It’s that time of year again! Winter jackets are put away and the shorts and tees come out to play. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This is the perfect time for children and families to get outside and play together! You don’t have to do back flips in the Olympics or throw a football 40 yards down the field to be active and break a sweat. Whether you ride your bike to work or school or chase after your dog in the park, physical activity can be fun and it helps you feel good too. People of all ages and body types can benefit from regular physical activity. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. Here Are Just a Few Benefits of Physical Activity Children and Adolescents Physical activity can improve muscular fitness and bone and heart health. Adults Physical activity can lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Older Adults Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning, like learning and judgment skills. Set Realistic Goals Unrealistic goals are very obvious but they do play a key role in your attitude towards your gym time. When you set the bar too high from the start, you are likely pushing yourself too much too soon and this can very quickly lead to de-motivation. Right there is the key ingredient to letting your training go completely because you have lost all enjoyment. Have fun, get outside, feel the breeze and just move. Choosing the Right Exercises Make sure to create a program or have one designed for you by a trainer that will work for you. A program needs to consist of the right exercises, not just any exercises will do. Certain exercises have specific purposes so it is important to choose appropriate movements that will give you the results you want. Find Support and Encouragement Find a good exercise partner. You would be amazed what the accountability of a workout partner can do for you. If you have a day where you feel you’d rather go to a movie or go for drinks, you will first have to live up to your commitment to your partner. If your training suffers, so will your partner’s. You need someone around to positively influence your training, to help get over the inevitable barriers and to encourage you when you need it. When you are surrounded by people that aren’t as driven or goal oriented as you are, you most probably will find yourself losing focus of your goals. Interesting Facts Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. In combination with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death. Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity. Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight. If this sounds like a lot, consider that eight to 18 year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies in a typical day and only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. To increase physical activity, today’s children need safe routes to walk and bike ride to school, parks, playgrounds and community centers where they can play after school, and activities like sports, dance or fitness programs that are exciting and challenging enough to keep them engaged.