National physical fitness and sports month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. Getting regular physical activity can benefit everyone – children, adolescents, and adults alike. Encourage families to make small changes, like taking a walk after dinner. Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier by making sure physical activity is a part of every student’s day. Identify youth leaders in the community who can talk to their peers about the importance of being active.

Here are just some of the benefits of physical activity:
  • Children and adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness and bone and heart health.
  • Adults – Physical activity can lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Older adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like judgment and learning).

How much physical activity do you need each week?

How many times a week should you be physically active?
It is up to you, but it is better to spread your activity throughout the week and to be active at least 3 days a week.
How do you build up more physical activity?
Do a little more each time. Once you feel comfortable, do it more often. Then, you can trade activities at a moderate level for vigorous ones that take more effort. You can do moderate and vigorous activities in the same week.
How much physical activity do you need to do?
The list below tells you about the activities that are important for you to do. Do both aerobic activities and strengthening activities. Each offers important health benefits. And remember, some physical activity is better than none!
Aerobic Activities
  • If you choose activities at a moderate level, do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week.
  • If you choose vigorous activities, do at least 1 hour and 15 minutes a week.
  • Slowly build up the amount of time you do physical activities. The more time you spend, the more health benefits you gain.
  • Do at least 10 minutes at a time.You can combine moderate and vigorous activities.

Muscle Strengthening Activities

  • Do these at least 2 days a week.
  • Include all the major muscle groups such as legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms.
  • Exercises for each muscle group should be repeated 8 to 12 times per session.

How can you tell an activity at a moderate level from a vigorous one? Click here for more information.

Ready to get more active? Check out the President’s Challenge: Click here.
15 minutes to better health — Take the Mayo Clinic Health Assessment and see how you measure up. In just 15 minutes, the Mayo Clinic Health Assessment identifies your health risks and immediately provides you with your results in the My Health section of your portal. See how you are doing overall based on your Health Assessment results. Click here for more information.
This information has been adapted from
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a health care professional with any questions about personal health care status, and prior to making changes in approaches to diet and exercise. This material is for informational purposes only and is not a guarantee of coverage under any Episcopal Church Medical Trust (“ECMT”) health plan. To determine what services are covered under an ECMT health plan, the corresponding Plan Handbook should be reviewed carefully. In the event of a conflict between this information contained in this email and the official Plan documents (schedule of benefits, Summary Plan Description, booklet, booklet-certificate), the official Plan documents will govern. Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the<>  domain are not associated with the ECMT and its affiliates (collectively, the “Church Pension Group”) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such website. All quotations are used with permission.

Photo: Mike Baird
Used under a Creative Commons License