Women More Likely to Exercise if it Feels Like Play, Not Work

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A new survey from the American Cancer Society finds women are 10 percent less likely than men to make time for physical activities they enjoy and that 40 percent of women said they would be more physically active in their free time if it felt less like work and more like play. As a result, the American Cancer Society Choose You movement is calling on women to help close this gap and to discover fun ways to get active with its 100,000 Acts of Play Challenge.

The 100,000 Acts of Play Challenge calls on women to share their activity each time they get active in May at ChooseYou.com/Play. Each act of play will help the American Cancer Society spread the message about women's health and the importance of getting active through the Choose You movement.

In order to raise awareness of the ways women can play in May, Choose You will host a series of pop-up "play teams," hitting the streets of New York (May 1), Los Angeles (May 11) and Washington DC (May 22) to encourage spontaneous play and invite passersby to get active with nostalgic childhood toys, including the 80s famed Skip It, hula hoops, hoppity hop balls and double-dutch jump ropes.

"Being active is an essential element of maintaining a healthy weight and helping to reduce your cancer risk, but sometimes getting motivated to go to the gym is a lot easier said than done," says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD and director of nutrition and physical activity at the American Cancer Society. "We all need a little inspiration sometimes to incorporate physical activity into our lives, and one of the easiest ways is by doing something that feels less like working out and more like fun."

Additional data from the American Cancer Society survey revealed that women who do make time for fun physical activity, do it to improve their body, mind and relationships. Sixty three percent of women say they engage in physical activity that they enjoy because it is good for their mind, while 75 percent say it is good for their physical fitness and 38 percent are out to spend more time with friends and family.

The American Cancer Society hopes that through the Choose You 100,000 Acts of Play Challenge, more women will become aware of the benefits of play and be inspired to get moving. "It is essential to find a way to bring the power of play and physical activity that you enjoy back to your day," says Doyle. "There are so many options - play tag with your kids, jump rope with a friend, or even hula-hoop at the office. The important thing is to keep moving and to have fun."

For more information or to join the Choose You movement, visit ChooseYou.com.