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It’s time to put away that smart phone or computer, get off the couch and get moving! If the weather is fine on this spring day, it would be a great time to take a quick walk or go for a jog. And if it’s still a little cold outside, do some inside aerobic movement such as a treadmill walk or a little dance workout. With lots of options based on preference, it’s easy to get involved with National Exercise Day!

History of National Exercise Day

In the past, for the average person exercise was built into their daily routines. Whether walking to the well to get water, doing physical activities such as feeding animals or making farm machines work, gardening, kneading bread in the kitchen, or even riding a horse to get to the next town, exercise was part of almost every person’s life.

But in today’s age of technology and industry, where almost anything needed can be delivered right to the doorstep and people can even work from home, getting an adequate amount of physical exercise can be tricky.

It was only in the late 1940s that a team of doctors researched and truly discovered the link between physical exercise and better heart health. And since that time, physicians and scientists have been studying and learning about how humans can stay healthier with physical activity.

First celebrated fairly recently, National Exercise Day got its start in 2020 when it was founded by Dr. Jeuse Bernard Saint-Fleur who wanted to raise awareness about the fact that exercise can actually save lives. This day is meant to encourage everyone around the nation, and even around the world, to participate in physical activity and exercise. And not only on this day but all throughout the year.

Moving the body is a vital part of not only physical health but it also impacts the emotional and mental health as well. Exercise works together with the body to promote a longer, happier life for anyone who does it on a regular basis. According to the Mayo Clinic, a good standard for exercise is for an adult to get around 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, which comes to around 20 minutes per day, or 30 minutes for 5 days with two rest days in between.

But those who don’t exercise regularly shouldn’t let that overwhelm them! Even getting outside for a ten minute brisk walk a couple of times a week can help combat the health problems that can come from a completely sedentary lifestyle, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. No matter the age or physical ability, every human can benefit from even a little bit of exercise.

National Exercise Day is here to act as a reminder to get out there and create a new habit of physical activity for the sake of a healthy life!

National Exercise Day Timeline

1896

Modern Olympic Games are born 

After 1500 years the tradition of physical fitness and exercise from Ancient Greece is restored.[1]

1968

Special Olympics is founded 

This event allows people with disabilities to participate in competitions that include exercise, athletics and other activities.[2]

1970s

Richard Simmons starts his fitness career 

This flamboyant exercise instructor from New Orleans makes his debut as a guru for workouts.[3]

1985

American Council on Exercise is founded 

This non-profit organization begins as a way to provide education and association among professionals within the exercise world.[4]

1999

Zumba makes its way to the US 

Started by accident when a Columbian aerobics instructor forgets the music for a class, the exercise to salsa dance music catches on.

How to Celebrate National Exercise Day

Show some love for your body by getting involved with National Exercise Day. Get creative with ways to get involved, including some of these:

Get Moving

The best way to get started celebrating National Exercise Day is to get moving. Some people might have started a resolution for exercise on New Year’s Day that they forgot about or the dark and cold atmosphere wasn’t conducive for it. That’s okay! It’s never too late to begin a new habit, so take this opportunity to put on those sneakers and get out to do some exercise.

Remember Some Benefits of Exercise

Though most people know, check out some little reminders of how important exercise is to the body and mind:

  • Exercise can reduce the risk of disease including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
  • Exercise strengthens the bones, preventing brittleness and osteoporosis in old age.
  • Exercise boosts energy, improves the mood and offers an overall better quality of life.

Get an Exercise Buddy

One of the most difficult things about starting a new habit of exercise is lack of accountability. Those who are married or who have a roommate might invite their partner to buddy up with them in a new habit of exercise. Folks who live alone could find a neighbor, friend or local family member who would make a good accountability partner and motivator. Make plans to meet up for a walk, go for a bicycle ride, or go through a strength training course at the local park together. Whatever kind of exercise it is, it’s almost always better with a buddy!


Don’t just focus on exercise one day of the year! Enjoy celebrating the benefits of fitness all throughout the calendar with days such as National Senior Health and Fitness Day in May, Teenager Workout Day in September or Swim a Lap Day which is held each year in June.

National Exercise Day FAQs

What exercise burns the most calories?

Running burns a lot of calories, around 800 per hour for a 155 pound adult.[1]

What is aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate along with how much oxygen the body uses to make energy.[2]

Is walking good exercise?

Walking is a low-impact exercise that can boost power and endurance while strengthening bones, reducing body fat and improving cardio health.[3]

Does exercise lower blood pressure?

High blood pressure may be lowered by regular physical activity (30 minutes per day) as much as 5 to 8 mm Hg.[4]

Can exercise help anxiety?

Some medical experts believe that regular exercise may help to reduce depression and anxiety.[5]

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