STATUS OF THE NATION - A NEED FOR CHANGE
- More than 60 percent of adults do not achieve the recommended amount of regular physical activity. In fact, 25 percent of all adults are not active at all.
- Inactivity increases with age and is more common among women than men and among those with lower income and less education than among those with higher income or education
Adolescents and Young Adults
- Nearly half of young people aged 12-21 are not vigorously active on a regular basis.
- Physical activity declines dramatically with age during adolescence.
- Female adolescente are much less physically active than male adolescents.
High School Students
- In high school, enrollment in daily physical education classes dropped from 42 percent in 1991 to 25 percent in 1995.
- Only 19 percent of all high school students are physically active for 20 minutes or more in physical education classes every day during the school week.
IDEAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
This report identifies promising ways to help people include more physical activity in their daily lives.
- Well-designed programs in schools to increase physical activity in physical education classes have been shown to be effective.
- Carefully planned counseling by health care providers and worksite activity programs can increase individuals' physical activity levels.
- Promising approaches being tried in some communities around the nation include opening school buildings and shopping malls for walking before or after regular hours, as well as building bicycle and walking paths separated from automobile traffic. Revising building codes to require accessible stairwells is another idea that has been suggested
SPECIAL MESSAGES FOR SPECIAL POPULATIONS
- No one is too old to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity. Of special interest to older adults is evidence that muscle-strengthening exercises can reduce the risk of falling and fracturing bones and can improve the ability to live independently.
- Parents can help their children maintain a physically active lifestyle by providing encouragement and opportunities for physical activity. Family events can include opportunities for everyone in the family to be active.
- Regular physical activity improves strength, builds lean muscle, and decreases body fat. It can build stronger bones to last a lifetime.
- Regular physical activity burns Calories and preserves lean muscle mass. It is a key component of any weight loss effort and is important for controlling weight.
People with High Blood Pressure
Regular physical activity helps lower blood pressure.
People Feeling Anxious, Depressed, or Moody
Regular physical activity improves mood, helps relieve depression, and increases feelings of well-being.
People with Arthritis
Regular physical activity can help control joint swelling and pain. Physical activity of the type and amount recommended for health has not been shown to cause
People with Disabilities
Regular physical activity can help people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength and can improve psychological well-being and quality of life by increasing the ability to perform activities of daily life.