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February marks another milestone in the movement for a healthier generation - the 3rd year anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign. This month, Be Active Your Way bloggers will reflect on work that has been done to combat childhood obesity, as well as the road ahead.

To celebrate the Anniversary of Let's Move!, you'll hear from:

Start the Year Off Right with a Commitment to Health

by ACSM January 16, 2013

A newfound - or renewed - commitment to health is a common sentiment each year after the holiday season of sweet treats, calorie-laden cocktails and scarce free time to stick to a fitness routine. Year after year, many people resolve to lose weight, get fit and be healthier, using the turn of a new year as motivation to turn over a new leaf. Many resolutions, made with the best of intentions, are broken almost before the New Year's Eve confetti is cleaned up, and few last until spring.

The keys to lifelong healthy habits include:

  • Setting realistic expectations, based on a knowledge of the facts and of your own goals, motivation and lifestyle
  • Building physical activity into your daily life and following healthy eating habits
  • Understanding that you will have lapses, plateaus and changes of circumstance that need not derail your overall progress
  • Knowing where to turn for factual information and personal support

Enjoyable alternatives offer healthy activity

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. If you're not currently physically active, this might be a great time to return to an activity you loved in the past or to get involved with a team sport. Not competitive? Don't like to run? A dance-based fitness class or yoga might be for you. Don't forget that consulting a certified trainer, exercise physiologist, or medical professional is always an important step before starting a new fitness program.

Cost need not be a concern

Financial constraints also weigh heavy on the minds of many as the new year begins. However, being healthy and fit doesn't require an expensive investment. Body weight training, or exercise that uses the body as resistance instead of equipment, was the most upwardly mobile activity on ACSM's 2013 fitness trends forecast. Body weight training can be done anywhere, including at home, and doesn't require a financial investment.

Beyond being buff - staying healthy throughout life

A desire to be fit isn't all about vanity. The most common diseases plaguing our world today are diseases caused by sedentary lifestyle - like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among others. Our daily lives are becoming increasingly scheduled around sitting: sitting at work, sitting in the car during long commutes, and sitting in the evening in front of the television. Committing to a healthy lifestyle not only can help you look good and feel good, but can keep the doctor away too.

For further reading on this topic, visit: "New Year, New Fitness Habits."

Creative Programming and Activities

by ACSM August 22, 2012

Physical activity is important for all ages. Our Recommended Guidelines suggest 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for children. Inactivity resulting from increased screen time in this digital age is on the rise, so it is more important than ever to stay active.

Children are active by nature, but busy schedules and sedentary hobbies often make it difficult to engage in recommended activity. Families can help re-light the fire to play by participating in fun physical activities together. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

10 Activites for Families

  • Take a family walk after dinner.
  • During commercial breaks, stand up and have fun family dance breaks.
  • Bring your child's favorite movie to life. For example, play your own version or Quidditch or Finding Nemo.
  • Make Wednesday "Walk Backawards Wednesday." Challenge your family to walk backwards when walking or playing throughout the house.
  • Have an Olympic-themed party in your backyard, complete with active events.
  • Create an obstacle course or scavenger hunt.
  • Make Sundays "sports day" and highlight a different sport each week.
  • Ride bikes at least once a week, weather permitting.
  • Go to museums instead of movie theaters for family outings.
  • Have children act out their favorite book, TV show or movie.

What is your favorite family activity?

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is just around the corner in September. Visit to find out what you can do to change the childhood obesity trend.

Stay Active on Campus

No college student wants to experience the "freshman 15" or the "four-year 40" - both terms for the weight gain that is all too common in the college years. In high school, many students are very physically active through sports and other activities, and they have access to more nutritious meals at home and at school. Learning how to make health and wellness a priority is an important lesson that should be taught during college. Every student should leave college with a lifelong plan for fitness.

Exercise is Medicine on Campus is bridging the gap between health care, fitness and the campus population (students, faculty, and employees) to integrate physical activity into their daily regimen and improve the quality of life on campus. The goal is for all college students to learn proper physical activity habits that they can continue throughout life. Sonoma State University used EIMC's guiding principles to create a video informing the students about campus opportunities to stay active.

Stay Active at the Office

Many adults spend most of their day sitting. A typical office worker will sit while commuting and working, during lunch and breaks, and in the evening upon returning home. In a world with an abundance of sitting opportunities, it is no wonder inactivity is on the rise.

It may be easier to become inactive on the job, but that does not mean there isn't ample opportunity to get moving in the office. So what can you do?

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk, run, take a class, or head to the gym at lunch.
  • Get a standing desk, treadmill desk, or exercise ball in lieu of a chair.
  • Walk, don't drive, to a favorite lunch spot.
  • Stand when talking on the phone.

All of these activities are simple, inexpensive changes that create a healthier work environment. None is easier than increasing how often you walk. People who walk are three times more likely to reach the physical activity guidelines, even if only done 10 minutes at a time. You can easily measure your daily walking by wearing an inexpensive pedometer (often $5 or less). Aim for 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

For more information on the benefits of walking, check out Every Body Walk!. I challenge you to walk at least 30 minutes per day. How are you getting your activity in?

Play and Physical Activity

by YMCA August 8, 2012

Some adults think kids have it easy.  It’s easier  and generally acceptable for kids to be outside playing, whether it be shooting hoops, playing ball,  riding a bike, throwing a Frisbee, making up games, or just messing around.  For most kids, getting outside to play is fun, easy, inexpensive, and something they can do every day with their friends. All that unstructured playing adds up, and it is the only way some kids come close to meeting the weekly dosage of physical activity according to the published guidelines.  Although not all kids have access to safe outdoor play spaces, or enjoy these activities, many do, and kids certainly outnumber adults.  Have adults lost their interest in play?  Is there a creative way to get adults out to play in the same activities they did as kids?  Can we help sedentary adults inch closer to the Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) through these traditional activities?


YMCA of the USA threw this challenge out to a select group of Ys.  What can you do to get kids, and their parents, outdoors, to play every day?  This group of Ys did some experimenting with various activities.  Although the activities were facilitated by the Y, the activities were co-designed with the actual target audience, and organized every week by Y staff and the participants themselves.  Once a week during the summer months, kids and their parents came together to play.  Bike riding, games around a campfire, nature hikes, soccer or kickball – all helped these children, teens, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers increase the number of minutes of physical activity to get closer to, or surpass the reccomendations from the PAG.


Can’t forget to mention the important family bonding that occurred through these activities.  While the Ys goal was indeed to increase the physical activity levels of everyone involved through play, we helped create the motivation by building connections and friendships between the families, especially child to child and parent to parent.  We created a welcoming atmosphere where fun and sweat were valued over skill or winning so that everyone felt they could participate.

For eight weeks last summer, and five weeks (and counting) this summer, Ys have been stirring the interests of kids and their families to come up with fun and enjoyable (but not necessarily new) ideas to get active, and play.  And it has worked.  In community parks, local swimming pools, school ball fields, and city sidewalks, families are coming together with other families, to enjoy outdoor activities of their choosing, all with the goal of getting more physical activity. 


We don’t have a name for any of these programs.  Overall we call it Play Every Day Outdoors.  All it took was organizational commitment to the PAG, a willingness to engage local families, and an open mind to try a variety of activities. 


The adults told us about how much fun they were having, especially playing with their kids.  Maybe kids don’t really have it easier to just go out and play.  We just think they do.


What activities, old or new, do you think you can use to get more folks active and achieving the P.A. recommendations?  What kind of play would you enjoy with your family, every day, outdoors? 

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