May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month raising awareness of the importance of regular physical activity for children and adults. Throughout the month of May children and adults are encouraged to engage in physical activity every day for 30 minutes.
African American Health Concerns that Won’t Go Away
According to the American Heart Association roughly 40 percent of blacks in the United States have high blood pressure (also known as the silent killer). Over 60 percent of black men and over 70 percent age 20 and older are considered overweight. Roughly 15 percent of African Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes. All of these elements place blacks at higher risks of developing heart disease and experiencing heart attack and stroke.
Poor lifestyle, family health history and lack of exercise are reasons behind health statistics blacks should pay close attention to. These statistics won’t get better unless people get serious about making necessary changes to how they live. Regular exercise is beneficial for everyone but for African Americans of all ages it can greatly reduce affects and risks of health disparities.
Tips on How to Incorporate Regular Exercise into Weekly Routine
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition is challenging adults to get 30 minutes of physical activity daily through the month of May, yet this is a good incentive to keep going throughout the year. Adults can complete moderate exercise such as aerobics, dance, walking fast and even yard work. Aim to engage in moderate physical activity for about 2 hours and 30 minutes each week.
For about 2 days a week, focus on muscle-strengthening activities with the use of exercise bands or weight lifting. Make plans with your family to engage in physical activity each day this month. Consider taking a walk after dinner or bike riding together on weekends. Be creative as you look for ways to incorporate healthy physical activity as part of a regular routine.
How You Can Help Yourself Life Longer
People can increase their chances of living longer by making physical activity a part of their daily routine. Regular physical activity in children encourages good heart and bone health and improves muscular fitness. Adults can reduce risk of developing health risks such as various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Older adults can improve cognitive function (judgment and learning skills) and reduce risk of experiencing a fall.
Researchers say it’s as simple as eliminating a sugary drink or dessert and replacing it with 30 minutes of exercise. Additional actions you can take include limiting salt intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, adopt healthy snack habits and maintain a well-balanced diet. As you get into the habit of regular physical exercise keep a diary or journal of your progress. Any questions or concerns should be reviewed with your doctor or health care professional.