Get Active in April: Physical Activity Can Improve Overall Health

Alabama spring is a beautiful time of year, and this season of renewal seems to give extra energy and inspire people to enjoy nature before temperatures soar. More people are walking, hiking, jogging, bike riding, planting gardens, mowing grass, playing ball, picnicking, visiting zoos, or engaging in a host of other activities.

Being physically active can improve your health in many ways that include a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes regular physical activity and recommends that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Recent studies indicate an important potential benefit of getting physical activity may be a lowered risk of severe COVID-19.

The most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data available show that only 68 percent of adults participated in any leisure-time physical activity or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise in the past month.

The department’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Division has listed the following reasons everyone should make the most of these pleasant days by engaging in physical activity:

  • Improved immune system function
  • Improved psychological functioning
  • Improved self-image
  • Helps you stay at or get to a healthy weight
  • Improved circulation
  • Helps manage stress
  • Increased energy levels
  • Decreased chance of depression
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Increased chance of living longer
  • Increased mobility
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Helps you meet new people

April is a great time to consider becoming more physically active. Most healthy people can begin a moderate intensity activity routine if they have medical clearance before getting started in order to ensure any planned activities are appropriate for your health status. On your visit, don't forget to ask about the importance of vaccinations. While physical activity may help in recovery if you get COVID-19, getting vaccinated and boosted offers far greater protection if you do become infected with the virus.

The key point is that scientific evidence strongly shows that physical activity can be safe for almost everyone, and the health benefits of physical activity are worth it. Enjoy the natural beauty of spring by being physically active.

Scott Harris, M.D., M.P.H.
State Health Officer