Drier Weather Gives an Assist to Physical Activity Month
April 28, 2006
With the rain finally letting up in Northern California, sunny skies are set to shine on Californians determined to improve their health and become more active in time for Physical Activity Month in May.
The wet weather may have made it difficult to keep New Year's resolutions about getting more fit, especially because the easiest route to getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity for adults and 60 minutes for young people often comes in several 10-15 minutes increments.
"One of the best ways for adults to start is with a daily afternoon walk to keep from getting sleepy during the hours after lunch," said Gwenndolynn White, Outreach and Education Coordinator for Contra Costa Health Services' On the Move with FoodWise! project.
A new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy (www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu) finds that one in four California adults -- six million in all -- doesn't walk for transportation or leisure. Likewise, the study reports that one in four California teens doesn't get the recommended hour a day of physical activity.
Of course, walking is just one of many options for healthy people to get active. Bicycling, swimming, gardening, taking a dance class, playing with your children at a park -- they all work well.
"It often helps to have a friend or relative be your ‘physical activity buddy,' because these activities are even more fun when they are social," said White. "And there are many other positive effects, including maintaining a healthy body weight, gaining more energy, reducing stress and improving your overall health."
Making sure children and teens get their hour a day of physical activity is part of good parenting as well. The California Department of Health Services reports that 38 percent of the state's children ages 9 to 11 are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.
Numerous diseases and conditions have been linked to poor diet and physical inactivity including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, the risk of suffering from these diseases may be reduced.
On the Move with FoodWise! is a project within Contra Costa Health Services' Community Wellness & Prevention Program. For more information about On the Move with FoodWise! or getting more physically active in your community, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website or contact Gwenndolynn White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-313-6829.
# # #