Fitness in the USA: How Does Your Family Stack Up?

Fitness Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Written by

It’s always good to know where you stand in life. So we’ve pulled together the latest nationwide fitness stats from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition to help you figure out how you and your family stack up to the rest of the country, and to identify steps you can take right now to improve your health and fitness.

The Stat: Children now spend more than 7-1/2 hours a day in front of TV or computer screens. Only one in three children is physically active every day.

What you can do about it: Are your kids getting enough exercise? If your children prefer video games to the outside world, it’s time to get them moving. Find out which sports or activities they enjoy and sign them up through their school or a neighborhood center like the YMCA.

Squeezing in time for fitness as a family each week is a great way for you and your kids to get active as well. If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to get your whole family moving, you can read our tips and adventure ideas right here at Actively Northwest, or take a look at some great get-active ideas at Let’s Move.

The Stat: Less than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and just one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.

What you can do about it:  Chances are that you don’t have nearly as much time for fitness in your daily life as you’d like. So incorporate exercise into your daily activities as much as possible. Try taking the stairs instead the elevator, or ask your friend to meet for yoga rather than drinks. You can schedule walking meetings with your co-workers to brainstorm ideas, do squats while you brush your teeth, perform lunges while cooking dinner and even count push-ups during commercials. The American Council on Exercise also has some great quickie workouts that you can do at home or in the office.

The Stat: More than 80 percent of adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

What you can do about it: Combine your cardio and strength training into one kick-butt workout with Tabata Training. Research shows that this intense style of interval training burns major calories, boosts your metabolism, and strengthens everything from head to toe, all in a matter of minutes.

The Stat: About 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.

What you can do about it: Many are unaware of just how much sodium is packed into many pre-made soups and frozen foods. If these foods are a part of your regular diet, take a look at the label to see how much sodium you’re actually consuming every day. Per the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, you should try to limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day.

Another way to lower your sodium intake is by using alternative spices and herbs to season your food, rather than automatically reaching for the salt shaker. Be sure to take a look at any pre-made mixes or spice rubs that you regularly use. In some of these recipes, salt can make up to two thirds of the entire rub.

Do you have other suggestions for beating the prevailing health and fitness stats? Share them with us in the comments section below.