairs, family walks, low-impact exercise demonstrations, health screenings, open houses, games and workshops at schools, park districts, hospitals, YMCAs/YWCAs, malls and health clubs. Thousands of adults, children and pets are expected to participate in this year’s health and fitness activities.
“We are now entering our 18th year as a national family health and fitness event,” says Pat Henze, FHFD director. “Our goals for Family Health & Fitness Day are to emphasize the importance and fun of regular physical activity and to encourage families of all ages to take advantage of the many health and fitness programs offered in their communities.”
What Can Adults Do To Get Enough Physical Activity?
When it comes to exercise, remember that every little bit adds up. And doing something is always better than doing nothing. Here are 10 ideas for getting fit:
- Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station. I suggest walking the dog.
- Join an exercise class or workout to an exercise video. Keep things interesting by trying something different on alternate days.
- Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play. And maybe bring the dog so he can walk, too.
- Walk the dog — don’t just watch the dog walk. I LOVE THIS LIST!
- Clean the house or wash the car.
- Walk, skate, or cycle more and drive less.
- While watching television, do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike. I’ve never understood the draw of TV. Why not do something instead of watching other people do fun stuff?
- Mow the lawn with an old-fashioned push mower. Increase activity level by planting and caring for a vegetable or flower garden.
- Start a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement. Again, why leave the dog at home?
- Get the whole family involved — enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids and your dog.
We hope you will observe National Health & Family Fitness Day, so you will avoid the problems so often associated with living a sedentary life. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in many aspects of your life.