October is also  National Physical Therapy Month

This year the focus of National Physical Therapy month is on the national obesity epidemic.  No longer is obesity a problem for only a handful of people.  It has now reached epidemic proportions.  No longer is obesity age discriminant.  Childhood obesity is rising in dramatic numbers each year.

For the nearly 100 million Americans who are overweight or obese, physical activity must be a crucial component to weight loss and better health, which is the focus of October’s National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) announced.

“According to a recent study conducted by the Trust for America’s Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention, obesity rates continued their climb in 31 states last year. Health officials say the latest state rankings provide evidence that the nation has a public health crisis on its hands. Last year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited evidence that found that more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the previous month.

A lack of exercise is a major contributing factor to obesity rates. “People who are overweight or obese must follow an appropriate exercise program that includes aerobic conditioning and avoids exercise that can lead to injury,” notes Terry Michel, PT, DPT, DSc, CCS, a physical therapist at Boston’s Mass General Hospital. “Physical therapists will typically recommend a low-impact form of weight training, such as exercise bands that help avoid excessive joint stress, and modified yoga stretches and Tai Chi for promoting flexibility and relaxation,” she adds.” (quoted from apta)

“Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.” (quoted fromCDC)

Proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, and an active lifestyle is the only thing that will save America’s future generations.  Americans rely too heavily on fast food, television, and video games.  We as American’s need to take control of our own futures by making healthy food choices, taking family walks, limiting television time, limiting video game time and encouraging our children to go outside run, play, and be active.  With continued physical education cuts in schools to appease the academic requirements the burden of teaching our children how to exercise and the importance now falls on us as community members and parents.

Recommendations are 30-40 min of moderate intensity physical activity 4-5 days per week for a total of 120-200 min of physical activity a week. (ACSM guidelines)

10 tips to a Healthy lifestyle:

1) Park at the end of the parking lot and walk to where you need to go.
2) Take the stairs instead of the elevator
3) Walk or ride your bike to work
4) Walk around the building at your office first thing in the morning, at lunch, or at the end  of the day.
5) Limit television/video game time to 1 hour.
6) Take a family walk when everyone gets home.
7) Make exercise fun by playing games or tracking activities for a contest.
8) Limit eating out to 1 night a week
9) When eating out make wise choices (chicken or fish instead of beef, grilled instead of fried, bake potatoe instead of fries, order a salad)
10) Pre-cook meals and freeze them to warm-up a home cooked meal in a pinch.  It’s healthier and cheaper!

Most importantly find what works for you and your family

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