Move in May: Embracing the Benefits of Physical Fitness and Sports for All Ages

In May, National Physical Fitness & Sports Month offers a chance to celebrate and advocate for physical activity and the advantages of participating in sports.

Engaging in physical activity is crucial for maintaining health and well-being. It enhances fitness, alleviates stress, lowers the risk of various chronic diseases, and alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression. Youth sports play a pivotal role in encouraging children and teens to be active, fostering the development of leadership, time management, and relationship-building skills.

Immediate Benefits

Engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity provides immediate benefits for brain health. Children aged 6 to 13 experience enhanced cognition, while adults often experience a reduction in short-term feelings of anxiety after such sessions. Consistent physical activity contributes to maintaining sharp thinking, learning, and judgment skills as you age. Additionally, it lowers the risk of depression and anxiety, promoting better sleep.

Measuring Physical Activity Intensity

Individuals can comprehend and gauge the intensity of aerobic activity by exploring the relationship between intensity and its impact on heart rate and breathing during physical activity.

Moderate Intensity

The talk test offers a straightforward method to assess relative intensity. As a general guideline, if you engage in moderate-intensity activity, you should be able to talk but not sing during the activity.

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on primarily flat or level terrain without hills
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

Vigorous Intensity

Typically, when participating in vigorous-intensity activity, you’ll find it challenging to say more than a few words without needing to pause for a breath.

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster that may include hills
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Adding Physical Activity to Your Life

If you are wondering how to meet the recommended amount of physical activity each week, do not worry. There is a surprising variety of activities to choose from. Essentially, any aerobic activity counts, as long as it is done at a moderate or vigorous intensity. It is important to note that any amount of physical activity, regardless of duration, brings about health benefits.

Daily Activities

Routine physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. 

  • Look for ways to reduce time sitting and increase time moving.
  • Set aside specific times to make physical activity part of your daily or weekly routine.
  • Start with activities, locations, and times you enjoy. 
  • Try activities with others in your household for motivation and mutual encouragement.
  • Start slowly and work your way up to more time or more challenging activities.
  • Use free apps and websites to find fun ways to be physically active or new places to put some variety in your activity routine.

Consider Starting an Exercise Routine

  • Assess your fitness level.
  • Design your program.
    • Determine your fitness goals.
    • Design a balanced routine.
    • Progress slowly.
    • Incorporate activity into your daily routine.
    • Allow time for recovery.
    • Put it on paper.

Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers

Recognizing common barriers to physical activity and developing strategies to overcome them can be instrumental in incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.

Suggestions for Overcoming Barriers

Lack of time

  • Identify available time slots: Monitor your daily activities for one week and pinpoint at least five 30-minute time slots suitable for physical activity.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine: Incorporate activities like walking or biking to work, organizing school activities around physical exercises, walking the dog, taking the stairs, exercising during TV time, or parking farther away from your destination.

Social support

  • Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family: Share your enthusiasm for physical activity with your loved ones and request their support in your endeavors.
  • Invite friends and family to exercise with you: Encourage your loved ones to join you in physical activities and plan social events that involve exercise.

Lack of energy

  • Schedule physical activity during times of the day or week when you feel most energetic.
  • Convince yourself that engaging in physical activity will boost your energy levels; then, give it a chance and try it out.

Lack of motivation

  • Plan ahead: Integrate physical activity into your regular daily or weekly schedule and mark it on your calendar.
  • Join an exercise group or class: Enroll in an exercise group or class to make physical activity a structured and enjoyable part of your routine. 

Lack of skill

  • Choose activities that do not necessitate new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
  • Enroll in a class to acquire and develop new skills.

High costs and lack of facilities

  • Choose activities that demand minimal facilities or equipment, like walking, jogging, jumping rope, or calisthenics.
  • Explore affordable and convenient resources within your community, such as community education programs, park and recreation initiatives, worksite programs, etc.

Weather conditions

  • Establish a routine of consistent activities that remain accessible regardless of the weather, such as aerobic dance, indoor swimming, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, or home-based activities like indoor cycling, calisthenics, and exercise videos.


Millennium Health and Fitness