May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, designated in 1983 by the President's Council on Fitness to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.
American leaders realized fitness was vital for our citizens as early as 1956, when President Eisenhower created the President's Council on Youth Fitness, renamed in the early 1960s by President Kennedy as the President's Council on Physical Fitness to include people of all ages.
As the President's Council reminds us, every physical activity counts in your goal to become more fit. The time we devote to keep our bodies moving will reward us tenfold in happiness with the extra energy, productivity and good health we'll enjoy for the rest of our lives.
Here are some ways to get your body moving:
Be a SportJoin a community sports league—softball, soccer, basketball, flag football or even Ultimate Frisbee. You will have a blast and get your exercise in at the same time.
Join a GroupWorking out with others keeps you on target. Your classmates will hold you accountable for attending each day and you'll enjoy working up a sweat together.
Exercise with MomFor Mother's Day, take some time to help Mom feel great. Depending upon her fitness level, take her for a scenic drive followed by a healthy lunch and brief stroll, or if she's able, show her some gentle yoga stretches or tai chi motions. If mom is really fit, she might take you for a walk.
Have a Ball with Your ChildrenEngage your kids in fitness and fun. Toss a football across the yard, kick a soccer ball through a park, or take turns swatting a baseball with a bat and running to get the ball. Return home for a healthy snack accompanied by water or unsweetened juice.
Hip HooplaRemember Hula Hoops? Swirling a hoop around your swiveling hips is fabulous exercise for your abdominal muscles and your entire torso from the action and from all the laughing you'll do. If you have children, have them join in; they might show you a thing or two.
Jack of All TradesJumping jacks can be done anywhere. All you need is your body and the desire to feel vital. Try variations such as half-jacks (raise your arms to shoulder height only), power jacks (finish each one with a squat) or scissors jacks (scissors your legs on each jump).
Whatever your fitness level, get moving in May and beyond. Your body will thank you.
Get moving in a fitness class.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.