Try Something New During National Physical Fitness & Sports Month!
by Holli Richmond, PCSFN Executive Director
In celebration of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, held each year in May, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation encouraging youth sports participation throughout the United States. This aligns with Presidential Executive Order 13824 issued on February 27, 2018. The Executive Order highlights this administration’s recognition of the importance of youth sports, and directs the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN) to develop a national strategy to “expand children’s participation in youth sports, encourage regular physical activity, including active play, and promote good nutrition for all Americans.”
Instilling good habits in our youth provides a key catalyst in developing well-adapted and healthy adults. It’s important to fully understand the benefits of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it’s never too late to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. Even small changes in your physical activity and eating habits can yield big results in your overall health.
As PCSFN’s new Executive Director, I am honored to lead the development of this national youth sports strategy, and to empower ALL Americans to find ways to get active and stay active. Living a healthy lifestyle has always been a priority for me and I’m very passionate about it. When I was young and impressionable, I saw the detrimental effects that a lifetime of unhealthy habits had on my family. I watched as several close family members developed potentially life-threatening obesity-related diseases, to include type 2 diabetes, a lifetime on medications, triple bypass surgery, and gastric bypass surgery.
The lesson that I learned, from watching my family struggle with these health issues, is that it’s important to develop healthy habits early in life. I made it a priority to maintain positive habits related to physical activity and nutrition. I developed a healthy eating routine and threw myself into various sports and active hobbies. I tried tap dance, ballet, gymnastics, basketball, cross-country, cheerleading, and hip hop dancing. Some I wasn’t very good at, but being persistent by nature I kept trying things until I found what worked for me.
In the Marine Corps, I grew to love full-contact combat sports like mixed martial arts. I also enjoyed kick-boxing and spin classes that were offered for free on base. Additionally, I fell in love with hot yoga and snowboarding and enjoyed hiking on the weekends with friends, or even getting out for a walk when I could. But I knew it was imperative to get a good score on my annual physical fitness test, so I still had to run, work on my core strength, and lift weights.
I am competitive and passionate by nature and believe that the healthiest me is the best me. I feel sharper and faster, I have more energy, and I just feel good when I’m active! I only have one life to live – why not make it amazing?
In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, I challenge you to try something new. Make it fun, and find what works for you. Include your friends and family to help keep you motivated. If you prefer to be active on your own, take the opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone. I’m never fully comfortable attending a class for the first time. When I first stepped into the kick-boxing gym, I was surrounded by those who were more experienced. I took it as an opportunity to learn, and admitted up front that it was something I’d never done before.
For more ideas on how to get started, visit Fitness.gov. Don’t forget to share your fitness journey with us on Twitter @FitnessGov and use the hashtag #MoveInMay.