Let's Move... Together!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Stephanie Ryder, MS, RD, MSC, FACHE
  • 52nd Medical Support Squadron
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and the focus is on moving more to promote an overall healthy lifestyle. 

The long-term benefits of exercise, play and spending less time sitting include decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes. 

Being active also improves lean muscle mass, reduces fat and weight gain, promotes strong bones, and encourages joint health. 

The immediate benefits include relieving tension, stress, and allow us to focus on our day as it unfolds. 

Recommended activity for children is 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous play every day.  For adults, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five days a week will improve overall health.  Moderate to vigorous activity includes brisk walking, running, cycling, rowing, and aerobics.

Let's face it: it is challenging enough for us to meet our minimum activity goals because of electronics, work, homework and the weather.  It is much easier to make an excuse than to overcome it, so we need to incorporate activities that are easy and fun to get the entire family moving. 

Below are some fun ways to get you and your family active together:

1.) Go for a walk after dinner rain or shine. A little precipitation or cold can make it a brisk walk.

2.) Take the stairs instead of an elevator.

3.) Bike through your village to get your favorite treats from the local bakery or ice cream shop.

4.) Take a walk during the lunch hour.

5.) Take your kids to the gym with you. Shoot some hoops or run the track with your child. It can be a humbling and motivating experience!

6.) Buy a pedometer for everyone in your family. Whoever hits their weekly goal of 10,000 steps/day gets to decide on a fun family activity for that week.

7.) Toss a disc, football or baseball around.

8.) As a family, declare a dance challenge and try to keep up with Judson Laipply's "Evolution of Dance" on YouTube.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have also kicked off the "Let's Move" campaign.  This program emphasizes America's goal to raise a healthier and more active generation of kids. 

The program web site has a ton of information to promote active families, active schools, and active communities.  Also, you can find information on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge, which identifies basic healthy eating techniques and physical activity over an eight-week period. 

You can learn more about these free resources and challenge your family members at www.letsmove.gov.  

Remember, the journey to a healthier lifestyle starts with taking steps in the right direction today!