The importance of being active and healthy in today’s world is more important than ever. Research has shown that inactivity and obesity, especially among children, have become a global pandemic over the last 20 years, and many are calling it the greatest threat to our nation’s future. And the effects are troubling. This inactivity crisis has been conclusively linked to increased risk of a number of diseases and mental illnesses, poor academic performance in children, and higher overall health care costs for all Americans.
How Did We Get Here?
Several major factors in our society have caused the inactivity and obesity crisis to continue to worsen. As our society has advanced, increases in modern conveniences and the way we travel have greatly diminished our overall activity levels over the years. Along with that, technology, entertainment, and social media have begun to dominate our daily lives, and more and more parents are allowing their kids to play on electronic devices rather than going outside and being active in sports or free play. In addition, we are seeing decreased physical activity in schools, with recess times being shortened or eliminated and fewer P.E. classes being offered to students. Outside of school, recreational sports have become too serious and competitive, and many are just too expensive for the average family to afford. Lastly, as metropolitan areas grow in size and become more crowded, many don’t have enough outdoor spaces, such as parks or sports fields, where kids can play safely.
What Can Be Done?
Ultimately, breaking the cycle of inactivity begins at home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, with most of this being aerobic activity such as brisk walking or running. Parents should set a good example for their children by making sensible choices with regard to diet and lifestyle. Monitoring use of electronic devices and setting limits for screen time are good ways for parents to ensure that kids are not becoming too sedentary. In addition, playing sports or doing fitness activities together as a family are great ways to have fun and bond with your children while at the same time staying active and fit. If each of us make a concerted effort to increase activity in our daily lives, we will begin to see a huge improvement in the overall quality of life and health for our entire household, especially our children.
Nonprofit organizations across the US are making a difference as well. PHIT (Personal Health Investment Today) America, is one such organization dedicated to promoting healthy and active lifestyles for all Americans. Launched in 2013 and supported by hundreds of organizations across the country, PHIT’s mission is to "Dramatically Improve the Health of Americans, Especially Children, By Implementing ‘Pro-Activity’ Programs." PHIT is continually implementing programs to educate all Americans, especially parents, to help kids become more physically active, which has been proven in studies to improve academic performance and overall health. Their flagship program, PHIT GO! Grants, has assisted in funding over 300 programs which have helped over 100,000 children get moving. PHIT-sponsored charity events help raise money at the local level, which contributes to the distribution of even more GO! Grants. With the help of private and corporate funding, PHIT sponsors various other initiatives, including providing free activity programs to schools, and a free 10-week fitness challenge for mayors across the country to jump-start activity in their towns and communities. In addition, PHIT works tirelessly to help pass common-sense government legislation such as the PHIT Act, which is designed to help prevent health care costs by allowing Americans to use pre-tax medical accounts to pay for sports activity expenses.
GARED, the industry’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment for all ages and play levels, is a proud partner and sponsor of PHIT America. GARED has become an advocate for rebuilding communities and rejuvenating play by providing equipment solutions to renovate green spaces and facilities. Its ongoing mission is to reverse the nationwide trend of inactivity by providing high-quality, safe, and fun sports equipment for schools, parks, recreation centers, churches, and homes across the United States and worldwide.
GARED Gift-Giving Guide
This holiday season, why not break the cycle of inactivity in your own household by giving the gift of health to friends, family, and loved ones? GARED makes it easy to with our handy gift-giving guide for practically every sports lover on your list.
GARED has tons of gift ideas for basketball enthusiasts, such as our Varsity Jam inground home basketball system. This affordable inground system is height adjustable for players of all ages and stands up to even the roughest weather conditions. Looking for a more versatile basketball system? The Mini-EZ portable system is on wheels for easy transport and folds compactly for storage purposes. Or are you searching for a gift to help someone sharpen their skills? GARED practice and rebound rings make great gifts for players that want to improve shooting accuracy and rebounding skills, and our Playmaker Toss Back® is the perfect skill development tool for helping to improve a player’s passing speed and accuracy.
For the volleyball lover, GARED carries several recreational systems for all types of play, whether you are looking to play indoors, or outside on concrete, grass, or even on the beach. Our popular Mongoose® volleyball system come in an easy-to-carry bag so you can take your volleyball game with you wherever you go. If you’re looking for a sports gift for younger kids, you may want to consider a tetherball system. Tetherball is a fun and easy game and can provide hours of entertainment for young children. GARED offers durable tetherball systems available with inground mounting, or we carry a portable option so the game can be easily moved for indoor or outdoor play.
GARED also offers affordable gift options for the field sport enthusiasts in your life! Our adjustable soccer rebounders are offered in two convenient sizes and are a great choice for players who want to practice drills and shooting during the off-season. In addition, our sturdy recreational lacrosse goals are perfect for home games, practices, and recreational league play.