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To get more people moving, meet them where they are

To get more people moving, meet them where they are | Haley Hopkins | Expert Articles | 1/2/2017

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In our fast-paced, technology-driven culture, it’s easy to get through an entire day without moving our bodies in any significant way. But our bodies were built to move and they work best when we keep them continually active. Leading a highly sedentary lifestyle can have substantial negative health consequences, like the proliferation of preventable chronic diseases we’re seeing today in America and beyond.

Released in September, the State of Obesity Report, an annual project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, identified several trends throughout the nation that heavily influence obesity and health. The report found that not only are obesity rates climbing, but also that physical inactivity rates are increasing.

Following the release, ACE praised the report for encouraging professionals to leverage community collaboration to address obesity, but there is still much work to be done to reverse the troubling dual epidemics of obesity and inactivity.

This means applying some creative thinking to the traditional models of movement, and to how and where people experience physical activity. Not everyone has access to a gym or yoga studio. And not everyone enjoys boot camp or more intense types of activity. The key to getting more people moving is to provide unique and enjoyable movement experiences for all types of people and preferences.

Robbie Plumb, an ACE Certified Health Coach, gets people of all ages and athletic abilities active through Nia classes at his local community center in Kansas. “Nia is a joyful movement practice that blends martial arts, dance and healing arts in a way that works for everyone. I teach classes and workshops at my local community center. There are four different modalities that range from therapeutic movement to interval training. The movements are low-impact and adaptable for each person’s needs. Nia is a great way to enjoy exercise and embrace movement.”

Many of our pros have dedicated their careers to creating and teaching physical activity programs that are accessible and inclusive. Selina Blick is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer who works as a Health Educator at a district health department in southern Kentucky. “We do our best to bring resources to our more rural communities by taking activities to places where people naturally gather. We offer exercise classes at churches, senior centers and schools. We are also in the process of improving local parks so that families can stay and play longer.”

What does all this mean for fitness professionals and health coaches? You have an enormous window of opportunity to lead the way in getting Americans up and moving. We need unique and wide-ranging solutions that meet people where they are in order to engage people of all ages and abilities in activity that can become an integral part of their daily routines.

We know there are talented pros out there just like you who are using outside the box thinking to get people moving. If you’re one of these awesome pros, we want to hear from you! Email us at advocacy@acefitness.org and tell us how you’re getting people excited about movement.

To learn more about issues that impact obesity and ways to advocate for change check out ACE Advocacy’s position statement on the obesity epidemic.