The International Year of Sports and Physical Education

Article excerpt

MANY nations are beginning to understand and promote the benefits of physical activity, which have caused them to launch national efforts to encourage the young to be physically active, with a strong emphasis on participation in team sports. In the last 50 years there have also been efforts to educate the public about the cardiovascular benefits of vigorous activity such as running and playing basketball, and the health benefits of moderate intensity activities such as walking, gardening, and dancing.

Other landmark reviews of the research on physical activity and the fitness movement around the world have made a convincing case for good health among people today. The key finding is that people of all ages can improve the quality of their lives through lifelong practice of moderate activity. One need not be training for a local or national marathon to derive health benefits from physical activity. A regular regimen of at least 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking, bicycling, or even working around the house or garden will reduce the risks of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes. If you are already doing daily physical activity, increasing the intensity or duration of your activity will benefit your health even more. …