It's amazing how things change in just a generation. Within our lifetime, we've seen an explosion of technological advances that have made the computer a household appliance, and home video gaming graphics have become so realistic that they have all but eclipsed arcade games of the past. Cell phones have become an ever-present accessory, and "texting" is becoming the preferred method of communicating with family and friends. Those advances, however, have also helped contribute to a generation of sedentary children who spend their leisure time sitting in front of a computer "instant messaging" friends, battling zombies while adhered to a gaming console, or curled-up in that all-too-familiar "texting" position sending message after message.
After all the friends have been contacted and the video battles have been fought, there's not much time left for getting outside for any old-fashioned physical activity—what we used to refer to as "playing." In an effort to focus some much needed attention on the benefits of physical activity for the whole family, The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) helped develop the "President's Challenge," a program to encourage all Americans to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives. The PCPFS is an advisory committee of volunteer citizens who advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services about physical activity, fitness, and sports in America. The program uses a series of guidelines, activity tracking, and award programs to motivate children and adults to increase their daily physical activity level with hopes that the experience will become a lifestyle change for the good of all involved.
In a 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found evidence to support the theory that young people today have become inactive. The study found the following among U.S. high school students:
The President's Challenge began as a six-week program to encourage Americans to become more active, and according to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports nearly 90,000 participants rose to the occasion. The physical activity program is available online and children and adults can register for the President's Challenge by visiting www.presidentschallenge.org. Once registered in the program, participants have access to a variety of resources including activity suggestions, exercise guidelines, online activity logs for tracking progress, and award opportunities. The program emphasizes the following guidelines for establishing an active lifestyle program:
The President's Challenge suggests the following ten ideas for kids to get active:
The PCPFS hopes that those who have participated will continue their commitment to being physically active as a component of a healthy lifestyle. The PCPFS notes the following benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle:
We all know it's all too easy to fall into a "couch-potato" mindset. Daily life is stressful and after a long day of work or school, the natural response is to relax and take it easy. But in the long run, such behavior can become a habit and, before long, such inactivity starts to impact your health. With the help of the President's Challenge, you can help your family get off the couch. The President's Challenge provides the guidance and resources to make it easy to get active, track your results, and even earn rewards. But being active and bettering your health and the health of your child will always be the greatest reward of all!
Consult with your family physician or healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.
Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.
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