May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H, Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. A month honoring physical activity and reminding us that fitness and sports are about celebrating, commemorating, and affirming life; even when shadowed by tragedy. This was demonstrated during the original Olympic marathon in 1896. The event was to commemorate a fabled battle messenger’s long run to carry news of a victory home. The first Boston Marathon continued this sentiment by being held on Patriots Day, in honor of Paul Revere. To affirm life after the horrific bombings in 1995, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was established.
We can each choose to celebrate physical fitness and sports in May by being as physically active as we can personally be. We can help raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity – both at home and in our larger community. The benefits of physical activity are immense, with research continuing to reveal more physical, emotion and spiritual benefits.
A few benefits include:
- Children and adolescents: Improve muscular, bone and heart health fitness and focus attention.
- Adults: Lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and obesity.
- Older adults – Lower risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides us with recommendations that are science -based to help achieve a range of health benefits. Tribal and urban Indian communities are sharing community-to-community what works locally on the Just Move It website. The Indian Health Service partnership project created the Physical Activity Kit as a resource for all age groups. The Let’s Move and Let’s Move in Indian Country are America’s move to raise a healthier generation of kids, which includes being physically active on most days.
Resources and reasons to be physically active are plentiful. Consequences of not being physically active can be severe. Deciding to be as physically active as you personally can be isn’t necessarily easy, but it is something you can decide to do.
For more information and motivation visit:
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/
Just Move It: www.justmoveit.org
Physical Activity Kit: http://www.ihs.gov/HPDP/index.cfm?module=dsp_hpdp_pak
Let’s Move!: http://www.letsmove.gov/
Let’s Move! in Indian Country: http://www.doi.gov/letsmove/indiancountry/index.cfm