National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to think about all the benefits of getting active. One thing is for sure, being inactive is far more dangerous than being active! Physical activity is right for everyone. Children and adolescents can improve their muscular fitness, bone and heart health as well as ward off obesity. Adults find that physical fitness can lower their risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer, and older adults find that physical fitness lowers their risks of falling, and improves their cognitive processes. No matter what your age or fitness level there’s no time like the present to start on a fitness program to reap the benefits for years to come!

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults aim for at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate aerobic activity includes such activities as brisk walking, social dancing, swimming or biking. Isn’t it great that here, we can do all those activities all year round? Aerobic activities are those that make you breathe more deeply and make your heart beat faster. For moderate range aerobic activity you should be able to still speak but not have enough breath to sing. With vigorous activity levels you would be able to speak only a few words without stopping for breath They also recommend that adult engage in full body muscle strengthening activities such as lifting weights or using exercise bands, at least 2 times a week. These exercises also strengthen your bones and joints. If you don’t know anything about such exercises, it is best to consult a physical fitness expert and get set up on a strategic exercise program so you will do the right thing and advance your fitness, and also so that you use the proper technique in performing your exercises. Balance and stretching exercises enhance physical stability and flexibility which reduces your chance of injury over all.

Physical activity along with proper nutrition is beneficial to everyone! Over the last 20 years in the United States, there has been a steady increase in obesity. Currently one third of U.S. adults are obese and approximately 17 percent of our children are too!

The health implications of these startling numbers are tragic. If this trend goes unchecked, the estimates are that over one third of all children currently being born will face diabetes, and other chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure cancer and asthma.

Studies show that overweight youths may never achieve a healthy weight, and up to 70 percent of obese teens become obese adults. Even more distressing is the projection that the current generation will be the first to not outlive their parents.

Obesity has a personal and national economic implication. Those people who are obese have medical costs that are roughly 42 percent higher than normally weighted people. The annual direct costs of childhood obesity is over $14 billion.

By incorporating physical activity and proper nutrition into your life, you will experience positive health benefits now and in the future. The long-term health benefits of physical activity include preventing the three leading causes of death in America – heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Exercise helps you control your body weight, makes your muscles stronger, reduces fat that you may already have stored, promotes strong bones and joints, conditions your heart and lungs, improves your sleep quality, decreases your potential to become depressed, increases your self-esteem and your energy, relieves stress, and increases your chance of living a longer healthier life.

I have devoted my life to helping people understand and enjoy the benefits of healthy living. There is every reason in the world for you to embrace a healthy vibrant lifestyle and very few (sane) reasons for you to not — no matter what your situation is. I hope that you take the opportunity to explore your many options to increase the life and the length of life in your life.


Jane Riley is a certified nutritional adviser and can be reached at, (808) 212-1451 or


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