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Be Active Your Way Blog

February Blog Theme

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:

Engaging The Military Community in Fitness

by DoD DeCA February 23, 2011

Navy PT and the San Diego Commissary

In the military community the Defense Commissary Agency is actively engaged in promoting fitness on the military installation. Physical fitness of Sailors is a critical part of operational readiness and meeting deployment schedules.  In support of this effort, sailors stationed at the San Diego Naval Base in California participated in a groundbreaking fitness event in front of the commissary that was supported by the base Commanding Officer Capt. Rick Williamson. Morale, Welfare and Recreation representatives teamed up with San Diego Commissary employees and provided fitness events for the entire week to include a stage, rock climbing wall and professional trainers. Approximately 250 sailors were on hand to do physical training exercises Feb. 14. Later in the week, the commissary held a 1.5K run, and MWR provided 100 exercise bikes for them to work out on. All in all, a variety of challenging physical activities was included in the busy week.

Many of the sailors enjoyed the variety of physical activity events coordinated during the week. This program succeeded because base leadership, MWR and the commissary planned and worked together at the military installation level to make it happen. Moving forward, the commissaries will continue to work with military community leaders to create events that support the focus on fitness for both service members and families on installations.

To engage the military community in the fitness program:

  1. Get buy-in from the top down.
  2. To create successful events good coordination is very important.
  3. To add variety and enhance the fun include different activities such as rock wall climbing and cycling.
  4. Share the success of accomplishment through media promotion.

For relevant information look at the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) at:

The NOFFS provides the Navy with a performance training resource for sailors and health and fitness professionals.

What are some things you are doing to actively engage your community in fitness?


Get Active America! – A Community Approach

by IHRSA February 16, 2011

Fun, gym-based activity

At a time when policymakers are pulling levers to transform our sick care system to a genuine health care system, we have redesigned our flagship health promotion program, Get Active America, beginning May 2, 2011, to position health clubs as leading voices in their communities for healthy and active lifestyles.


The cornerstone of Get Active America is outreach to encourage the club’s whole community – club members and nonmembers – to pursue an Active Lifestyle award, such as the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, that will ultimately establish long-term, healthy physical activity habits. In this manner, Get Active America! supports the goal of the Let’s Move campaign, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, to inspire at least one million Americans to be active for 5 days/week for at least 6 out of 8 weeks.  We are looking forward to reporting the great contributions of IHRSA members to the First Lady and her Let’s Move team.  


We are also encouraging participating clubs to reach out to other local leaders to increase the impact of their efforts.  
We’re anticipating that local governments will be interested in a Get Active America partnership in the spirit of
Let’s Move Cities & Towns.  Perhaps the leaders of local faith communities will be eager for IHRSA clubs to sign up their members for an Active Lifestyle award and share the message of health and wellness.  And, certainly, there must be a local service organization near every club that could benefit from a warm-up exercise and healthy living discussion before its next meeting, no?  
Of course, participating clubs will also connect directly with youth and seniors.  We’re recommending that clubs offer to bring Get Active America to schools and senior centers through classes or seminars.  Or, better yet, invite young people and seniors to pursue an Active Lifestyle award by, for example, offering use of the club at discounted rates during off-peak hours.     

The outreach possibilities are limited only by imagination.  We know that participating clubs may run into a logjam of local bureaucracy or shortsighted skeptics, but they are empowered by the truth that a health club can transform the members of a community in a way that few institutions of our society can hope to match.  Undoubtedly, health clubs provide a service – health and wellbeing through exercise – that is vital to any community.

We don’t know yet the ultimate impact of Get Active America, but we’re hoping that it will lead to several innovative community health models through exercise. 


What are other organizations doing to encourage innovation in the promotion of physical activity at the community level?

Active Aging Week 2011

by ICAA February 11, 2011

Active aging adults

A myriad of activities can enhance health and well-being. The key is to find the right ones for an individual. One example of how we can encourage people to find what works for them is ICAA’s Active Aging Week.


Now in its ninth year, Active Aging Week, September 25–October 1, promotes the benefits of active, healthy lifestyles for adults over 50. During that time, host sites invite older adults in their local communities to experience free wellness activities and exercise in a safe, friendly and fun atmosphere. Below are some insights from veteran organizers as well as some general planning tips for participating in this kind of health promotion event:


Save the dates. Give people plenty of notice to avoid scheduling conflicts.


Initiate planning early. Begin your planning cycle as early as possible to have time to develop a vision and create support materials.


Target the audience. Consider the target audience for your activities. The identity of your target audience will influence the goals you set, the partnerships you seek, and both the activities and approaches you use.


Decide on goals. Consider the specific goals you want to achieve through your activities, and let those goals guide your planning. Your objectives will focus your decisions through the planning stages. Plus, determine how to measure the success of your efforts.


Seek out partnerships. Determine the resources you will need and approach other organizations about forming alliances. These resources might include staff, facilities, expertise, contacts and funding, for example. Others to contact include organizations that might provide speakers and/or volunteers, or offer cash or in-kind donations.


Have a checklist. Make sure you know what you need to do, and when, in the months leading up to the event. To help Active Aging Week organizers, ICAA provides a general “five-month plan” listing the major planning stages, as well as a planning checklist of more detailed tasks (see below).


Work with colleagues. Bring colleagues into the planning process, as they can help in selecting goals, promoting the health promotion event, and supporting or leading activities. Also, seek out colleagues who have the skills to help with specific planning tasks, such as writing press releases or creating marketing approaches


Call in volunteers. Start a volunteer team and involve this group in creating a vision, spreading the word about activities, and carrying out plans


Use ICAA resources. Visit the ICAA website for free support materials used to help Active Aging Week hosts plan and implement this event. Resources include fact sheets; formats for media advisory, press release and calendar announcements; logos; posters; certificates of participation; and more. A bevy of “planning guide” articles offers programming inspiration and practical information, while planning worksheets include a marketing matrix and lists that hosts can customize to meet their needs. To access these resources, go to the ICAA Web site.  


Active Aging Week activities may be the opportunity individuals need to step outside their comfort zone, finding that perfect activity that lets them be active their way. How can you take advantage of ICAA resources for Active Aging Week to help launch people on their way to healthier, active living?

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