May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month – a month dedicated to the importance of athletics and staying active. While this advocacy month applies to everyone, it is mostly directed toward children and how they can learn healthy habits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that parents should start their kids early by allowing them to play and be active in safe environments such as parks and sports fields. Another way to encourage children to be active is by making fitness part of your family’s daily routine. Whether just walks or family bike rides, these consistent activities can help children develop a passion for being active. Along with that, the CDC emphasizes how important it is for parents to set a good example for their kids by being active themselves. Overall though, the focus of this month is to provide a safe and fun environment for kids to be active.
Children are encouraged to be active for at least 60 minutes a day in order for them to develop a healthy lifestyle. From school gym activities to organized youth sports, there are many opportunities for kids to get active in the area. Even gyms in the county have programs for kids to stay active throughout the summer by teaching them games and giving them a place to play with other kids.
All Fairfax County Schools encourage students to be active, even in higher grade levels. These classes help students learn different exercises, explain the health benefits of fitness, and even show students proper form and technique.
“I took a weightlifting class my junior year at Herndon [high school],” said Zachary Wemyss, a 19-year-old who frequently goes to the gym-. “It’s essentially a weightlifting class where they teach you the fundamentals of how to bench press, squat, deadlift, and they test you based on improvement in strength.”
Although the health of children and young people is a big part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, people of all ages are encouraged to get active. For adults, there are gyms throughout the area as well as adult sports leagues – including FXA Adult Sports, Fairfax Adult Softball, and more. These leagues motivate adults to get active through the social aspect of them, allowing people to meet friends and find a workout buddy.
There are even similar leagues for young adults, utilized by companies to promote bonds within the workplace. These casual sports teams give young people a space to get to know their coworkers outside of work while being active.
Many young people are seeing fitness being promoted all over social media, especially on TikTok and Instagram. Gymgoers post clips and photos of themselves exercising to show off what they do at the gym to stay fit. Many even post their routines, whether for beginners or “gym junkies” who want to switch things up, so that followers can find different workouts to do on their own.
“I mainly just thought it would be a fun way to share my fitness journey to others,” said Wemyss, who posts his gym updates on Instagram. “I would see all these other influencers posting really cool photos and I just thought that even though I am not on their level, it would still be fun to have a place where people support me and where I can track my progress.”
Along with its physical health benefits, there are also mental health benefits to being active. Fitness is known to improve your mood as well as help you reset, which is part of why it is so widely encouraged and why the month of May is dedicated to it.
“I think it’s [fitness] a good way to relieve stress and just kind of have a good thing going in your life,” said Ethan Page, 19, a former athlete who started going to the gym his junior year of high school.
Throughout the county, including Fairfax County Parks Rec Centers,there are a variety of ways to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. People of all ages are encouraged to get active this month to celebrate the health benefits of working out.
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