May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
According to Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is an ideal time for hygienists to talk with patients about the benefits of an active lifestyle. She notes that while there is limited time with patients and many important issues to address during appointments, hygienists can raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity.
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is an ideal time to talk with patients about the benefits of getting active. Getting regular physical activity can benefit everyone, children, adolescents, and adults. A toolkit is available, and is sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition.(1)
The benefits of physical activity on children and adolescents, adults, and seniors are well known. It can improve muscular fitness, bone and heart health; lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer; and can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning, like judgment and learning.
While most people know these benefits, they need to be reminded. We can all use this month to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity, at home, in our offices, and in the larger community. Some of the recommendations include 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, such as walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves. Muscle-strengthening activities, like lifting weights and using exercises bands, are suggested at least 2 days a week. You can sign up for a President’s Challenge, The Nation’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, that helps people improve their fitness and eating habits to live happier, healthier lives.(2)
Many health topics are covered and resources available. Eat Healthy, Get Active, Help Your Child Stay at a Healthy Weight, and Watch Your Weight are some of these resources.(3,4,5,6) If someone has a disability, they can be active as well.(7) Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, is designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Motivating older adults to become physically active for the first time, return to exercise after a break in their routines, or build more exercise and physical activity into weekly routines are the essential elements of Go4Life.(8)
So get moving and counsel your patients to do the same. Answer your patients’ questions and provide free follow-up materials. Get free Tips Sheets, posters, brochures and bookmarks for your patients and family members.(9) We have limited time with our patients and many important issues to address during your appointments, but we can share information to improve their health.