May time to focus on fitness

  • Published
  • By Marilyn Leggett
  • Civilian Health Promotion Services
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and May 21 is National Employee Health and Fitness Day.

If you've been meaning to start a fitness program or if you've fallen a little off your fitness regimen, May is the time to get on board.  If you have to start somewhere, let May 21st be your target date.

A lifestyle of healthy eating and regular activity will improve one's health in a multitude of ways according to the 2009 National President's Challenge, a program that encourages all Americans to make being active part of their everyday lives. It only takes a small change: instead of telling yourself you can't, tell yourself you can.

The challenge also asserts that people who stay active do better on the job. They're more alert and get more done, so if you're responsible for directing others, it makes sense to gauge whether all your team is as fit and productive as they can be. May 21st may be the day that you bring folks together to plan for better organizational fitness, or make sure employees are out doing something on that date.

Chronic dieting seems to slow the body's metabolism as you survive on fewer calories. As a result, the more diets a person goes on in a lifetime, the more resistant to diets the body becomes. The recommendation is to eat an adequate and satisfying array of healthy foods and incorporate exercise as the second part of a historically successful approach.

Weight control, good health and fitness involve daily and lifelong changes.

The food we take in is the fuel our bodies need to function, mentally and physically, and exercise is the action piece of the equation that balances things out. Exercise done regularly can boost energy and overall feelings of well-being and can help you sleep better and reduce stress.

Nearly everyone can find some form of physical activity that will be beneficial. The biggest obstacle to exercise is often not our bodies but our minds; we don't have the time, the ability, or special equipment to exercise. To begin an exercise program, find the activities that make your body work and expand the amount of time spent in doing them. For example, washing the car, gardening, housecleaning, walking more and driving less.

For more formal exercising, such as jogging, be sure to engage in those that you enjoy. If you don't like sitting on an exercise bike, don't do it! Remember, finding activities/exercise you enjoy will allow you to look forward to the time you spend doing it. The more consistently you participate, the better you will feel.

Start in small increments and gradually increase the time and frequency of your exercise. Exercise most days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes and, if necessary, you can break this into two or three shorter periods during the day. A good place to start is the "10,000 Steps a Day" Program located on AFMC's wellness support website,, for civilians and active duty members.

The goal of the program is to help you increase your level of physical activity in an easy and measurable way; you will also be building new habits for healthy living. A "personal coach" program is also located on the wellness site, allowing you to track exercises you do. Make sure you have your physician's OK, especially if you've been inactive for a while.

For more information contact CHPS Eglin at 883-8024 or the Eglin HAWC at 883-8022/8020.