The official newsletter of the President's Challenge                             December 2010
In This Issue
President's Challenge News
Upcoming Events
Get Grants
Get Active
Question of the Month
Demonstration Center
PC All American
Special Features
Fitness and Wellness with Marjie
PC Advocate
Quick Links
Past FIF Issues
Join Our Mailing List
Greetings from the President's Challenge
Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program!

You have received the December 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 Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) and other current information pertaining to health and fitness.


2010 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced

KaBOOM! CEO and Co-Founder Darell Hammond and Olympic Gold Medalist Barbara Jones Slater are the winners of the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Awards distributed annually by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN).


The PCFSN Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement or promotion of physical activity, fitness or sports nationwide. Winners are chosen by the members of the President's Council based on the span and scope of an individual's career, the estimated number of lives they have touched, and the impact of their legacy.


"Our 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are outstanding role models, and they have positively touched the lives of all who know them," said PCFSN Executive Director, Shellie Pfohl. "We are honored to present the award to these two very deserving individuals. Both are well respected in their fields and for the important role they have played in promoting physical activity, fitness and the benefits of leading an active lifestyle."

Learn more about the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Making a move on the nation's first U.S. Physical Activity Plan

With an ultimate goal of getting America moving, the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) is getting the ball rolling on the first ever U.S. Physical Activity Plan. Calling together many of the nation's leading organizations NCPPA has brought together a Make the Move Council to help facilitate changes that will promote and improve daily physical activity.


Make-the-Move.jpgIn addition to a branded cause marketing campaign and advocating at the federal level, NCPPA published a digital version the Make the Move Implementation Report, which gives more in-depth information on:

  • National implementation priorities
  • Measurable outcomes and objectives for change
  • Recommended resources
  • Success stories

Check out the Make the Move Implementation Report and share it with others to help get the message out.


If you are interested in other ways to help the cause, you can:

  • Spread the word through your networks by linking the Make the Move icon (pictured above) on your organization's website, blog, and face book pages (click here for instructions)
  • Align your organization's efforts to improve physical activity with national strategies
  • Stay informed by entering your information in the Get Involved section

To learn more about the U.S. Physical Activity Plan, visit the NCPPA website at or read the first issue of Moving Forward the NCPPA newsletter on implementing the Plan.


 National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy

The Surgeon General convened the National Prevention and Health Promotion Council this fall. They agreed on the framework for the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy (National Prevention Strategy) which includes the Vision, Goals, and Strategic Directions. The Council will use the framework to guide development of the National Prevention Strategy.  You can view the draft framework at the title link above.  Comments are being accepted on the draft until December 5, 2010.

President's Challenge News

Changes coming soon to the online activity tracker

Soon the President's Challenge will be launching our updated version of the physical activity tracker on our website.  The new tracker will feature new and exciting changes to both the individual tracking tools and the group functionality.  Look for an announcement about our launch coming very soon.  In the meantime, here are some important changes to the Presidential Champions program.  Click on the link below to view a brief update on these changes.


Presidential Champions (Standard)


Advanced Performance Presidential Champions

General Mills Foundation makes Facebook debut

SPARK-Blog.jpgIn addition to funding the One Million PALA Challenge, the General Mills Foundation launched its official Facebook page,, to help further the foundation's mission of "Nourishing Lives through food and family."

Join General Mills Gives on Facebook in order to stay current with all their nourishing efforts and programs. Posts such as the one about helping to reach one million PALA certificates through Box Tops for Education Family Fitness Nights (pictured below) will keep you up to date.

EA SPORTS to partner with the President's Challenge

EA SPORTS, a label of Electronic Arts Inc., announced November 16 they are signing on as a President's Challenge Advocate. As an advocate, EA SPORTS will be promoting the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). The interactive entertainment software company pledged to make a $100,000 donation in EA SPORTS Active 2 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and YWCA Greater Los Angeles Job Corps. Active 2 is a digital fitness program that enables players to participate in personalized, customizable workouts on gaming consoles, creating yet another fun way for American to get active and earn their PALA.



Presidential-Shirt.jpgWhen it comes to the Presidential Award, actions speak louder than words, but then again, it never hurts to have the t-shirt.  With the words "One test. Five events. I earned it!" splashed across the chest, this 100% pre-shrunk cotton tee makes a bold statement about your physical fitness accomplishments.

Red and white variations of the shirt are also available to recognize national and participant award winners.
PRICE:          Youth $7.35
                       Adult $8.50


Upcoming Events

Mark-Your-Calendar.jpgHealthy People 2020 Launch
December 2
Washington, D.C.

Healthy PeopleThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services invites you to be part of the launch of Healthy People 2020. The event will take place on December 2, 2010 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST..

The program will include remarks from the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard K. Koh and members of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020.  There will be an introduction and orientation to the Healthy People 2020 Web site and objectives, followed by a panel discussion about the uses of Healthy People 2020.  The launch will be held at the Jack Morton Auditorium of The George Washington University, 805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052.  The event also will be available via Web streaming.  You can ask LIVE questions via Webcast and Twitter.  The event on December 2, 2010 will mark the beginning of Healthy People 2020, and the official release of the decade's national health promotion and disease prevention objectives. 

In setting the country's health promotion and disease prevention agenda for the past three decades, Healthy People has articulated overarching goals and tracked movement toward established targets. As preparations for the next decade begin, the initiative aims to unify the national dialogue about health, motivate action, and encourage new directions in health promotion, providing a public health roadmap and compass for the country. 

To attend the launch or participate via Web streaming, register by visiting

Please email questions to:

International Council on Active Aging Conference
December 2-4
San Diego, CA
Learn more.

25th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD)
February 2
NGWSD-logo.jpgNGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. Download materials to help you organize, promote, and host your own NGWSD celebration.
Learn more.


Ongoing Event

red arrowMillion PALA Challenge!

Sign up today to help us meet our Million PALA goal.  Don't keep the rewards of being  active to yourself--get your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same!

Get Grants

Run for Good Grants
Run-for-Good.jpgThe Saucony Run for Good Foundation has been created to help reverse the alarming trend in childhood obesity. Grants are available for programs whose participants are 18 years of age or less, have 501(c)3 status and can demonstrate their program positively impacts the lives of participants through their increased participation in running.

 Apply now.

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: December 13 and June 12

General Mills 2010 Champions for Healthy Kids Grant

general millsThe General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is proud to announce its ninth year of awarding 50, $10,000 grants to not-for-profit organizations with innovative programs that help youth develop good nutrition and fitness habits. 

Since its inception in 2002, the Champions for Healthy Kids program has awarded over $19 million in grants to grassroots programs across the U.S., reaching nearly 5 million youth. 

 Apply now.   


Amount: $10,000

Deadline: December 15


Grants Source: These grants were listed by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and Spark, a PC Advocate. Visit the NASPE Grant Opportunities Database or to explore a multitude of different community and research grant possibilities.

Get Active!

Top 10 PC Activities
Based on data compiled from the President's Challenge website, the following activities (in order) are the most popular. This month we are featuring "cardio machines."

1.   Walking      
2.   Running
3.   Bicycling
4.   Cardio Machines
5.   Weight Training
6.   Household Tasks
7.   Swimming
8.   Martial Arts
9.   Aerobics
10. Lawn mowing/gardening

Read about how this month's PC All-American did a personal five-hour elliptical marathon to achieve his Platinum Award!

Cardio Machines and Cardio Guidelines
As cold winter weather sets in for most of the United States, cardio machines are a great way to maintain your cardio routine without enduring the frosty conditions of the outdoors. While the shorter days and colder temperatures may make you feel less motivated, cardio respiratory exercise can help energize you. The ACSM recommends moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

Elliptical, bike, or treadmill - which to choose?
Although, there has been some debate about the overall effectiveness of stationary bikes versus elliptical trainers versus treadmills, a study conducted in Dublin, Ireland and published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness concluded that overall, the three different cardio machines all lead to similar physiological improvements when the same training volume and intensity is applied.

The treadmill should only be used by individuals whose body can withstand high impact activity. The motorized belt can help you to maintain a particular speed and push yourself to go faster or farther than you would have if running outdoors or on a track.

The elliptical trainer is a good alternative to the treadmill for those who need a lower-impact cardio workout. Elliptical machines with alternating handgrips can incorporate portions of the upper body while encouraging good posture. Alternatively, using the elliptical without holding the handlebars can improve core stability and balance.

The stationary bike is an even lower impact option for cardio, with a more localized focus on the lower body. Recumbent bikes with fully backed seats are recommended for individuals who have back pain.

Average calories burned in 30 minutes of cardio on a treadmill, running 5 mph based on individual weight:

Average calories burned in 30 minutes of cardio on an elliptical based on individual weight:

Average calories burned in 30 minutes of cardio on an elliptical based on individual weight:

Source:, sponsored by the National Health Information Center.

Question of the Month

What muscle group do you most consistently strength train? What is your favorite exercise for that area?
Below is a compilation of the responses given by 26 readers.



Reader responses:



  •  "Skull Crusher with bar ."(Works the triceps. While lying on your back, take a weighted bar and hold it above your chest with your arms extended. Then, bend your arms at the elbow, lowering the bar toward your head. The upper portion of the arm stays stationary.)


  •  "Squats. Squats can't be beat for a total leg, even total body, workout. In particular, I like front squats for a full strength and flexibility challenge. " (Be sure to keep your knees stacked above your ankles, and maintain a straight back with your abs contracted to support the lower back.)


  •  "Walking Lunges- You can do them anywhere with no equipment at all! Keep your butt in shape on the go, and when you have time to get in the gym you can add on weight to challenge your muscles. Important- start with feet hip width apart (for balance, don't step too narrow); step forward, sink straight down (not forward) pressing all of your weight into your FRONT HEEL. Don't push your knee forward past your toe and keep your weight off the back leg. Press through the front heel, contracting through the back of the leg and glute, as if you were pushing the ground away from you. Balance and repeat on the other side."

Upper Back

  •  "Reverse cable flies ."(Try to keep your torso from lifting as your pull back. Maintain an abdominal contraction to lengthen the spine and provide stability.)


  • "Arnold shoulder press."(Using two dumbbells, with your elbows bent, hold the weights up with your palms rotated toward your shoulders. Then, as you press the weights upward, extending your arms above your head, rotate your arms so that your palms are facing away from you.) 


  • "V-ups using a core stabilizing ball/ passing it from the hands to the feet as you come up and then from the feet to the hands the next repetition"  (Keep your neck long, with a space between your chin in the chest. Be sure to contact the abdominals downward toward the spine rather than pushing them out.)


  • "Pushups." (Maintain a straight back, keeping the head, neck, spine, and hips all in alignment.)


Click here to answer the January question: As the holidays approach, schedules get hectic, and big family meals get underway, what are some strategies you use to maintain your fitness and nutrition levels?

Demonstration Center of the Month

This section of Fitness is Fun! recognizes schools that excel at incorporating physical activity and fitness into their physical education programs. This month we would like to acknowledge Zion Lutheran School!

Zion Lutheran School is a parochial school with an enrollment of 96 students in grades K-8. The school is located in Independence, KS, a small town of 9,000 in the southeast corner of the state. According to principal Dawn Oldenettel, Zion Lutheran is known as the "little school that could." Read the following Q&A with Oldenettel to learn about what makes them a great Demonstration Center.

Q&A with Principal Dawn Oldenettel

What makes your program unique?
First of all, 73% of our student body chooses to participate in our after-school fitness program. This is the third year that we have undertaken the Presidential Active Lifestyle Program.

Second, we combine children of ages 5-14 as we are a K-8 school. This allows for great interaction between the ages and builds leadership skills amongst the older students. Younger students buddy up with the older students when we walk around the neighborhood or to the large grass playing field. Younger students love playing games with their older role models, and older students learn to put others first and that competition is not the only way to enjoy games!

kids-in-leaves.jpgThird, our students have discovered that fitness is fun! They look forward to fun and silly games that keep them moving. We often modify games and give them a Biblical twist.

Lastly, we often try to incorporate service with our fitness program. Leaf-raking is a weeklong fitness activity. We break into smaller groups, recruit adult volunteers to work alongside the coach and teacher representative and we rake leaves for our neighbors and the church properties. All the leaves are taken to one spot and the week culminates with a giant leaf jumping party. Yard clean-up takes place in the spring as well. We also take walks in the neighborhood while carrying trash bags, and the team that ends with the largest amount of trash is declared the winner!

What are some efforts your school makes to motivate students to live active lifestyles?
This year we weighed and measured our students (grades 4-8) and recorded their body fat percentage. We will conduct two 6-week sessions and measure them in the spring. We also participate (K-8th grade) in the Fuel Up to Play 60 challenge. This year we have begun a walk/run mileage program during our before school program. Our school also offers soccer, basketball, and track when we are not running our 6-week fitness program. Each year we participate in the local Three Mile Fitness Fun Walk-Run, and took first place for highest participation percentage.

How has the President's Challenge or Presidential Fitness Test affected your school? Do you have any specific examples?
Three years ago, our fitness coach, Gaby Richmond-Reck challenged our students to achieve the President's Fitness award. Since then our students have risen to the challenge. In 2009 we were named the Kansas State Champion for highest percentage of Presidential Award winners. The challenge was on and we were named State Champions again for the 2009-10 year. It is now the norm. No one at our school says, "can't." Everyone is honored for their individual achievements and encouraged to strive for excellence. We have seen self-doubters become self-confident believers. Children who thought they could never run, now run the mile with determination. They may not all hit the presidential mark, but they all complete the course. That is success.

Having just completed the first quarter, all students have recorded their scores for the presidential fitness requirements. They have set goals and will work to meet them. In fact, almost 30% of our eligible students have already qualified as presidential champions. These students will continue to work right along with the remainder of the student body. 

To learn more about Zion Lutheran and their physical education programs, contact Dawn Oldenettle or visit the Zion Lutheran Facebook page.

Dawn Oldenettel, Principal

The Demonstration Center recognition program acknowledges the vital role schools play encouraging active lifestyles for students. Demonstration Centers serve as models for other schools across the country wishing to improve their physical activity and physical education programming. Visit the Demonstration Center Program section of our website to learn more, or if you think you school deserves to be a Demonstration Center, apply today!

PCAllAmericanPC All American of the Month

The President's Challenge likes to recognize participants who benefit from the program and inspire others to lead more healthy lives. Check out Joseph Mastrianna's story, and get motivated!

Note: Fitness is Fun would like to thank Tech. Sgt. Francesca Popp of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs for granting us permission to use portions of her writing for this feature.

Around 7 a.m. June 4, Colonel Joseph Mastrianna climbed on an elliptical machine. Five hours, 37.5 miles, and a Presidential Champion Platinum Award later, he climbed off.

Mastrianna, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Manpower, Personnel, and Services deputy director used to be an avid runner, but eventually turned to the elliptical as a lower-impact option for his knees.

"Unfortunately, I ran with significant knee pain masked with mega doses of Advil for years. I enjoyed the 'runners high' that I achieved after finishing a punishing run, but the knee pain eventually caused me to curtail running," Mastrianna said. "I tried stationary cycling for a while, but after I tried an elliptical for the very first time while deployed in 2003, I was hooked and purchased a home version after returning from deployment and I have used it faithfully ever since."

Obviously, Mastrianna, who has been in the Air Force for 26 years, already made an effort to incorporate physical activity into his life, but in 2007, his Agency (HQ Air Force Services Agency, San Antonio, Texas) Commander issued a challenge to join and participate a minimum of 30 minutes daily.

"I had been in pretty good physical condition throughout my Air Force career," he said, "but the President's Challenge motivated me to get to a level I had not previously attained and stay there for a long period of time. I just recently turned 50-years-old, and I feel as if I am in the best physical condition of my life."

About-Joseph.jpgHe earned the bronze and silver awards - 40,000 and 90,000 points, respectively - in four months. By August 2007, the Norwalk, Conn., native had racked up 160,000 points - the gold award. It was when he reached gold that the next level was revealed.

"I had no idea there was anything beyond gold, because on all of the stuff I saw there is no mention of a higher level. I didn't know there was a platinum award until I got the gold award," Colonel Mastrianna said. "On the day I entered my workout information and the computer program calculated my scores for the gold award, was when I learned about the next level. It read, 'Congratulations, you are 16 percent on the way to platinum.'

"It was really depressing and disheartening," he said. "I thought gold was the highest, but the next level - platinum - was a million points. All of a sudden I went from being 99.9 percent complete for the gold award to being 16 percent of the way along."

For the next few years, the colonel stayed true to his routine while working his way to platinum status.

Since 2007, he has covered 12,500 miles on the elliptical, earning 1,000,000 points and his platinum award in three years and three months, just over his original goal of three years. In addition to reaching his all-time personal fitness best, Mastrianna also raised about $1,000 for Ramstein's Air Force Aid Fund.

"I was very much expecting, when I put my final results in for platinum, to be revealed the next level would be double platinum," he said with a smile. "But, I was even more disheartened that it went right back to the beginning again."

Still, after reaching his landmark goal, the colonel is starting over again.

"He is setting a great example for our kids that being healthy is important," said Sharon Mastrianna, his wife. "Even though they don't have a workout routine like (their) dad, the seed has been planted that physical activity is something they need to do in life."

As of mid-October, Mastrianna had already racked up another 65,000 points and hopes to complete another 12,500 miles on the elliptical in the years to come. If he does, he will have covered enough miles to circle the entire Earth at the equator, a feat that is out of this world!


Have an inspiring story? E-mail!

Special Features 

Putting the 'We" in Wii for Children with Visual Impairments

Children who are blind playing VI (virtually impaired) Bowling (left) and VI Tennis (right) at Camp Abilities.

A research project by the University of Nevada and State University of New York, Cortland and The College at Brockport is investigating how exercise opportunities for children with visual impairments can be increased using exercise games such as the popular Nintendo Wii Sports. The project is lead by Eelke Folmer, Assistant Professor in the department of Computer Science at the University of Nevada.


According to Folmer "Children with visual impairments have significantly higher levels of obesity and often exhibit delays in motor development, such as poor balance and inefficient gait that are considered byproducts of sedentary behavior during the developmental years, which is caused by a general lack of opportunity to be physically active."


Folmer went on to explain some of the barriers children with visual impairments experience when attempting to participate in physical activity, including:

  • lack of exercise partners or sighted guides
  • fear of getting injured;
  • fear of being made fun of while participating in adapted physical activities such as guided running.

Exergames are video games that use physical activity as input. Recent studies show they can engage their players into levels of physical activity high enough to yield health benefits.


For children with visual impairments the research team identified exergames have attractive properties that may overcome their barriers to participate in physical activity.


First of all, the games can be played without the aid of a sighted guide. Secondly, the risk of injury is minimal as exergames are performed in place. Additionally, playing the same games as or with their sighted peers may increase socialization opportunities, which are important since children with visual impairments are often isolated and lonely.


"Unfortunately exergames rely upon being able to see visual cues that indicate to the player what input to provide and when, which makes exergames impossible to play for children who are blind" said Folmer.


To remedy this problem, the research project has developed three exercise games (VI Tennis, VI Bowling and Pet-n-Punch), all of which can be played using audio and haptic feedback (feedback based on the sense of touch). The games can all be played with a motion-sensing controller (Wii Remote).


All games were evaluated with children who were blind at a developmental sports camp called Camp Abilities, which is organized annually by Dr. Lauren Lieberman at the College of Brockport. Each game was found to stimulate moderate levels of energy expenditure that were high enough to count towards the daily recommend amount of physical activity for children.


After making this groundbreaking progress, the researchers are now working toward developing tactile/audio exercise games that can engage their players in more vigorous levels of physical activity.


All the current games can be downloaded for free. You only need a Wii Remote ($30) and a Windows PC with Bluetooth support. Visit the VI Fit website or check out the informational YouTube video learn more.


Be part of our special feature for next month

Have you or someone else motivated a group of children or adults to lead a healthier life?  E-mail us your story at and it could be featured in next month's newsletter!

Fitness News and Research

Help shape the future of physical education: PE2020

"What should physical education look like in the year 2020 and beyond?" Anyone who wishes to answer this question is invited to do so online via the PE2020 Forum created by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, NASPE. As part of the initial phase of a two-year initiative to revise physical education, NAPSE is looking to the public for ideas on how programming should look in the future.


Individuals or those entering submissions on behalf of a classroom have a chance to win prizes for their innovative suggestions. Visit the PE2020 online forum to share your opinions or view others' suggestions.


In PE News publisher Steve Jeffries wrote, "This past month we've seen an upsurge in submissions of PE2020 visions. We are getting close to 500.The numbers are increasing daily. But we need more. If you have not submitted please start thinking and writing immediately. And get your students to submit. People who have experienced PE are eminently qualified to tell us what they would like it to be like."

Let's Move in School: an AAHPERD and NASPE call to action to support the First Lady's Let's Move campaign

The Let's Move in School campaign pledges to give teachers, parents, principals and legislators the support they need to help kids become more physically educated and active in school.


Let's Move in School hopes to ensure that schools adopt a comprehensive school physical activity program and educate our youth on the benefits of a physically active lifestyle. Their website has all the information you need to get involved.


Exercising more may help you sniffle less during cold season

There's no cure for the common cold, but exercise may help prevent it. According to a study by Appalachian State University, people who are physically active five or more days a week tend to have fewer colds with shorter duration and reduced severity compared to people who are mostly sedentary, exercising only one day or less a week,. The results can potentially be explained by the enhanced rate of activity of the immune system following exercise.  Read more.

Fitness and Wellness with Marjie

One step at a time: using a pedometer for tracking and motivation

Marjie Gilliam

Pedometer use continues to climb as more people realize the benefits of wearing one. This simple device is worn on the waistband or belt and counts the number of steps taken and distance traveled, allowing you to gauge how active you really are throughout the day. Unlike tracking a specific exercise period with a watch or stopwatch, pedometer steps accumulate as you go about your normal activities.

Most people want to get into better shape, lose weight and be healthier. By tracking what they do every day with a pedometer, they can set goals and reach for higher levels of activity. A study published in the April, 2005 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & ExerciseŠ demonstrated that people who wear pedometers with the goal of trying to get to 10,000 steps per day actually took more steps and walked farther than those who were instructed to walk for multiple 30-minute periods each day.

Not everyone is ready to take 10,000 steps daily, so it is best to establish your own baseline by wearing a pedometer as you go about your normal daily routine for a week or so. One recommendation is to keep track of steps taken and then try to increase the average amount by 5-10 percent as you get stronger. Remember that before you begin an exercise program, it's a good idea to consult with your physician, especially if you are unaccustomed to exercise or have a medical condition.

Pedometers come with a wide variety of different features depending on model, including:

  • Steps. This is a basic calculation, and the foundation for some other calculations that the pedometer may provide.
  • Distance. Using a stride length input into the pedometer, distance is calculated by multiplying that stride length by the number of steps. To be accurate, three things have to be working: steps need to be counted, stride needs to be set correctly, and you need to take consistent steps.
  • Calories. Similar to distance, calories may be calculated, but using the weight of the wearer.
  • Time. This is a handy one. You don't need to wear a watch because your pedometer shows the time of day. Some models even have an alarm built in to alert you at various set points.
  • Stopwatch. Useful for measuring speed and timed exercise sessions.
  • Radio. Some models come complete with AM/FM or just FM radios and headphones so you can enjoy music while you walk.
  • Voice. Tells you how many steps you've walked, distance you've covered, and calories you've burned. Useful if you don't want to look at the pedometer, most models have a button that can be pressed to hear the voice readout.
  • Pulse. If you're interested in seeing how hard your heart is pumping, get a pedometer with a pulse feature. These usually involve placing a finger over a light-sensitive panel that counts heartbeats electronically.
  • Pacing. A settable, consistent beeping gives you a pace to try to keep up with as you exercise.
  • Speed. Normally a calculation of steps per minute, using the step counting and timing functions. Some units translate that figure into miles per hour.
  • Night-lighting. If you exercise after dark or before light, you might want a feature that illuminates the screen or give you greater visibility for safety.
  • Scanning. A multi-function pedometer will often give you the option of cycling through various readout screens so you don't have to keep pressing buttons.
  • Auto start/stop. These units sense when you're moving and will start up various functions like step counting or timing. They will also stop when you do.
  • Memory. Keeps previous step counts and other information for reference.
  • Filter. A "step-filter" is one way that pedometer makers try to make their units more accurate. It is designed to weed out random bumps or movements that might otherwise be counted as steps.

Prices vary considerably, so when choosing a pedometer, decide which options best suit your needs and which ones you can do without. You want a pedometer that is accurate, but even if you find it reads slightly higher or lower, you can still compare the number of steps taken from one day to the next and with this information, work toward increasing activity levels over time.


Marjie Gilliam is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist and freelance journalist, and has authored thousands of articles devoted to health and wellness. Each month we feature one of her articles.



Two different styles of pedometers are available for purchase at our online shopping center. Prices range from $7.95 to $12 95.

PC Advocate of the Month

We would like to extend a special thanks to all of the President's Challenge Advocates. Please visit the Advocates section to see how companies, organizations and groups are making a difference with the President's Challenge.


IDEA Health & Fitness Association offers largest Fitness Professional Directory


IDEA-logo.jpgIDEA Health & Fitness Association is the world's leading organization of fitness and wellness professionals including personal trainers, group fitness instructors, fitness directors and fitness business owners. These professionals coach, train and influence millions of health-minded individuals. Through IDEA professionals in over 80 countries, the organization works to "Inspire the World to Fitness."


With the launch of IDEA FitnessConnect, it has created the largest national industry-wide directory linking over 100,000 US fitness professionals to more than 16 million consumers. By providing verified profiles and certifications of fitness professionals, consumers can gain confidence in their choice of fitness services while strengthening the credibility and professionalism of the fitness industry. To find a fitness professional in your area, visit

We hope you enjoyed this month's issue of Fitness is Fun.

As we begin to create our next issue, we would like to hear from you!

We welcome questions or comments regarding current content and are open to suggestions for future topics we should address. Inspiring stories are also appreciated and could become features in upcoming issues. 

E-mail us at


The Fitness is Fun staff
The President's Challenge

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