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Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion
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Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion

Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity enhances the quality of life for people of all ages.  Being physically active every day can significantly reduce your risk of injuries, many chronic diseases and premature death as well as improve mental function and emotional well-being, and increase energy.

The nation is currently experiencing an inactivity or sedentary epidemic.  Causes include:

This contributes to overweight and obesity concerns and many other health issues.

Generally, physical activity involves moving.  It can be as simple as walking, mowing the lawn, washing the car or cleaning the house, or it can involve exercise. 

Exercise is physical activity that is planned or structured. It involves repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more of the components of physical fitness for cardio-respiratory endurance (aerobic fitness), muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility and body composition, etc.

Exercise is an important component for health and well-being. The good news is that people will gain many benefits if they are physically active--- walking, biking, playing, etc---without a structured exercise program.  However, there are important additional benefits to be gained from various types of exercise and the best strategy is to do both.

Benefits of Healthy Lifestyle Choices


Eat Smart / Move More Program

A Health Department program started in 2002 to improve health by promoting physical activity and healthier food choices for all Missoula County residents.

    National recommendations

CDC Guidelines - for children, adults, older adults, and pregnant women.

US Dept. Health and Human Services - booklets you can download.

Physical Activity & Your Daily Dose - How much physical activity do we need? What are the benefits? What are some easy ways to get it?

Guide to physical activities - CDC

Physical Activity guide - CDC - a community guide

American College of Sports Medicine

Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

Quantifying the cost of physical inactivity - East Carolina University, Health and Human Performance.


    Walking and bicycling

Guide to Walking - by a physical therapist

American Heart Association - Start Walking

Walk your dog - your cute, furry treadmill!

Missoula's Bike/Walk/Bus week

Missoula in Motion

Missoula Bike/Walk Alliance

Missoula's Bicycle/Pedestrian Program

Mountain bike trails in Missoula

Mountain Biking Club

Picture of a black and white dog sitting and looking up.

    Children and youth

Benefits of physical activity for children and youth:

Aside from meeting national recommendations for children to be physically active twice as much as adults (60 minutes a day at a minimum), there are other important benefits linked to physical activity. These include:

Active Kids - Missoula coalition to increase physical activity in children

Unplug & Play - unstructured, imaginative play is crucial to a child's brain development.  Find ways to reduce screen time (TV, computer, games) and increase physical activity.

Child and Nature Network - Missoula: why children need nature and how to access nature in your own neighborhood.  Free monthly family activities.

Report on Physical Activity of Missoula County Youth - March 2008, a special report on 2nd through 12th grades.



NASPE five recommended focuses:

  1. PE
  2. Recess: elementary - 20 minutes
  3. Walking or biking to school
  4. Recreational sport and play that occurs before, during and after school
  5. Classroom-based movement: high school aged - dance

National Guidelines for Physical Activity - for physical education, PE teachers and coaches - National Association for Sports and Physical Education

Missoula Health Dept - model school wellness policy

Missoula CATCH program - Coordinated Approach to Child Health

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity. . .  and Academic Performance - CDC, Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) - discusses how school-based physical activity may help improve students’ grades, test scores and academic achievement.

Safe Routes to School



Worksites can employ several strategies to increase physical activity that will produce many benefits for the employer as well as the employee.

Worksite Wellness


    Older residents

It is never too late to discover the benefits of physical activity.

Exercise for Older Adults - National Institute for Health

Exercise Guide  - National Institute on Aging

Missoula Fall Prevention Project

Missoula Senior Center

Missoula Aging Services


    Outdoor activities and recreation


    Health clubs in Missoula (as of April 2012)

    Healthy built environment - how physical infrastructure supports physical activity

Factors to consider for a Healthy Built Environment

Active Environments - CDC


Missoula Measures - selected data, links and other information on scores of topics related to health and quality of life in Missoula, Montana.


    Other related information

Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity Program

UM Health and Human Performance  Department 

Missoula Mountain Line - public transportation increases walking

Active Living by Design - Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

Benefits of healthy lifestyle choices

Overweight & obesity concerns - Missoula

Common activities - for adults


    Contact information

Health Promotion Director: Cindy Hotchkiss
Phone: 406-258-3686
Fax: 406-258-3992
Active Living Coordinator: Lisa Beczkiewicz
Phone: 406-258-3895
Fax: 406-258-3992


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