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backtotopFitness is Fun! February 2010

Greetings from the office of the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program! You have received the February 2010 issue of Fitness is Fun, the official email distribution of the President's Challenge. These monthly emails 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 February: What kinds of activities and exercises do you enjoy doing the most in pairs or in groups?

Please respond via E-mail to the President's Challenge at preschal@indiana.edu. We'll include the most insightful responses in the March issue of Fitness is Fun. Be sure to view the responses to the January Fitness Question near the end of this newsletter.

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

PresidentsChallengeNEWSPCPFS News:

ObamaLet's Move Initiative Announced by the White House


On Tuesday, February 9, 2010 President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing a task force on childhood obesity.  The new task force is charged with developing an interagency action plan to solve the problem of obesity among our Nation's children as part of the First Lady's Let's Move campaign.  For more information on the establishment of this task force visit the white house blog.


Let's Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.  One of the goals of the Let's Move campaign is to double the number of children in the 2010-2011 school year who earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) from the President's Challenge by engaging in regular physical activity.  For more information about the Let's Move campaign visit their website at http://www.letsmove.gov.

Featured Product of the Month

This month we highlight the President's Challenge Sit and Reach Box.
Sit and Reach Box

The Sit and Reach box is an essential tool for measuring flexibility as part of the physical fitness test.  This item features a scale in both inches and centimeters, the President's Challenge logo on each side, a foot plate to prevent slipping and a maximum reach indicator.  It assembles easily with no tools required.

For information on how to order the sit and reach box or any of our other helpful fitness products visit our online order center at www.presidentschallenge.org/order_center/index.aspx.

President's Challenge booklet now available

2009 Brochure CoverIn case you missed it, the annual President's Challenge booklet is now available for download from our website.  In order to reduce our impact on the environment we printed only a limited quantity for 2009-10.  These booklets are designed for use by educators and other professionals administering any of our physical activity or fitness programs. 

To download a pdf version of this booklet or to order a printed copy visit http://brochure.presidentschallenge.org.

ING Run For Something Better (RFSB) School Awards Program


ING is partnering with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) to provide a grant opportunity for schools across the nation. ING and NASPE recognize that physical activity is beneficial to self-esteem, school performance and overall well-being and are seeking to increase physical activity in students and help fight childhood obesity through school-based running programs.


ING RFSB will provide a minimum of 50 $2,000 grants to schools that want to establish a running program. Applications can be found online.


For more information and the application for ING RFSB, visit


PCPFSUpcoming Events:
Visit with the President's Challenge staff at these conferences:
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
WHERE: Indianapolis, IN
WHEN: March 16-20, 2010
WEBSITE: www.aahperd.org

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
WHERE: Houston, TX
WHEN: April 8-11, 2010
WEBSITE: www.naesp.org


Third International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health
Third International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health
WHERE: Toronto, Canada
WHEN: May 5 - 8, 2010
Any and everyone involved in promoting health and fitness will benefit from this conference. Topics ranging from physical activity and inactivity guidelines to health economics and physical inactivity will be addressed. Attendees will receive extensive knowledge about the role of health and wellness in the world and cutting edge approaches to increase physical activity and public health globally.
For more information, please visit http://www.cflri.ca/icpaph/en/index.php.

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
WHERE: Nationwide
WHEN: Month of May 2010
For more information visit the President's Council Web site at


Based on data compiled from the President's Challenge website, the following activities (in order) are the most popular.  To provide information that is pertinent and useful to our subscribers, we are developing this new section which will feature one of these activities each month.

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

Bicycling is a great way to get outdoors,  build strength and vary your training. It is efficient in burning excess calories and improving cardiovascular health. As a result of the motion of bicycling, this exercise develops muscles and makes the body leaner and stronger. It also has a strong focus on the core region of the body, which can improve balance and posture.


Visit the special bicycling section of the President's Challenge website for more information about this great activity.


Continue on in your PC program by getting out and trying a new activity!

PCPFSPC All-Americans:
This section highlights President's Challenge participants who have benefited from the program. Check out their stories and get motivated!

The "Skateboarding Twins", Nic and Tristan Pueshe of Shingle Springs, Calif., excel in one of the most popular sports among kids. Here is their story told through their father, Michael Pueshe.

Twin High Five

Although they may be known as the "Skateboarding Twins", they didn't start there. Nic and Tristan, 11, began wakeboarding at 5 years old, and it wasn't until the local skatepark opened that they took to the sport - first attempting jumps off two-foot blocks.


Nic and Tristan competed in more than 60 contests from ages 6 to 9, but took a break to avoid burning out and judging their ability only on their contest results. Since then, the boys have spent their time focusing on new tricks and filming skateboarding videos, which are some of the most-watched with more than 10 million views.


Nic and Tristan's focus remains on their hopes of becoming professional skateboarders one day, and Michael attributes their success to getting involved with a sport they love.


"Getting involved in sports can open the doors to completely different things. Kids should participate in the sports they enjoy. If they're unsure about what sports those would be, try them all. Sports provide discipline, commitment, teamwork, winning, losing and goal-setting ... all while having fun. These are certainly attributes our kids can use in their adult lives."

Nic & Tristan's skating skills recently gave them the opportunity to star in a kids' adventure movie called "Nic & Tristan Go Mega Dega", which will be coming out on DVD this June.

Q&A with Michael Puehse

What made skating their activity of choice?

"Skateboarding provides them adrenaline rushes and excitement. It also taps into their creativity and allows them to even invent brand new tricks. There are literally hundreds of tricks you can learn; combine all these tricks with the hundreds of skateparks (all differently designed) and skateboarding never gets boring."

Twin JumpHow long have they been following the President's Challenge?

"Nic & Tristan have been aware of the President's Challenge (PC) for some time now. At a very young age, they realized that nothing is better than good physical exercise, especially when it involves doing activities you love, as opposed to, exercising just to exercise. If you are doing something you enjoy, it's really not exercise ... it's fun."

What is their favorite part of the PC and skateboarding?

"Nic and Tristan's favorite part of the PC is staying as active as possible. In addition to skateboarding, they play soccer, tennis and racquetball. They enjoy one or more of these activities each and every day."

How do the twins stay motivated to keep skating?Twins

"They love learning new tricks and the satisfaction they get when they finally land them. Nic & Tristan have also come to realize that patience is probably the hardest thing ... They also enjoy traveling around the world to make skate videos which they post on YouTube and their Web site. Another motivation of theirs is knowing that each video must be better, which requires learning bigger and better tricks."


How has PC motivated them to stay healthy and improve their fitness? 

"The boys are motivated to live a healthy lifestyle now so that it becomes habit and carries on into their adulthood."


To learn more about the "Skateboarding Twins" Nic and Tristan, visit www.skateboardingtwins.com, or check out one of their videos at www.youtube.com/groms.

HealthandWellnessSpecial Feature:

This month Fitness is Fun features Lisa Lloyd, Physical Education teacher at Esperanza Middle School in Lexington Park, Maryland. Check out her story!

Lloyd recently incorporated a whole new routine into her P.E. classes this year. After finding an old record of the "Chicken Fat" song, she created an activity her students can't get enough of.


"I found my old "Chicken Fat" record in my mom's garage and really wanted to use it as a warm-up during my fitness club unit," she said. "I used the record when I was in elementary school because I wanted to get rid of my 'chicken fat.'"


Lloyd wasn't sure at first how her students would react; however, the 1960s record quickly became a requested activity among her sixth and seventh graders.


"I told them I used the record when I was younger and when I played it they liked it," she said. "They were laughing and smiling and asked if they could do it again the next time. I also encouraged them to make their own fitness routine to music that they like."


She focuses on the values and ideas set within the President's Challenge program to build a fitness plan fit for her students.


"I use the President's Challenge Active Lifestyle Award with my eighth graders to get them to develop and implement a personal fitness plan," Lloyd said. "We are on week five now and many of my students will be earning the certificate."


Aside from her "Chicken Fat" warm-up routine, Lloyd uses various activities in her classes, such as rollerblading, archery, tennis, flag football, bowling and Fitness Club - a combination of Pilates, strength training and kick boxing, among others.



"Everything we do in class is an activity that they can add to their fitness plan," she said. "At the end of each class I remind them what component of fitness we worked on, how many minutes of activity they have completed, and how many more minutes of activity they need to meet the 60 minutes a day goal."


Lloyd continues to implement new and different activities to keep her students active and keep them on the President's Challenge program.


"By offering a variety of activities I hope to encourage all of my students to explore fitness and find something they like to do," she said. "If they like it they are more likely to keep doing it."

If you or your organization uses the President's Challenge and has a new or inspiring accomplishment or advancement, e-mail us at preschal@indiana.edu.

HealthandWellnessNews and Research:

NFL Network's "Keep Gym in School: Physical Education Program Grants"Keep Gym Logo

NFL Network is offering grants to improve physical education programs throughout the U.S. Ten grants of $1,000 will be given to middle schools across the country for purchasing equipment, improving programs, funding salaries and helping with facility improvements. "Keep Gym in School" is aimed to provide 10 schools with the resources they need to establish quality physical education programs for their students.

Individuals can make nominations now until 8 p.m. March 1. To nominate a school near you, visit www.keepgyminschool.com/nominate-school.aspx.

For more information on this initiative and to see how you or your organization can get involved, visit www.keepgyminschool.com.

Toolkit helps employers promote healthy child weight

University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center Notes

Childhood ObesityThe National Business Group on Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau collaborated on It's Everyone's Business, a toolkit aimed at addressing childhood obesity. Resources target employers and address the effects childhood obesity has on current and future health care costs. The toolkit focuses on helping programs utilize community resources and raise awareness about this issue. To access the toolkit, please visit www.businessgrouphealth.org/benefitstopics/et_chobesity.cfm.

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.

Ring in the new decade with new tips for your daily exercise routine

Lack of time and motivation are often used as reasons not to exercise. In truth, it's not as much about the number of minutes spent exercising, it's about how hard you are working in the minutes you do have. A properly designed fitness program involves getting maximum results in minimum time, rather than spending countless hours where exertion levels are low. This helps keep you motivated.


Here are my tips to help you keep your New Years resolution, eliminate excuses and get more fitness and calorie burning benefit for your buck: 


Out With the Old ...

If you are doing the same activity at the same pace for the same number of minutes, you can't expect a different result. 


In With the New ...

If you enjoy the type of activity but not the results, interval training takes your current cardio workout to the next level by breaking it into pre-determined increments of time, during which you move at different speeds. For example, instead of a 3-mph, 30-minute walk, choose a set number of minutes per interval and continually rotate between a warm-up pace, a moderately winded pace and a fast pace.


If you use a treadmill you can also increase the level of incline at each interval, for a stationary bike, elliptical machine or stair-stepper, you can increase tension. Healthy adults who are accustomed to exercise might start with about 60 to 65 percent of their maximum heart rate for the first interval (an easier warm-up pace), increase to 70 to 80 percent of MHR (brisk walking pace) and finally to as much as 85 to 90 percent of MHR (huffing and puffing pace). The idea is to alternate between levels of intensity throughout the entire workout, reserving the last few minutes as a cool down interval.


To be safe, if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are just beginning an exercise program, check with your doctor before altering your current training method. Once cleared, don't overdo it the first few weeks out. Instead, gradually increase your endurance and stamina over time.


Although not as accurate as some other more complicated formulas, the age-predicted formula is a commonly used method of figuring maximum heart rate. It involves subtracting your age from 220 for males and 226 for females and then deciding at what percentage of that number you wish to exercise. For example, for a 50-year-old male, MHR would be 170 (220 minus age); working at 70 percent of this number would be 119 beats per minute.


Out With the Old ...

If your cardio workouts always involve the same type of activity and you are ready for a change, try this.


In With the New ...

Cross training is a great way to increase calorie burning and spice up your workouts. With this method, you choose between different activities - performed within the same workout or alternated workout to workout. Cross training is an ideal way to alleviate boredom and avoid plateaus in your training because it provides a constant challenge both mentally and physically. An example of a cross-training workout would be to start with 10 minutes of walking, followed by 10 minutes of light jogging, followed by 10 minutes of stair climbing or biking; whatever activities you enjoy can be implemented with this method. 


Other options include alternating between strength training exercise and aerobic exercise within the same workout. Doing a different type of activity each day of the week is an excellent way to increase intensity and prevent boredom. For example, you might walk on Monday, do upper-body weight training on Tuesday, jog on Wednesday, do lower-body weight training on Thursday and take a yoga or Pilates class on Friday. Cross training gives you the opportunity to work all of your major muscle groups, and provides you with a continual well-rounded fitness plan.


Out With the Old ...

If the weight lifting routine that once gave you such great results is no longer working, you've hit a plateau.


In With the New ...

Doing the same exercise machines, reps, sets and weight loads is boring and predictable and bound to cause burnout eventually. Why not work on your endurance, stamina and strength at the same time? On your next weight lifting day, try circuit training.


Circuit training involves choosing eight to 10 strength-training exercises, alternated with a short period of cardio. Add variety to your workout by continually changing the amount of lifted weight and reps from week-to-week or workout-to-workout. By choosing exercises that work more than one muscle group such as squats, lunges, pushups and pull ups, you will make the most of your time and raise significantly calorie burning.  


More tips to maximize your workouts coming up!

If you have medical conditions you should talk with your healthcare provider before you begin an exercise program. Carry identification with you and take along any medications that you may need.


Fitness question responses from the month of January: It's the start of a new decade ... What New Year(s) resolutions have you made to stay healthy and fit?

"I met with three other teachers at my school and planned a school-wide exercise program for our middle school staff. Participants in the program will set a daily exercise goal  (based on the PAL program).  In addition to exercising, participants will also focus on one weekly healthy eating goal.  Finally, we created a "buddy/mentor" component to help stay on track and meet personal fitness goals."
~Lori C.

"I have made a New Year Resolution to break out of my comfort zones. I am exploring new classes yoga, spinning and I am going to do a half-marathon walk."
~Laura M.

"I was in an accident last year and found that Yoga helped in more than one way. My goal is to do yoga everyday ... so far so good!"
~Friederike C.

"I have one resolution this year that covers all areas of my life - professional, physical, spiritual, personal relationships, etc.  And that resolution is to stop procrastinating. Stop saying I'm going to exercise and do it. Stop saying I'm going to stop eating candy and do it ... And the list goes on and on."
~Marlena H.

"Even if I do not have the allotted time to do an exercise regimen due to traveling or long day of work, I take at least 10 to 15 minutes (if even in a hotel room or just before bedtime) to do a bit of jogging in place, leg lifts, push-ups and a few sit ups. I change up the exercise to offer variety and to keep myself interested in the benefit health and exercise."
~Sandra F.

"I have been working diligently to both lose weight and develop a program I can stick with. One thing I have done is move the treadmill to a place where I can see and use it easier. It's in my bedroom, so still out of site to visitors, but I can't 'forget' to do that morning workout. It has been working so far, and I'm not tired of the routine yet."
~Dawn C.

"I received Wii fit for Christmas and have been training for 40 minutes to an hour six days a week. I also walk a mile five to seven days a week and follow Weight Watchers but do not belong to a group. So far I have lost 13lbs."
~Doris W.

"My resolution was to not only continue to keep my body fit but also my mind. No matter how much you work on your body, if your mind is not healthy then your body will not be healthy. Your mind is your world."
~Amy T.

"As Valentine's Day nears, my husband and I decided to give each other something better than candy or flowers. We purchased a new scale and agreed to give each other the gift of better health. Together, we hope to exercise more, cook and eat healthier and support each other as we work toward a healthier lifestyle."
~Peggy R.

"Bicycling to work saves money, provides exercise and ends up taking no more time than driving. When I get home I am always glad that I don't have to go to the gym - I've already completed my hour of exercise for the day."
~Dick R.

We would like to extend a special thanks to all of the President's Challenge Advocates. Please visit the Advocates area on the http://www.presidentschallenge.org/ web site to see how companies, organizations and groups are making a difference with the President's Challenge.




Exploramania is one of the President's Challenge's newest advocates! Located in Tampa, FL, Exploramania was started by Carrie Scheiner as a way to move children's interests away from TV programs and computer games and toward physical activity. Scheiner creates educational exercise videos for youth - her first series being "Exploracise," which combines exercise and education using auditory, visual and kinesthetic senses.


For more information on Exploramania or to check out its various products, visit www.exploramania.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 preschal@indiana.edu.

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 "news/research".

In This Issue
Featured Product of the Month
President's Challenge Booklet
Grant Opportunities
Upcoming Events
Top 10 Activities
PC All-Americans
Special Feature
News and Research
Health and Wellness with Marjie
Fitness Question of the Month
Special Thanks
Spotlight on Advocates

Your It Get Fit