May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Beverly Miller, MHA, MBA, Acting Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office
May is dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of being physically active. Most often when we think of physical activity, cardiovascular health, weight control, blood sugar and blood pressure control, building muscle and getting in shape come to mind. Physical activity also provides many benefits to mental wellbeing. Being physically active helps in gaining self-confidence, being happier, and even smarter thinking. Regardless of age or fitness level getting inspired to exercise can lead to a healthier and happier life overall.
Benefits of Physical Activity Include:
- Children & adolescents – Improves muscular fitness and bone and heart health.
- Adults – Can lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
- Older adults – Can lower risk of falls and improve cognition.
- Stress Reduction – Increase levels of norepinephrine, which can improve response to stress.
- Boost overall mood – Release endorphins, which can create feelings of happiness.
- Improve self-confidence – Can elevate a person's perception of their self-worth.
- Prevent cognitive decline – Can prevent degeneration of the hippocampus; important to memory and learning.
- Alleviate anxiety – Release of brain chemicals during and after can have a calming effect and decrease anxiety.
- Boost brainpower – Cardiovascular exercise can help in creating new brain cells, improve overall brain performance and is believed to help with decision-making.
- Get more done – Workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers, according to research findings