May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

If you are already active and fit, good for you! If you are thinking about getting in shape, this might be a good time to start. The weather is getting drier and the days longer and spring is always a great time to begin again.

Sometimes, it might be someone else in your family or circle of friends that really needs to get up and get active. (We all need to try to maintain our health as best as we can). So here are some thoughts about getting more active and also some thoughts in encouraging others to do so too.

When encouraging someone (even yourself), it is important not to make them wrong or to find fault. You can start small maybe taking a little stroll after dinner or doing some crunches while watching television. This is something you could do with the person that you are encouraging.

By showing enthusiasm and learning new exercises new stretches, and sharing them, you also encourage a greater interest in fitness. In time, you might go with your loved one or take yourself to a fitness class at one of the local gyms.

Make sure, of course, that you ask about entry level classes so that you don’t get in over your head. If you have any reason to believe that you should consult your health care provider before starting a fitness routine, make sure you get the “go ahead” from them.

The truth is that it is far more dangerous to not exercise than it is to exercise but you want to be aware of any special challenges that you or your loved one might have and work around those difficulties. Another way of approaching this is to get a certified and experienced personal trainer to set up a program that is appropriate and then have that person come back intermittently to check on the progress.

By making fitness part of your daily routine and prioritizing it, you soon will come to view it as simply something else that you must do for your health everyday — just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. And truly it is exactly that. You wouldn’t think of not bathing or brushing your teeth because pretty soon you would have health problems and social problems because of it.

Exercise is exactly the same way. To make fitness a priority you could wake up a few minutes early and go for a walk, or hit the gym. You could also set a time, like right after the news or your favorite TV show to exercise or go for a bike ride or a walk.

If you or your loved one have some reasons for not being more active, look into those reasons. Are they or you overwhelmed, embarrassed or frightened? Be understanding and address those concerns. Realize that changes take time and remember that any physical activity is better than none, so be encouraging of small positive changes.

So often we have the opportunity to impact someone in a positive way when giving gifts and we simply go with what we’ve done in the past, which may or may not be functional or appropriate.

If you or someone you know is trying to get in shape and perhaps lose weight, why would others bring them gifts of candy or fatty or sugary or nutritionally poor food choices?

Better gifts would be new sneakers, or workout clothes, a balance/stability ball, little hand weights, a yoga/exercise mat, a pedometer to count steps, a gift certificate to a gym or for a session with a personal fitness trainer, or fresh fruit rather than processed junk food.

These more thoughtful choices help, rather than hinder progress and can be given for special occasions such as birthdays or simply as rewards and acknowledgment that your loved one is really trying to take their health into their own hands and improve it.

Happy Physical Fitness Month!


Jane Riley is a certified personal trainer,. nutritional adviser and certified behavior change specialist. She can be reached at, (808) 212-8119 and


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