May 9, 2008
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced "May-Kit Happen," a program to recognize Exercise is Medicine month by encouraging the public to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle throughout the month of May.
The month-long commemoration is part of the Exercise is Medicine program, an initiative launched by the ACSM and the American Medical Association. Exercise is Medicine is designed to encourage all physicians and healthcare professionals to discuss exercise with their patients, and conversely, to encourage patients to feel comfortable starting that conversation with their healthcare provider.
"May-Kit Happen" asks people to incorporate more physical activity into their lives and talk with their physicians during the month of May about what types of exercise are best suited to their health.
"If there is one single thing you can do to improve your health, there is no doubt it is exercise," said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, ACSM, president and chair of the Exercise is Medicine initiative. "Regular physical activity is so powerful in maintaining and improving health that it should be prescribed, just as medicine or any drug would be. This idea deserves the attention of the month of May. We hope people will pledge to be a little more active this month to gain that positive impact on their health."
States including Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Connecticut and Iowa have proclaimed May as Exercise is Medicine month. Several cities also have pledged support by creating events featuring the "May-Kit Happen" principles, including Indianapolis, Tallahassee, Fla, Eugene, Ore, and several cities in Texas. ACSM reports that during May, even more communities will be urged to sign on and help get citizens healthier and more active.
According to ACSM, research has proven that exercise helps to prevent or cure numerous chronic conditions and diseases, such as Type II diabetes and high blood pressure. The group also cites findings by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control which estimate $76 billion in annual direct medical costs can be attributed to physical inactivity.
Resources for physicians, fitness professionals, schools, worksites, insurance companies and the public are available at www.May-KitHappen.org. These resources include recommendations for fitness professionals and doctors to help design a complete physical activity program for patients; ways for the public on how to begin exercise; and lesson plan ideas for teachers related to exercise.
The Web site of Exercise is Medicine™, www.exerciseismedicine.org, also contains resources. The public can sign up to receive free health and fitness resources from ACSM.