National Fitness Day – May 1, 2021

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SatMay 1

National Fitness Day in the U.S. is celebrated on the first Saturday of May — on May 1 this year. The day was founded by famous life- and career coach Kim Bielak in 2017 to dedicate a whole day to the importance of fitness.

History of National Fitness Day

Fitness in the U.S. during the Early National Period was influenced by Europe. Immigrants brought many aspects of their culture into the country, including Swedish and German gymnastics. It was in the 1800s that the idea of good health and fitness gained popularity. Since then, the United States took a huge step forward in terms of fitness in the 20th century. As sugars and fats increased in the diets of people due to the commercialization of food products, fitness became a prominent concept because people were becoming more aware of their health. Activity levels and food intake became measurable and thus controllable. 

Early U.S. presidents also knew about the need for fitness and exercise. Benjamin Franklin recommended regular physical activities like swimming, running, etc., and Thomas Jefferson believed that fitness was a necessary requirement for a healthy life. Dr. J.C. Warren, a Harvard University medical professor, became a significant proponent of physical activities towards the end of the 18th century. Catherine Beecher was another important figure who devised fitness programs for the needs of women specifically. 

During the 1950s, many organizations took up the challenge of educating people about the consequences of an unhealthy body. Various agencies have been involved in promoting fitness since the 1950s, including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Health Association (AHA), and President’s Council on Youth Fitness and American Association for Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAPHERD). Although Kim Bielak is credited with starting National Fitness Day in the U.S., numerous fitness days have been around before this. A noteworthy celebration of such a day is the one that was held in London’s Covent Garden in 2014. 

National Fitness Day timeline

1901
Theodore Roosevelt Becomes President

The most physically fit U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt, takes his oath as president of the United States.

1940s
An Application for Fitness Research

Dr. Thomas K. Cureton at the University of Illinois introduces his application of research into fitness, which becomes the fundamental basis for all future exercise programs.

1954
The American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is founded and is a premier organization in the promotion of health and fitness in the U.S. and worldwide.

1956
The Fit White House Conference

President Eisenhower holds a White House conference in June of 1956, resulting in the formation of the President's Council on Youth Fitness and the appointment of the President's Citizens Advisory Committee on the Fitness of American Youth.

National Fitness Day FAQs

Who founded National Fitness Day?

The U.S. National Fitness Day was founded by Kim Bielak, a life- and career coach based in Los Angeles. 

What day is National Workout Day?

National Workout Day or National Fitness Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of May — on May 1 in 2021. It is a day dedicated to mental and physical fitness. 

How do we celebrate National Fitness Day?

A day dedicated to fitness can be celebrated by working out with the aim to stay healthy and fit. You can work out, read books, and watch movies that inspire you to stay fit.

National Fitness Day Activities

  1. Try something new

    Add some more exercises to your routine. If you are a runner, you can try yoga for more flexibility.

  2. Experiment with your workout playlist

    When was the last time you changed the songs in your workout playlist? Spice it up and add some more excitement to your daily workouts.

  3. Watch movies to inspire yourself

    There are many movies that will help you stay motivated even when you are not working out. Here are some honorable mentions: “Rocky Balboa,” “Miracle,” “Hoosiers,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” and “Rudy.”

5 Facts About National Fitness Day That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Walk of Life

    An average person walks 70,000 miles during his or her lifetime.

  2. Not easy to lose weight

    Only 10% of people lose weight by changing their diet regime.

  3. Loss for gain

    For every pound of muscle you gain, your body burns 50 calories.

  4. The strongest muscle

    The strongest muscle in the human body is the heart.

  5. The ‘rest’ of a workout

    Weight training can help you increase the number of calories your body burns while resting.

Why We Love National Fitness Day

  1. It celebrates good health

    National Fitness Day is a day dedicated to a healthy mind and body that makes for a better life.

  2. It appreciates those who promote fitness

    Many fitness gurus promote better health and well-being. This day is dedicated to all those who prove the importance of a physically and mentally fit society.

  3. It motivates the youth

    National Fitness Day is a day that motivates the youth to stay fit especially since modern society lives a much more sedentary life. We spend most of our time indoors and our jobs require almost no physical activity.

National Fitness Day dates

YearDateDay
2021May 1Saturday
2022May 7Saturday
2023May 2Tuesday
2024May 4Saturday
2025May 3Saturday