of the Month:
As a fitness director for a retirement community, Maria Kishfy has helped people of all ages and abilities participate in physical activity to earn the PALA. Read about her personal fitness journey and how she has shared her passion with others in the Get Inspired section.
*Also, look for Maria in future issues of Fitness is Fun! She will be contributing as a guest columnist in the upcoming months.
|DECEMBER 2011|You have received the December 2011 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 physical activity, nutrition and fitness.
In this issue...
President's Challenge News
Youth Physical Fitness Test Receives Update
Progress is happening relative to an update of the youth fitness test. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Fitness Measures and Health Outcomes held its second meeting in November. The committee now is working to develop its report, which is expected to be released next summer. The report will provide recommendations on the best tests to assess youth fitness relative to health outcomes. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) and President's Challenge are pleased to see progress in this area. We'll keep you posted on updates as they are available.
PALA+ Central to Healthier IU Campus Competition
The eight campuses of Indiana University (IU) decided to go head to head for the title of "healthiest IU campus." The inter-campus competition, which began in October, was intended to build awareness about the importance of physical activity and nutrition. Each campus is submitting records of the percentage of employees who earned the new Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) by completing 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week and meeting their weekly nutrition goals for six out eight weeks. The winners of this year's competition will receive a travelling trophy that will be used in future health and wellness competitions. According to Patty Hollingsworth, director of employee health engagement for IU, this competition is just the beginning. She hopes to organize a similar inter-campus competition for students, possibly expanding beyond IU to the entire Big Ten conference of universities. Read the full article.
Family earns their PALA to win Triple Play Fit Family Challenge
Because of their ability to improve their physical activity, nutrition, and quality of time spent together, the Porter family of Wisconsin recently won the Triple Play Fit Family Competition. For the second year in a row, the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) hosted the challenge as part of their Triple Play program, called "A Game Plan for the MIND, BODY and SOUL." Five families participated in the competition, learning and practicing healthy eating habits (MIND), being physically active (BODY) and spending quality time with each other (SOUL). As a part of the BODY portion of the challenge, each family earned the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) from the President's Challenge.
|Mario Lopez poses with the Porter Family after declaring them the winners of the Triple Play Fit Family Challenge.|
BGCA alumnus and TV host for EXTRA Mario Lopez served as the BODY coach and overall spokesperson for the challenge. The families were also coached by well-known health advocates Dr. Val Jones, CEO of Better Health, LLC, a medical blogger network and education company, who served as the MIND coach, and SOUL coach Donna Richardson Joyner, a fitness expert with experience helping faith centers and communities promote healthier lifestyles and a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN).
BGCA launched the Triple Play program in 2005 in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services and support from the Coca-Cola Company. A two-year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods, and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent. To date, Triple Play has helped more than one million kids learn the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition. In 2011, the WellPoint Foundation joined BGCA and Coca-Cola as a Triple Play sponsor. Learn more about the program or read the full press release for more information.
PC Advocate NFL PLAY 60 helping communities get on board with physical activity
Have you seen the NFL PLAY 60 Bus featured in the PLAY 60 commercials (right)? For the first time this year, communities can enter for a chance to receive a visit from that bus - along with sports equipment, gear, and NFL players!
The "NFL PLAY 60 Bus Stops With You" is giving people across the country the opportunity to tell the NFL how the NFL PLAY 60 Bus could help improve the health and wellness of youth in their community by submitting a short essay and photo.
The contest is open to school administrators, teachers, PTA or PTO leaders, managers or directors of public state-accredited, private or vocational schools or after-school programs, and managers or directors of nonprofit or 501(c) organizations with an after-school program or community center.
Entrants can apply for whatever it is they feel would make their community a better place for kids to get active - this could be anything from new equipment, to uniforms, to a gym refurbishment.
This spring, the NFL PLAY 60 bus will visit one deserving community bringing with it exactly what that winning town asked for.
The deadline for submissions is February 12, 2012. Visit the "NFL PLAY 60 Bus Stops With You" website to learn more.
FUEL UP TO PLAY 60
Getting active is only one aspect of a healthy lifestyle; proper nutrition is also essential. The NFL recognizes this, so in addition to their PLAY 60 program, they have partnered with the National Dairy Council to promote healthier eating nationwide. Read more about the Fuel Up to Play 60 in-school nutrition and physical activity program in our Advocate of the Month section.
OF THE MONTH:
Keep warm while showing your fitness pride by wearing this new sweatshirt with the President's Challenge logo. At 9.3 ounces, this navy hooded fleece sweatshirt will keep you warm and comfortable on even the coldest days.
ORDER YOURS TODAY
For information on how to order the President's Challenge Fleece Sweatshirt or any of our other merchandise, visit our online shopping center.
PCFSN and Other Government News
Annual PCFSN Awards nominations deadlines approach
Do you know someone who has helped advance fitness, sports, or nutrition programs? Nominate him or her today for either the Lifetime Achievement Award or the Community Leadership Award. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition gives annual awards recognizing those who are committed to promoting fitness, sports, and nutrition across the country and in their community.
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement or promotion of physical activity, sport and nutrition nationwide.
The Community Leadership Award is given to individuals or organizations that improve the lives of others through fitness, sports and nutrition within their community.
Nominations must be received by February 1, 2012. Submit a nomination today.
First Lady Focuses on Physical Activity and Breaking Jumping Jacks World Record
With the help of 300,265 people, a new world record was set for the most number of people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. The previous record was 20,000 people, but the event with the First Lady and lead by National Geographic Kids far surpassed this mark. Now, the First Lady continues working towards her larger goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. Read the full Let's Move Blog post or watch the announcement video below.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
National Girls & Women in Sports Day
Start planning an event for your school or community today! Learn more.
Deadline for Nominations for PCFSN Awards
Submit a nomination.
Deadline for the NFL Play 60 Bus Contest
Orlando Science Center Mission Nutrition
AAHPERD National Convention & Exposition
March 13 - 17
The theme for this year's American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Convention and Exposition is "United We Move." Register by January 19 for the Early Bird Special. Learn more.
ACSM's Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition
Las Vegas, NV
Hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine, this signature fitness conference, gives students, fitness enthusiasts, personal trainers, certified professionals, and others the full spectrum of programming from scientific to practical application. Register by January 4 for the best value. Learn more.
National Afterschool Association Convention
April 2 - 4
The National Afterschool Association's 24th annual national convention will bring afterschool professionals together for 3 days of the most comprehensive professional development opportunities available for afterschool professionals anywhere in the United States. Learn more.
2012 National Health Promotion Summit
April 10 - 11
Attend this event to learn about what can be done to achieve Healthy People 2020 and other national initiatives. Learn more.
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New Physical Activity Tracker Activities
When determining point calculations, Presidential Champions Challenge participants now have access to our freshly revamped physical activity tracker . In addition to making it possible to log nutrition, we have added a wide variety of new activities. The data for these changes was drawn from the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: A Second Update of Codes and MET Values. Each month, we will feature one of these new activities in the Get Active section of "Fitness is Fun." This month we're taking a look at water walking.
Try This: Water Walking
Water walking can be done in either thigh- to chest-deep water or in deep water where your feet don't touch the pool floor. If water walking in a setting where your feet reach the bottom, you will simply walk through the water just as your would on land. Avoid only using your tiptoes; instead, incorporate the entire foot, heel to ball. You can also try walking backwards or sideways in order to utilize different muscles in different ways. You will want to stand up tall and contract through the abdominal/stomach muscles to support your back. The more your body is submerged, the more resistance the water will provide and the more challenging the workout may be.
|Water walking in chest-deep water, this woman is using shoes to help her feet grip the pool bottom and gloves to increase the resistance against her arms.|
With deep water walking, many choose to use a flotation device, but this is not necessary if you are comfortable with swimming. However, flotation devices do provide stability and enable you to put more emphasis into your form rather than focusing on simply staying afloat. A body or waist belt is usually recommended, sometimes even for chest-deep water because it will help you maintain good posture and alignment. As with walking in shallow water, deep water walking involves mimicking the process of walking on land, still pressing through the entirety of your feet.
You can add to your water walking routine with high knees, raising your knee to chest level (or as high as is comfortable for you). If you contract through your abdominals as you do so (as if performing a crunch upright), high knees will target your abs as well as your hip flexors. Additionally, this will help get your heart rate up even more, which is important for cardiovascular conditioning.
Water walking can be done individually or in groups. Many fitness centers, YMCAs, or public pools offer classes. The presence of an instructor can help ensure your form is correct, and the group setting can be motivational.
When it's cold...water walking can be a great solution to staying active, as long as you have access to an indoor or heated pool.
When it's hot...water walking can allow you to work out without risk over overheating. Although you might still perspire, the water can help cool you. Just be sure if you're outside that you wear sunscreen, hat, and/or sunglasses.
If you have joint pain...water walking is a great alternative to land walking because the buoyant force of the water supports your weight, so less stress is placed on your joints. Furthermore, heated pools are especially beneficial to those with joint pain since the warmth helps joints relax while still permitting physical activity.
If you are not used to physical activity...water walking is an excellent way to ease into an exercise routine. You can choose the depth of the water, the speed of walking, and your overall exertion level.
If you want to improve your cardiovascular health...water walking is an effective cardiovascular workout, when performed at the proper intensity. Although you should not expect to move quickly through water due to the resistance, you should still push yourself to maintain a speed that will elevate your heart rate.
If you want to strengthen and build muscles...water walking is actually better than walking on land because the resistance of water is at least 12 times greater than that of air. This resistance is applied in all directions for your muscles to work against. Depending on the amount of your body you submerge, water walking can also incorporate more muscle groups than land walking, since your upper body and limbs could also experience the resistance of the water.
Because water walking is not a weight-bearing exercise, it does not lead to improved bone density. Other weight-bearing, bone-building workouts should still be part of your routine at some point. Additionally, being submerged in water may prevent you from noticing when you are perspiring, so make sure you stay hydrated.
Sources: Arthritis Foundation, Livestrong.com, Dummies.com
EARNED YOUR PALA? WANT A NEW CHALLENGE?
Champions Challenge. Whether you enjoy walking in the water, your neighborhood, or on a trail (or maybe you enjoy all 3), your activities count towards a Presidential Champions award. Sign up and get started today!
News and Research
Work it out: exercise could help prevent depression
Building upon previous research linking exercise to improved mental health, a new study of 50,000 women showed that those who reported exercising the most in recent years were up to 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Conversely, more hours spent inactively watching TV were associated with higher incidence of depression, though the correlation was not as strong. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, does not necessarily indicate that lack of exercise and too much TV are the causes of depression, but rather, increasing exercise and reducing TV time might prevent some cases of this mood disorder. Read the full article.
Overall fitness more important than weight in reducing cardiovascular risk
Regardless of changes in one's Body Mass Index (BMI), maintaining or improving physical fitness can reduce cardiovascular risk, according to a study from the University of South Carolina. The overall results indicated that becoming less fit led to higher death risks, independent of changes in weight. The study followed 14,435 primarily white middle or upper class men over the course of 11.4 years, thus more research should be done to confirm these results in other populations. Read the full article.
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8 Ways to Eat Healthy
The new version of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, PALA+, features eight nutritional components in addition to the physical activity requirements. Each month we will feature one of these eight healthy eating goals:
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a source of a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which can help prevent chronic diseases. In general, the more colorful your plate, the better, because this will provide not only a variety of flavors, but also nutrients (view a chart of specific nutrients in different fruits and vegetables). Convenient snacks or delicious additives to meals, fruits and vegetables can help with weight management when used as substitutes for other higher-calorie foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an online calculator that will help you figure out what your daily intake of fruits and vegetables should be. Find out exactly how many fruits and vegetables your body needs based on your age, gender, and level of physical activity.
Additionally, the CDC has a recipe generator that will help you come up with ways to incorporate specific fruits or vegetables depending on the kind of meal you want to prepare. Use this tool to come up with ways to meet the goal of making at least half your plate fruits and vegetables.
News and Research
New year brings new labels for cuts of meat
Although Nutrition Facts labels have been required on many foods since 1993, meats were excluded from this provision. Nutrition labels only had to be provided on a voluntary basis...until now. As of January 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will require nutrition labels on meats. With the goal of making it easier for Americans to make informed choices, this regulation will apply to 40 of the most commonly purchased cuts of beef, poultry, pork, and lamb. Like the labels seen on most other food products, the new labels will list calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, and vitamins. Read the full article.
Veggie consumption not just a problem for little kids
While small children are notorious for refusing to eat their vegetables, teen's diets are also lacking in this important food group. According to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the median consumption for both fruits and vegetables among high school students was 1.2 cups per day for both fruits and vegetables. This is below the recommended 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for teen females and 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables for teen males who do less than 30 minutes of activity daily. More active teens need to consume even more fruits and vegetables. Read the full article.
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Scales not necessarily best for weighing resolution results in the New Year
The New Year often brings about resolutions related to weight-loss. For those using the scale to gauge success, it is important to know that there are many factors that can influence this reading. These include fluid levels, amount of physical activity, type and amount of food eaten, and other variables.
To help avoid confusion and frustration with weight fluctuations, keep in mind that the scale is only capable of assessing body weight, not body composition. Even with scales designed to display body fat percentage, results are rarely accurate because calculations are based on pre-set formulas, which use height, age, weight and gender to determine readings rather than actually measuring body fat. For example, the heavier the person, the higher the body fat percentage typically displays, regardless of whether weight is from muscle or fat. Pre-set formulas also dictate that pound for pound females are fatter than men, and that the taller or younger the person, the leaner they are. Many scales have been re-vamped to allow for input of activity level, but they still rely on these other factors when giving body fat readings, so they are still iffy.
Water makes up about 60 percent of total body mass. If you are retaining water, this will result in a higher reading on the scale. Hormonal changes, the amount of fluids consumed, overeating starchy carbs and/or salty foods can all influence how much water the body holds on to.
As for water retention, the greater the degree of dehydration the more your body is forced to hold onto fluids instead of releasing it. Excess salt can also play a big role in water retention. A single teaspoon of salt contains 2325 mg of sodium, more than most of us need in an entire day. Put these factors together and you will no doubt see a higher number of the scale by tomorrow morning.
Medical conditions, pre-menstrual weight gain and certain medications are also related to water retention. Although this can be difficult to change, it can often be minimized by adequate amounts of water throughout the day, adhering to a regular exercise program, and staying away from high sodium foods.
Glycogen is the common storage form of glucose (blood sugar) and is stored both in the liver and in the muscles. Glycogen is easily converted into glucose whenever you need energy. How does glycogen affect scale weight? This reserve of energy weighs more than a pound and is packaged with 3 to 4 pounds of water when it is stored. Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates. If you do not consume enough carbohydrates during the day, your glycogen/water supply decreases, and this shows as weight loss when you step on the scale. This depletion, although not body fat loss, is one of the reasons why 'low-carb' dieting methods can appear to be successful. It is normal to experience water/glycogen fluctuations of up to 2 pounds per day even if there are no changes in caloric intake or activity level.
Muscle weight is a big part of the number you see when you step on the scale. For this reason, it is important to take your body type into account when deciding on weight loss goals. For instance, people with a stockier build have a genetic pre-disposition to more muscle mass overall than other body types. No matter what your body type, losing muscle weight is nothing to be happy about. Because it is metabolically active, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn around the clock.
Crash dieting may cause your weight to drop quickly, but because muscle needs calories to survive, the caloric deprivation leads to muscle loss. To help lose weight in a healthy way and see more loss in body fat than muscle, eat several small meals throughout the day and maintain a regular exercise program.
Body fat levels actually increase slowly and it comes off in the same way. In order to store one pound of body fat, you would have to consume 3,500 more calories than your body is able to use. If you were to eat the amount of calories your body needed to maintain its current weight, it would burn roughly 60-70% of those calories just to keep you alive and another roughly 10% with digestion. The remaining 20-30% of those calories must be burned off with daily activity or it will be stored as fat. Even without exercise, it would take many days for under burning/overeating to cause a one-pound (3,500 calories) increase in body fat.
To put it simply, if the number on the scale reads 2 or 3 pounds heavier in the evening than it did that morning, unless you ate many thousands of calories over your normal calorie intake, only a small amount of that increase will be actual body fat. Generally speaking, it is only possible to lose or gain about 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week, the equivalent of plus or minus of 500 to 1000 calories each day. Keep this in mind whenever you hear claims of "lose 10 pounds in 7 days!" or other such quick weight loss promises, and remember that most of those pounds will be water, glycogen, and/or muscle.
Weight of food and beverages consumed show up on the scale. Weighing yourself after drinking a glass of water for example, will reflect a higher number than weighing on an empty stomach. Once again, this gain has nothing to do with body fat, nor is it an indicator that you have succeeded or failed in any way.
There is nothing wrong with weighing yourself, but if you do, use it as only one indicator of how well you are doing. The best indicator of progress when it comes to losing weight is to take regular waistline measurements, and do a comparison over time. In addition, make note of the way you look and feel. Do your clothes fit better? Do you have more energy? Do your muscles feel firmer? Are you stronger? Are you able to do things you couldn't do before?
Last but not least, try to focus on your health rather than your weight. Percentage of body fat, especially around the midsection, quality of sleep, stress levels, and the amount of exercise you get, are much more important to monitor than scale weight.
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.
Share Your Story
President's Challenge participant Maria Kishfy explains how she strives to foster fitness for all
|Maria Kishfy|Everyone needs to go through a cycle of self-discovery to truly figure out how to approach life in a healthier way. Once you discover what entices you to move, your wellness journey will begin. That said, there are two components that can put you on a path of self-discovery - extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.
A great example of an extrinsic motivation is "The President's Challenge." This motivational tool allows you to track physical activity and offers educational information that can jumpstart a healthier lifestyle; this motivation can help support and enhance our intrinsic motivation: a motivation that is internally driven...a feeling of self-fulfillment. I was fortunate to discover The President's Challenge initiative (Presidential Sports Award*) in the mid-90's. This was a way for me to preserve my physical activity program.
In 1995, I received the Jazzercise award for my commitment to dance. I was excited to participate in this challenge since I found an inner satisfaction and great joy from dancing. I discovered my intrinsic motivation: a motivation that enhanced my commitment to fitness. I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention the adaptations that may need to be made along the way, but I found learning how to bounce back from adversity will keep your spirit alive.
My setback occurred during a family vacation when I was indirectly hit by lightening. I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Aside from the physical disruption of my immune system; I felt melancholy. I needed to make some lifestyle adjustments, but my willingness to return to my fitness regimen was paramount. With a strong support system I was able to "bounce back" within one year. Then I started a quest to engage, educate and inspire others to build a resilient attitude to explore and discover ways to live a more active lifestyle.
Now, as a Fitness Director in an independent and assisted living community, it is important for me to support others while focus is on what each person can do, as opposed to what they can't do. I developed a functional fitness plan that fosters a healthy attitude and physical well being and the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) continues to play a vital role in this plan.
In early August the excitement was building for the PALA challenge. Since many of our residents have specific adaptations, a diverse blend of movement opportunities was offered with the assistance and guidance necessary to ensure a successful outcome. It's all about what we can do!
|Maria Kishfy presents Anita Garvey, 89, with her PALA certificate. Garvey earned the award by walking with a pedometer.|
By mid-August, 24 residents at Atria Lincoln Place had made a commitment to living a more active lifestyle. PALA was an excellent tracking system and motivational tool to prepare for our fall program. For some, pocket pedometers helped kick off this commitment. In fact, eighty-nine year old Anita Garvey is an avid walker, so the pedometer offered her an opportunity to report her daily steps. By the end of the six-week period, Anita walked nearly 100,000 steps! She is also in a bowling league and often participates in our daily group exercise class. Others appreciate the therapeutic affects of our 89-degree pool while focusing on exercises that can enhance their functionality for every day living. Personal training is always recommended to initiate exercise adherence, especially with post-physical therapy patients.
|Angelo Moretti, 84, participated in activites ranging from Wii bowling to group exercise in order to earn his PALA.|
Eighty-four-year-old Angelo Moretti, PALA recipient, has participated in a variety of physical activities; group exercise, Wii bowling, and personal training. His favorite activity is singing with his group the "Silvertones." Both Garvey and Moretti agree that the Presidents Challenge is an excellent tracking and motivation tool. The President's Challenge builds awareness, educates, and motivates individuals to live healthier, productive lives, and it is my honor to help spread the word. I commend our residents who have participated in the President's Challenge and look forward to increasing participation in 2012!
|Maria Kishfy poses with the PALA recipients of Atria Lincoln Place.|
*The Presidential Sports Award (PSA) program of the PCFSN was administered by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) until August 31, 2003. Since then, this award has been incorporated into the President's Challenge. Participants can no longer receive the PSA, but are encouraged to participate in either the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) or the Presidential Champions Program.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
If you are a President's Challenge participant, we want to hear from you! How has the President's Challenge impacted your life? Tell us about your personal fitness and nutrition journey. Share with us today, so we can publish your story can inspire others! E-mail your story to our writer, Brooke, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocate of the Month
Fuel Up to Play 60 / National Dairy Council
Fuel Up to Play 60 is the in-school nutrition and physical activity program founded by National Dairy Council� (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), based on a mutual commitment to the health of the next generation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has joined the effort as well as many businesses and industry leaders. This comprehensive program focuses on promoting healthier eating and more physical activity opportunities school-wide. Students and adults work together to select and implement a series of "Plays" that result in long-term changes in these two important areas. Along the way, students become empowered to lead - by making healthy decisions, taking action for change and encouraging their friends to do the same. Learn more.
Our Advocates help to increase participation in the President's Challenge and encourage people to lead active, healthy lives. Learn more.
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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 email@example.com.
The Fitness is Fun staff
The President's Challenge