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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

National Physical Fitness & Sports Month


Playing sports provides numerous health benefits

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a national observance held annually in the United States. This celebration encourages Americans to lead a healthy and active lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity and participating in sports. The event also seeks to raise awareness about the numerous benefits of exercise and its positive impact on physical, mental and emotional well-being. The event’s history can be traced back to 1983 when President Ronald Reagan’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition declared May National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Since then, the event has gained popularity and is now observed by schools, community organizations, sports clubs and individuals across the country.

The theme for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month 2023 is “Move More, Sit Less.” The goal is to encourage individuals to incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine and reduce the time spent sitting or being sedentary. This is especially important given the rise in sedentary lifestyles due to the pandemic and increased use of technology. A key objective is to promote regular physical activity among individuals of all ages and abilities. The event encourages Americans to engage in a range of physical activities, from walking and cycling to swimming and dancing. Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Another focus of this celebratory month is on the importance of proper nutrition and hydration. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. Individuals are encouraged to consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods and limit their intake of processed and sugary foods. Drinking plenty of water is vital to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels during physical activity.

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month highlights the importance of sports in promoting physical fitness and overall well-being. Playing sports provides numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced muscle strength and endurance, and reduced stress levels. Moreover, sports offer a fun and social way to engage in physical activity and connect with others who share similar interests. Schools and community organizations play a critical role in promoting National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Many schools organize events and activities encouraging students to be physically active, such as sports tournaments, fitness challenges and dance competitions. These activities promote physical fitness and help build teamwork and social skills. Community organizations also organize events and activities that promote physical activity and sports. For example, local parks and recreation departments often offer fitness classes, sports leagues and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. Gyms and fitness centers also typically offer monthly promotions and discounts to encourage individuals to try out their facilities and services.

Regular participation in sports and physical activities can help high school students succeed in various ways. Sports participation improves physical health, promotes better sleep and enhances overall well-being. These physical benefits can translate into improved mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression, which can, in turn, improve academic performance. In addition, playing sports can develop important life skills, including teamwork, leadership, discipline, perseverance and time management, which can be transferable to academic and professional settings. Sports can also provide socialization opportunities, improving self-esteem and reducing social isolation.

Participating in sports can also increase the chances of college admission and scholarships, as many universities look for well-rounded students who show dedication and commitment to extracurricular activities. Additionally, sports can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, which can help students stay engaged in school and motivated to succeed. These activities can positively impact high school students physical, mental, social and academic development, increasing their chances of success in all areas of their lives.

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month provides an excellent opportunity for individuals and organizations to come together and promote physical activity and sports. By working together, we can help create a culture of health and fitness that encourages Americans to prioritize their health and well-being.

Shane Barton, MD, MPH, is the chair of orthopedic surgery, and Thomas Norris, MD, a professor at LSU Health Shreveport.


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