Mind, Body, and Soul: Supporting Mental Health through Physical Fitness and Sports


May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a designation recognized each year by the President since 1983.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN) are highlighting how physical activity and sports benefit  both physical and mental health.

It is well documented that physical activity and sports participation help prevent chronic diseases, as well as reduce stress, anxiety and promote mental health and well-being.

Obesity and suicide  rates have increased over the last two decades, particularly among youth, certain communities of color, and people living in rural areas. Providing equitable access to safe places and opportunities to be active in every community would give more people the means to improve their health.

Earlier this year, the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition unveiled a landmark partnership with 14 major professional sports leagues and players associations to expand access to physical activity, bolster education on nutrition, and promote healthy lifestyle activities to millions of Americans.

“Every individual and community should have equitable access to opportunities to be physically active. Multisector collaborations, such as among public health, transportation, schools, sports leagues, and community-based organizations will improve access to physical activity for all,” said J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., MSCE, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health and a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.

Several events are planned throughout the month, including Bike to Work Day on May 17.

Learn more about ways to be physically active by visiting the Move Your Way website.