Not sure how to find time for physical activity this summer? We've got suggestions for you!

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are startling statistics on the lack our nation’s physical activity, and ultimately the health of its citizens:

- About one-third of adults and approximately 17% of children and adolescents fall into the obese category. 

- Only 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools and 2.1% of high schools provide physical education.

It is recommended that adults should have 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day, and children should have 60 minutes of age-appropriate moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per day.  Sadly, statistics also show the majority of Americans are not getting the amount of activity recommended.

Liz Short, athletic trainer with ATI Physical Therapy, knows firsthand the benefits of physical activity.  As a state champion female wrestler in high school, and an Olympic level trained wrestler in college, Liz’s love for sports, physical activity and its benefits carried well into her current career, and future career as a physical education, health and science teacher. 

“Regular physical activity has an array of health benefits,” says Liz.  “Participating in sports is one way to incorporate physical activity into your life.  It can prevent chronic diseases, reduce fat, plus strengthen muscle, bone and joint development. Equally important are the life-skills from participation in athletics including teamwork, discipline, confidence, and problem solving.”

Liz also stresses that physical education and activity are not only good for the heart, but also good for the brain! Exercise has been linked to higher standardized test scores in students, as it helps increase blood flow to the brain. 

If playing sports isn’t your thing, Liz says there are simple things that can be incorporated into your everyday life that will make a big difference.  And remember, the recommended 30 or 60 minutes can be broken up throughout the day.

- Limit sedentary activities such a television, computers and video games

- Take family walks and bike rides

- Visit local hiking trails

- Choose stairs over the elevator

- Pick the farthest parking spot and enjoy the walk

- Improvise! Use soup cans you have around your house as weights or go to the nearest playground and use the monkey bars. 

- Join a gym, take a yoga class or engage the help of a personal trainer

As with the start of any new physical activity, Liz recommends speaking to your physician before beginning.