from the office of the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness
Awards Program! You have received the April 2010 issue of Fitness is Fun, the
official e-mail distribution of the President's Challenge. These monthly
e-mails will keep you updated on our programs, activities of the President's
Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) and other current information
pertaining to health and fitness.
Fitness Question of the Month for April:
What kinds of activities do you do to switch up your basic
Please respond via e-mail to the President's Challenge at email@example.com. We'll
include the most insightful responses in the May issue of Fitness is Fun. Be
sure to view the responses to the March Fitness Question near the end of this
Have you or someone else motivated a group of children or adults
to lead a healthier life? E-mail us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and it
could be featured in next month's newsletter!
White House Hosts
Childhood Obesity Meeting
The White House held a meeting
Friday, April 9, regarding the childhood obesity epidemic. The meeting focused
on the costs of obesity, how we can make schools healthier and how to get kids
moving after school and in their communities. Those in attendance included
teachers, child advocates, doctors, nurses, business leaders, public servants,
researchers and health experts, all of whom discussed how to solve the problem
of childhood obesity.
are some of their thoughts:
- Parents should be able to raise
their children in environments conducive to making healthy choices.
- Food supplies coming into
schools should be improved, while also educating kids on healthy eating.
- Getting children physically
active can be accomplished by integrating it into the school day.
and viewers not in attendance provided feedback via Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn. Through that feedback listeners
alluded to the importance of the President's Challenge in helping our youth be
more physically active on a daily basis.
more information or to follow the fight against childhood obesity, visit www.whitehouse.gov or follow them on
Twitter at http://twitter.com/whitehouse.
President's Challenge NEWS:
Businesses take the
Emerging research suggests employers benefit from employees who
are physically active. Reduced health
care costs, less absenteeism, and increased morale are all outcomes of
corporate health promotion programs. The
President's Challenge has devoted an entire section of our website to corporate
By visiting our Corporate Group
page, employers can find all of the information they need to set up and
administer a group, including the justification for doing so. There are also a number of tools to provide employees
with the information and motivation they need to help increase their physical
For those who meet their goal, providing them with a Presidential
Award is a great way to recognize their accomplishments. Whether the goal is weight loss or simply to
be more physically active, the President's Challenge is a useful and low cost
way for employers to help their team be active.
|Featured Product of the Month
This month we highlight the Get Fit booklets for
youth and adults.
The Get Fit
and Be Active booklet for youth (ages 6-17) provides information on the benefits of physical activity and preparation for the Presidential physical fitness test.
Active and Be Fit booklet is geared for those 18 years and
older. It provides a more in-depth
analysis on the benefits of physical activity and methods for how to accomplish
individual goals. Information on the
Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) and the Presidential Champion
programs is also included for those looking for some extra motivation and
For information on how to order printed copies of
these publications or any of our other helpful physical activity and fitness
products, visit our online order center at www.presidentschallenge.org/order_center/index.aspx.
Stacking with Speed Stacks
The Speed Stacks Sport Pack Loaner Program is a
perfect fit for those who don't have the funds to purchase a Sport Stacking
with Speed Stacks program. The Loaner Program allows schools to introduce sport
stacking to their kids by borrowing a complete Speed Stacks Sport Pack for
little or no cost!
How do you get started? Just submit your school or
organization's information and agree to a loan contract. Speed Stacks will send
you a Loaner Sport Pack for up to five weeks.
Speed Stacks also has a grant program. Applications
are online and can be filled out and
sent back at any time. A grant is awarded each month.
For more information, to sign up for a Loaner Sport
Pack or to learn more about grant opportunities within Speed Stack, visit www.speedstacks.com/loaners.
Visit with the President's Challenge staff at these conferences:
Spring Into Health Month
April 1-30, 2010
Fitness and Sports Month
Month of May 2010
more information visit the President's Council Web site at www.fitness.gov
National Physical Education and Sport Week
May 1-7, 2010
May 5, 2010
Mark your calendars. Project ACES
started more than 20 years ago, and this year's event will be in May. Schools
all over the world will simultaneously exercise together, most starting at 10
a.m., but you can join in on the fun anytime during the day! For more
information visit the Web site above.
May 8, 2010
From the creators of Project ACES
comes PACES Day, an event that focuses on family exercising. PACES (Parents And
Children Exercise Simultaneously) will be highlighted May 8, 2010; however, it
takes place every Saturday throughout the year. PACES Day promotes exercise and
activity at home. For more information visit the Web site above.
Denver National Get Outdoors Day Event
June 12, 2010
Denver City Park in Denver, Co.
National Get Outdoors Day will bring
together companies, government agencies and non-profit organizations that are
committed to helping American families participate in traditional and
non-traditional outdoor activities. One of this year's signature sites in
Denver, Colorado will work to connect Colorado's youth with the outdoors through
motivation and exploration. The goals for the event are to 1) encourage kids
and families to make healthy lifestyle choices and to get activity; 2) engage
new and existing partners in connecting people to the outdoors; 3) focus on
nature-based outdoor activities, education and programs/organizations that
provide ongoing opportunities for people to connect with the outdoors; and 4)
have 5,000 to 10,000 attendees for the 2010 event.
|TOP 10 PC ACTIVITIES:
10. Lawn Mowing / Gardening
is easily described as moving on foot by
leaping from one leg to the other - each leap raises the center of gravity on
take-off and lowers it on the landing when the knee absorbs the shock.
Different variations in speed can be classified as jogging or sprinting, and
balance is maintained through upper-body motion. By driving the arms forward
and backward, just as the legs are moving, it aids in optimal performance.
Keeping upright posture while slightly leaning forward prevents you from
landing on your heal and helps you "spring" off the ground.
Benefits from running can include weight
loss and staying in shape, improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle
mass, increased bone density and improved psychological benefits. Like most
exercise, running can effectively slow or reverse the effects of aging.
Legend says that the first competitive run
took place in ancient Greece in 776 BC on Mount Olympus. For great resources on
running visit the Runner's World Web site at www.runnersworld.com.
on your PC program by getting out and trying a new activity!
This section highlights President's Challenge participants who have benefited from the program. Check out their stories and get motivated!
Julie Graf offers more than just an instructional lesson on martial arts. Graf
provides inspiration, motivation and support to her students as they work to
stay in shape, get healthy and earn higher levels of the sport.
Located in Austin, Texas, Graf teaches at
ATA Martial Arts. She has run Taekwondo schools and clubs in Austin since 1997. Graf is a sixth-degree
black belt with more than 20 years of martial arts experience. She is an internationally
certified Songahm Taekwondo and Protech Weapons instructor. Among her honors, she's
won the ATA World Champion title nine times.
Lisa Gibbs, nominated Graf as a PC All-American for the way she influences her
students. A parent recently said they had seen a "major improvement in (their)
child's social skills, behavior, manners, grades and motivation to help
others." People have recommended Graf to "everyone that wants to make a
difference in their lives."
While Graf is a
highly regarded martial arts teacher, she doesn't only focus on that. Graf
incorporates healthy eating and life lessons into her students' learning
experiences, as well as her own.
One way Graf
incorporates the President's Challenge into her coursework is through
"homework" assignments. Kids earn
patches and stars for their respective uniforms. These assignments explore the
life skills Graf focuses on for each month, including discipline, focus and
respect, among others.
"We put healthy
eating into the "discipline" curriculum, but it could fit almost
anywhere," Graf said. "Respect because you should respect your body; confidence
because when you eat well you are strong and healthy, you feel better, do
better at school, do better at sports, etc."
"When we talk
about healthy eating or do a homework assignment about it at the school, we try
to get into the 'whys' ... and I try to help people find a routine that
works for them."
As a successful
martial arts teacher and advocate for healthy eating and lifestyles, Graf wants
to share her talents and motivation with everyone. She works with all different
groups of people.
"We've worked with different groups in the past to
make taekwondo accessible to people regardless of their income level," she
said. "We have also worked to bring taekwondo classes to kids in the community
who might not have an opportunity to take classes at the school."
Graf and others
are working to start a group called Communities in Schools, an initiative that
will bring classes to local schools and also promote field trips to the
"The goal of their organization is to surround students with a community of support,
empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life," Graf said. "That is a
great goal, and the kids are doing lots of activities that promote health and
goals include incorporating more of the President's Challenge ideas and
motives. She hopes to add in events that use the program.
to find a group that supports your healthy lifestyle because that makes it even
easier to make good eating and exercise choices," she said. "I want my
school to be at the forefront, helping families make healthy
choices. These things help make my program complete."
Graf plans to
continue in taekwondo and offer her knowledge and motivation to others.
people feels great and surprising, and it motivates me to try and do it more,"
she said. "I think when I'm successful at helping people or motivating them,
it's when I am passionate about my subject. I'm passionate about taekwondo, not
just as a sport but as a way of life. If someone had said to me - 'you're
going to be doing this 20 years from now' - I would have thought that
was crazy. But every day in class there are new things to
learn. The great thing about taekwondo is that those short-term goals
keep you on the path long term, and it is a great
To learn more
about Julie Graf, visit www.austinata.com.
Have an inspiring story? E-mail yours or
nominate another to email@example.com!
month Fitness is Fun features Maureen Barthel, a personal trainer and group
fitness instructor from St. Michaels, Minnesota. Barthel created the viral
YouTube video, "Momma Kiddo Workout".
In an effort spend quality time with her
girls and get a workout in at the same time, Maureen Barthel created her own
"Momma Kiddo Workout", a viral video released through YouTube.
Currently, Barthel teaches Fitness Yoga and
Strength/Conditioning classes in St. Michael, Minnesota. She is YogaFit
certified and NETA group fitness certified.
She works as a personal trainer and group
fitness instructor at North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN.
In addition, she also works three days a week as an independent contractor for
Barthel taped the video in her house - with
her real kids and without a fancy gym.
"As far as home routines, I believe in a
balance of being a mom and staying fit, and really not creating any excuses for
not being able to be active," Barthel said. "If you do not have a gym
membership, you can still be creative in ways to get moving, plus have a blast
with your kids."
Barthel incorporates real weights and her children in different exercises
and activities. Her children, being young, are around 30 pounds in
weight. Her two daughters Julie and Lyvia helped discover exercises as
"As we started doing a few exercises, I really
noticed this was a real workout," Barthel said. "I started writing them all
down as we got going and decided to video tape it to give some creative ideas
to my personal training clients."
The "Momma Kiddo Workout" doesn't only
benefit the mother, either. Barthel says, even if they aren't doing organized
activities, they stay busy running around and playing.
Barthel was recently re-introduced to the
President's Challenge and its dedication to healthy lifestyles and exercise.
She finds the long-term challenge a great way to change lifestyles.
"I enjoy setting goals and helping others
achieve theirs," Barthel said. "The President's Challenge is a great resource
for people to feel connected and inspired together."
Although Barthel was recently re-introduced
to the President's Challenge, she's been using its ideas and motives for quite
some time with her creation of the "Momma Kiddo Workout". She plans to continue
on in her quest by using the President's Challenge.
"My main goal was to help inspire other
busy moms (and dads) out there that are trying to balance their health and
fitness with spending quality time with their kids," she said. "With a workout
like this you don't have to sacrifice either of those."
She has plans for a second video in the
near future. And if all goes well, it could become more than just a posting on YouTube.
"The purpose of this video is to provide
hope and build belief that you can do it too," she said. "It's been kid-tested
To check it out, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=lafR-fO7mMk. Or visit www.fit-2b-well.com
to learn about services available at North Memorial and Maple Grove Hospitals,
where Barthel works.
If you or your organization uses the President's
Challenge and has a new or inspiring accomplishment or advancement, e-mail us
News and Research:
Google Maps caters to cyclists
Google Maps recently added bicycling directions for
the U.S. This new feature will allow cyclists to map out and plan recreational
rides. These maps allow for step-by-step bicycling directions, outlined bike
trails, and a new "bicycling" layer that shows bike trails, lanes and friendly
roads. Give it a try at www.maps.google.com/biking.
School-based fitness has positive
influence on academic performance
The CDC-Division of Adolescent and School Health
released a report Wednesday focusing on the association between school-based
physical activity and academic performance. The report found that engaging in
physical activity may help improve academic performance, including academic
achievement, academic behavior and factors that can positively influence
The report covers a span of 23 years and includes 50
studies. The majority reveals that physical activity was positively related to
For more information or to find the executive
summary, visit www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/health_and_academics/index.htm#3.
Let's Move in Schools Iniative
NASPE's Let's Move in Schools initiative promotes
education for youth about all the benefits of leading a physically healthy
lifestyle. It hopes to ensure that quality P.E. classes and activities are
offered at every school across the nation. With the rise in childhood
obesity in the past 30 years, Let's Move in School urges parents, school
administrators and policymakers to get involved in bringing quality physical
education and physical activities to schools. The initiative promotes this
through its comprehensive school activity program.
information visit www.aahperd.org/naspe/advocacy/letsmoveinschool/cspap.cfm.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS WITH MARJIE:
Marjie Gilliam is a Corporate Advocate and columnist for the President's Challenge. Marjie is an
internationally syndicated fitness columnist and freelance journalist, and has
authored thousands of articles devoted to health and wellness. Each month we
will be featuring one of her articles.
What time is the best time to workout?
Its been written that morning is the best
time to exercise, but for those with hectic schedules this isn't always
The truth is, for most people, the "best" time of day to exercise is when it's
most convenient and when they feel the most energized. For self-described morning people, starting the day with
exercise works well because this is when
they feel the most alert, focused and energized. Afternoon and/or evening
exercise works for those who hit their stride later in the day.
Benefits gained from a fitness program
relate far more to consistency and exertion level than time of day. With proper planning you stand the greatest
chance of following through. This way
your workouts become a more manageable and pleasant part of your life, making
it more likely you'll look forward to staying active.
Now and then situations may arise that
dictate switching to a different time for optimal progress. Athletes or those
training for a marathon, for example, recognize that it is more advantageous to
duplicate as closely as possible the same time of day that the event will be
taking place, in this case, typically in the morning.
Although the end of the workday is usually
associated with fatigue and lack of motivation to exercise, some research
suggests engaging in physical activity
in the late afternoon may increase performance and help give a deeper
Normally, levels of stress and anxiety
build as the day goes on, setting the stage for emotional eating and weight
gain. In people who recognize the association between mood and food, exercise
is the perfect solution, providing stress relief, improved mood, and weight
loss all at the same time.
Circadian rhythms regulate the
body's biological processes and sleep cycles, influencing activity levels,
metabolism and many other processes through our exposure to sunlight and
to one study, these rhythms might have a
significant affect on lung function, helping to determine the best time of day
for physical activity. The study, presented at the 70th annual international
scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) noted
that lung function was found to have a natural circadian rhythm, where it is at
its peak during the late afternoon hours and at its lowest around mid-day. The study
investigated how lung function fluctuated throughout the working hours of 8
a.m. and 5 p.m. In a five-year period, 4,835 participants underwent breathing
tests and were divided into nine groups based on the time of day the test was
performed. Results were compared within nine time intervals, and showed that
overall airway resistance was at its most prominent around noon but reached its
minimum between 4 to 5 p.m., showing that lung function was at its best in the
Whether you exercise in the morning, afternoon or
evening, to stay motivated, be creative with your workouts, and have fun. Find an activity that suits you, and keep an open mind to new forms of
exercise. You should never feel as if you are just going through the motions.
With literally hundreds of exercise options available, there is simply no
reason to settle for a workout that doesn't inspire you.
For great results, address both your strengths and weaknesses when deciding which
activities to try. Include strengthening,
aerobic and flexibility exercises
in your fitness plan. Rest days are
just as important as workout days, so to stay safe and strong and avoid
burnout, give your body adequate recovery time between exercise sessions.
Check back next month for
more tips from Marjie!
Back to Top
|FITNESS QUESTION OF THE MONTH:
Fitness question responses from the month of March: As spring
approaches, what outdoor activities are you looking forward to the most?
wait to be able to roller-blade again. It's a great way of cardio exercise, and
you don't even realize that you are exercising."
look forward to adding to my daily inside exercise routine (elliptical) and
taking a nice walk outside on a beautiful evening. ... It's always nicer to be
outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It just gives that much more of a happy
lift to my exercise program!"
forward to working and relaxing in my garden, golf, cycling, hiking, working
out, chilling out on the banks of the Potomac and Occoquan Rivers and
an avid disc golfer, and every spring begins disc golf season. My friends and I
travel all over Minnesota to play different courses."
spring approaches, we are looking forward to getting out and doing some geocaching. My
husband and I have a growing family ... Geocaching is a great way for all of us
to get out and explore the outdoors, and it's fun enough to keep the kids
engaged in the ever elusive "treasure" at the end of the trek."
spouse and I trail ride our horses together with friends. We also gain a lot of
physical exercise, cleaning stalls,
lugging hay & water plus all the rest of the work required maintaining our
warmer and closer to spring it gets, the more I think about going for a hike by
the river in the nearby National Forest, taking off my boots and jumping in for
to walk, but Pickleball is my all time favorite. It's fun, great exercise, and
anyone can play! I wish that there were public courts!"
outdoors, enjoying the milder weather and looking for signs of nature
waking up. I added to my regular
aqua-aerobics and occasional yoga classes at the Y, and it's just the boost I
need after a long winter."
Spring approaches, I am looking forward to beach volleyball. My fianc� and
I have a great group of people that consistently get together on weekends and a
night through the week for competitive beach volleyball. I enjoy the fact that
it exercises all muscle groups, is outdoors and you get consistent little breaks
so you can keep playing for hours!"
would like to extend a special thanks to all of the President's Challenge
Advocates. Please visit the Advocates area on the www.presidentschallenge.org Web
site to see how companies, organizations and groups are making a difference
with the President's Challenge.
|SPOTLIGHT ON PRESIDENT'S
The Sunchaser Challenge
Challenge is partnering with the President's Challenge on May 22 in support of
Endangered Species Day. Teams and individuals will cycle, run and kayak in
some of America's most beautiful national parks and resorts. Corporate
and high-school entrants will be given the opportunity to win prizes by
participating in a simple fitness test. The Challenge entrants will be actively
encouraged to monitor their training regimen and improve fitness levels using
the President's Challenge free online Activity Log.
Events will take
place in Saranac Lake, NY; Lake Geneva, Wisc.; Lake Havasu, Ariz.; and Lake
Tahoe, Calif. on May 22, 2010. For more information on The Sunchaser Challenge, visit www.sunchaserchallenge.com.
We would like to hear from you. If you have any
topics that you would like to see addressed in Fitness is Fun or any
comments regarding this list, please let us know. You can provide them by
emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view past issues of Fitness is Fun visit
our Web site: www.presidentschallenge.org. Enter the site by choosing the appropriate category, then click on