National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 2:25 PM | Jessica Tosto (Administrator)

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month written by Andrea Polvere, MS Student at Pace University


In May of 1983, a federal advisory committee called the “President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition” declared May as “National Physical Fitness and Sports Month”. The purpose of dedicating a month to this issue is to encourage Americans of all ages to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their lives through physical activity, regardless of ability or background. Through this initiative, the Council promotes physical activity and provides suggestions for healthy dietary patterns with general exercise and nutrition guidelines, federal food assistance programs, as well as campaigns such as  #0to60 and Let’s Move. This year’s initiative, #MoveinMay, brings attention to healthy lifestyle habits and the benefits of sports participation!


Everyone can benefit from exercise– no matter the race or ethnicity, gender, size, or presence of health conditions!2 Physical activity provides endless health benefits, including weight management, prevention of diseases and conditions such as heart and lung diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and even dementia. It has also been shown to improve mood, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost energy, and improve sleep.3 

An active lifestyle is important at every stage of life, but participation in sports is particularly beneficial for children. This is a crucial developmental time that helps children and teenagers gain and develop skills for leadership, relationship-building, fair-play, time management, and respect for authority, teammates, opponents, and rules of the game.3,4 Self-esteem is an additional benefit and seems to increase in children involved with sports.5 It is also important to note that these learned attitudes, skills, and behaviors will create the foundation for a well-rounded individual possessing qualities such as responsibility, collaboration, honesty, reliability, and self-regulation. 4,5

Types of Exercise

Aerobic exercise, meaning “with oxygen”, is any type of cardiovascular exercise. Oxygen is moved to the muscles by red blood cells, where it reacts with glucose to create adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is the chemical source of energy within our bodies. This process, called cellular respiration, is characterized by 3 steps: glycolysis, Krebs cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.6 Some examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, biking, running, dancing, yard work, rowing, or swimming. These types of actives can range from mild, moderate, or vigorous intensity.

Anaerobic exercise means cellular respiration must occur without oxygen. Although the first step of cellular respiration is the same for aerobic and anaerobic conditions, fermentation occurs in attempt to create ATP in the absence of oxygen. As a result, significantly less ATP is created, with the addition of lactic acid production. Anaerobic exercise includes strength training activities such as free weights and weight lifting, HIIT exercises, and yoga or Pilates.2 These exercises are typically short, fast, and high-intensity.


  • Pre-school aged children (3-5 years old)= physically active throughout the day with plenty of opportunities for active play.
  • Kids and teenagers (6-17 years old)= >60 minutes per day
  • Adults=  >150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities >2 days a week.

Ways to Incorporate More Activity into Your Routine and How To Stick With It

Starting an exercise routine can be daunting, which is why it’s imperative to create small, attainable goals. Here are some tips to get you started and to stay motivated:

  • Take the bus or subway to work? Try getting off a stop early to get some extra steps in.1
  • Opt for the stairs instead of elevator or escalators.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful spring and summer weather and take up gardening and/or yard work.
  • Grab the lease and take your dog for a walk (or make your walk longer).
  • Exercise with a friend– that way, you can hold each other accountable for those days you really don’t feel like exercising. Or even plan to go for a walk instead of dinner one night; setting a realistic goal for all parties is important.
  • Ask your doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), or other health professional to recommend an exercise class or program to enroll in. There may even be groups designated for certain conditions– be sure to do some research through your local hospital, clinic, or health club for those.7
  • Participate in and share the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) interactive Move Your Way Activity Planner to find customizable and individualized ways to increase physical activity. This extensive planner includes aerobic and anaerobic activities to choose from, and allows printable plans so you can stick it onto your fridge to stay motivated!3
  • Choose activities that YOU enjoy! A website called features  several clubs, camps, and organizations for all ages under the “Sports Classes in the Westchester Area” including racquetball, track and field, rock climbing, dance and performance, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, and much more!8

How to Encourage Physical Activity and Youth Sports In Your Kids3

  • Visit’s ODPHP website at and…
  • Share their posters and fact sheets to raise awareness about the National Youth Sports Strategy.
  • Discover more ways to add more exercise into your child’s day. There is an interactive graphic that can be used to calculate total minutes of activity including recess and PE at school, plus examples of activities at home such as walking the dog, participating in morning yoga or stretches, and dancing in the living room!
  • Challenge teens to get moving by creating a video on why they like to move based on a short series of ODPHP YouTube videos.

If you would like to learn more about National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, please visit the!


1. 2022. [online] Available at:

2.       Physical Activity Prevents Chronic Disease. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.

3.       Move in May and Celebrate National Physical Fitness & Sports Month - News & Events | (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from

4.       The Importance of Sports for Children. Novak Djokovic Foundation. (2015). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from

5.       Sports and Children. (2018). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from,become%20a%20money%2Dmaking%20business.

6.       Cellular respiration review (article) | Khan Academy. Khan Academy. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from

7.       What you need to know about exercise and chronic disease. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from

8.       Sports classes in the Westchester area. Kids Out and About Westchester. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from

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