Today the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary. As so many people have done over the past century, including the fictional Griswolds, my family of four took to the open road on a hot summer day traveling 2,000 miles from the Heartland of America to visit the celestial mountains, lakes, and forests out West. What did we find? Exactly that – mountains and lakes and forests. We also found so much more. As we paddled a kayak in the crystal clear Lake Crescent; hiked a 600-foot incline to view Glacier waterfalls; and strolled a misty beach hearing thunderous waves smack the Pacific coast, we discovered health – mental and physical.
However, I am reminded not to wait for a vacation to create peace of mind and strong bones and muscles. Physical activity should be incorporated into my daily life. When the Obama administration came into office, the First Lady made it her mission to fight childhood obesity. Let’s Move was Michelle Obama’s initiative to motivate children to eat well and exercise. The Get Active page has useful recommendations for the amount of beneficial activity and food intake for staying fit. The President, too, supported his wife’s program with his challenge to modify lifestyle behavior. View a list of suggested activities or take a fitness test at the President’s Challenge website.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, too, has several resources to guide you to a healthier you. MedlinePlus – Exercise and Physical Fitness compiles facts, information and links to many useful sites such as Exercise Tips for Travelers at Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging and consumer health information for Joining a Gym from the Federal Trade Commission.
For more science-based information, look at HealthyPeople.gov. HHS developed this website as part of the Healthy People 2020 [PDF] initiative. It provides resources to help implement programs and applications to improve the Nation’s Health by 2020. Now, I will stop writing so you will stop reading, and we all can go for a walk.