If you’ve stalled on your fitness goals since making January resolutions, don't sweat it – or better yet, do. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is here.
Organized by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month challenges Americans during May to get active and eat better, setting into motion long-term healthy behaviors. For people who have been exercising regularly, May is the perfect time to turn up the volume on training for a new level of fitness, with summer only weeks away.
Exercise for exercise's sake isn't easy. Exercising toward a fun summertime goal is more enjoyable and may help with adherence to fitness. A summer fitness goal might be as simple as visualizing a lean and strong physique just in time for the healthy barbecue and pool party you host to celebrate your fitness gains. It also could be setting your summer beach vacation, making sure the weight is off by the time the bikini or swim trunks come on. Choosing exercise you like to do also can help with adherence. Pick-up basketball, volleyball, dance, as well as traditional running, or cardio and resistance strength training in a gym all qualify. The key is choosing what you enjoy and sticking with it.
For those who aren't on a workout plan, NPF&S Month is a time to start anew. Federal guidelines recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours of moderately to vigorously intense cardiovascular exercise each week – or at least 30 minutes five days a week. This could include cardio from brisk walking to running, depending on doctor's recommendations and current levels of fitness. Cardio training should be combined with muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week, as a minimum. Regardless of the sport or activity, exercise “newbies” should always check with their physician about any possible contraindications for exercise.
Finally, six-pack summer abs won’t just happen in the gym. Great abs are created first at the dinner table, then at the gym, according to the book, Gut-less! The All-In or Nothing 30-Day Abs Program, which recommends reducing the big three nutritional saboteurs: excessive sugar, salt and fat. The book also recommends eliminating soft drinks for 30 days as a best first start for leaning the midsection. Nutrition and exercise work in tandem to create a trim physique.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. The World Health Organization attributes about 3.2 million deaths worldwide each year to insufficient physical activity.