Q: What is Physical Fitness and Sports Month?
A: May was first declared National Physical Fitness and Sports Month by President Ronald Reagan, in 1983, to encourage Americans to incorporate more activity into their daily lives. The reminder is even more important today as screen time increases with TVs, computers and video games. Living an active lifestyle can improve health, productivity and overall well being, and it doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends at least 30 minutes of activity five days a week for adults and at least 60 minutes for kids. Unfortunately, neither adults nor kids are getting the exercise they need or eating as healthy as they should. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, only 30 percent of adults get the recommended amount of physical activity and 37 percent of adults report that they are not physically active. A sedentary lifestyle has led to more than 10 percent of children between two and five years old, and 16 percent of kids between six and 19 years old, being overweight. Excess weight can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and arthritis. Every bit of exercise and healthy eating helps. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, even 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three times a week or 30 minutes a day broken up into shorter increments of 10 to 15 minutes can help improve health. Moderate physical activity can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, as well as reduce obesity, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and symptoms of arthritis.
Q: Where can Iowans get more information about staying active and eating healthy?
A: For more information on what's recommended in a healthy diet, please visit www.nutrition.gov and www.mypyramid.gov . For more information and tips to live an active lifestyle, visit www.fitness.gov . The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports also has set up the President's Challenge. While this program started out as a youth fitness test, it has expanded to help people of all ages stay active in their everyday lives. To learn more or sign up for the President's Challenge, visit www.presidentschallenge.org .
Q: How do you stay physically active?
A: I run and try to walk a lot. About four days a week, I run three miles at 5:15 a.m., so I'm sure to get it done. Sometimes on weekdays, Iowans who are in Washington for work or vacation will come running with me. I also enjoy participating in 5K runs in Iowa and sometimes Washington. These events raise money for good causes and bring communities together, while getting all of us to exercise.