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backtotopFitness is Fun! March 2010

Greetings from the office of the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program! You have received the March 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 March: As spring approaches, what outdoor activities are you looking forward to the most?

Please respond via E-mail to the President's Challenge at preschal@indiana.edu. We'll include the most insightful responses in the April issue of Fitness is Fun. Be sure to view the responses to the February 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:
apps for healthy kids.jpg

USDA Launches Apps for Healthy Kids Competition

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has joined First Lady Michelle Obama in announcing the innovative Apps for Healthy Kids competition as part of the Let's Move! initiative. Apps for Healthy Kids challenges software developers, game designers, students, and other innovators to develop innovative, fun, and engaging tools and games that help kids and their parents to eat better and be more physically active.

Apps for Healthy Kids competition entries will leverage the recently-released MyPyramid 1,000 food database to create web or mobile-based apps in two categories. The first set of prizes will be awarded to digital games that best engage and motivate kids to eat healthy and be physically active. The second set of prizes will be awarded to the most creative tools for parents striving to make the right choices for their kids. When parents are planning meals, at the grocery store, or picking up dinner on the way home from work, they can instantly access easy-to-understand nutritional information they can trust.   Contestants will compete for $40,000 in prizes and be judged by an all-star panel.

For more information and complete rules visit www.appsforhealthykids.com.

PresidentsChallengeNEWSPresident's Challenge NEWS:

Start a Group and Challenge your Friends

As part of the President's Challenge anyone can start a group.  It's a great way to motivate you and your friends, co-workers, family members, or anyone interested in a friendly challenge to be more physically active.


It's easy to do.  Simply visit the group section of our website to see how you can set up the group and become an administrator.  Once you go through the registration process you will be sent an email with all of the pertinent information, including a group number, in order to invite others to join your group.  Have fun comparing yourselves within the group, it is a great way to stay motivated. 


Research suggests that being active with others will make you more likely to continue over time.  So start a group today and make activity part of every day!

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Featured Product of the Month

This month we highlight the President's Challenge Fitness Testing Scorecard.

The Scorecard is a great way for teachers, or anyone administering the youth physical fitness test, to quickly and easily write down scores.  Each notepad has 50 sheets to record scores and write comments.  Take the sheets back to the office and record them on software or hand them to the students.  They make recording scores easy.

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


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HOPSports and the Pepsi Refresh Project

Do you have a refreshing idea?

To receive a Refresh Grant you must think of an idea that has a positive impact on a community, is achievable and ready to start soon and has measurable results.


Grants are given based on the idea that gets the greatest number of votes. Each month, Pepsi donates up to $1.3 million to projects that generate the most of online votes.
Pepis Refresh Project.jpg

  • $5K to up to 10 awardees a month: best for individuals who need to get an inspired idea off the ground
  • $25K to up to 10 awardees a month: best for individuals & small groups who can work lean and mean
  • $50K to up to 10 awardees a month: best for companies & organizations who can put time into it
  • $250K to up to 2 awardees a month: best for organizations who can dedicate a lot of time & resources

For more information and criteria on the Pepsi Refresh Project, visit www.refresheverything.com.

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

Upcoming Activities

The Sunchaser Challenge

WHERE: Saranac Lake, NY; Lake Geneva, WI; Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Lake Tahoe, Calif.
WHEN: May 22, 2010
WEBSITE: www.sunchaserchallenge.com

The Sunchaser Challenge is partnering with the President'sSunchaser Challenge.jpgChallenge 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 regime and improve fitness levels using the President's Challenge free online Activity Log.


Denver National Get Outdoors Day Event

WHERE: Denver City Park in Denver, Co.
WHEN: June 12, 2010
WEBSITE: www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org
National Get Out Doors Day.jpg

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.

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

Swimming is locomotion in the water by self-propulsion with the goal of distance, speed or endurance and is widely considered the best aerobic exercise in the world. It is the aquatic sport distinguished from other water sports, such as diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. There are four main strokes, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. Competitive swimming began in Europe in 1800 and has been a part of the summer Olympic games since 1896.  For great resources on swimming visit the USA Swimming website at www.usaswimming.org.

Continue on 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!

Steven Stahl, a former personal trainer and now physical education teacher, has utilized several activities involving the President's Challenge to promote fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Here is his story!Lloyd

Stahl has been running competitively for 25 years, something that keeps him motivated to stay active. He says that it's the energizing feeling that makes it all worthwhile, which is a point he "preaches" to his students.

"I preach to my students that energy breeds energy, in other words take that first step and the rest is easy," he said. "I encourage them to pick activities that will be fun for them in an effort to sustain these for a lifetime."

Running isn't the only thing that is keeping Stahl in tune with fitness. He has been using the President's Challenge (PC) for about 18 years - throughout his training and teaching.

"I think it is very well-rounded and utilizes many aspects of fitness, coordination and healthy habits," Stahl said.

How does Stahl incorporate the PC into his lesson plans? One way is his use of a portfolio assignment that incorporates the program and the components of fitness.

Contents include title pages, one page for each component of fitness (cardio endurance, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, and composition) and one page about his/her role model. All pages include pictures, writing and visuals of the various components to tell a story about his/her fitness.

In addition, students keep log sheets and set goals to go along with exercises within the PC fitness test, all of which are done three to four times a year.

Stahl's dedication to fitness shows through his use of the President's Challenge in his teaching and personal life. His hopes are set high and his plans for future activities are already under way - starting with his idea of a "family PC challenge".

"I am truly committed to P.E., health and lifelong fitness," he said. "It is very rewarding and very inspiring to both my students and myself."

Have an inspiring story? E-mail yours to preschal@indiana.edu!
HealthandWellnessSpecial Feature:

This month Fitness is Fun features ScubaFit, a physical fitness program for Scuba Divers developed by Gretchen Ashton.

Ashton is a PADI advanced diver, personal trainer, fitness therapist, biomechanic strength trainer and a World Champion Hall-of-Fame athlete, among other things.

The ScubaFit Pushup.jpgprogram was presented as the first dive industry physical fitness module for a diver certification course for the Los Angeles County Scuba Advanced Diver Program in June 2009. In addition, Ashton presented the program to several dive clubs in her area and seminars and was published in Alert Diver Magazine.

Her research indicates that based on medical conditions reported by divers, heart disease and cardiovascular illness are followed by high blood pressure as the most common medical conditions in the scuba diving community. Then in order of prevalence follow obesity, diabetes, smoking, asthma and allergies.

"My goal is get scuba divers of all fitness levels exercising," Ashton said in an e-mail.

For more information on ScubaFit, visit www.scubafit.com.

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:

Childhood obesity a rising issue

The Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, recently completed a study that suggests that excess body fat can have far reaching results to children as young as 7 years old - while considering chances of developing cardiovascular disease. This finding proves the need for a more aggressive approach toward childhood obesity, which can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. For more information on this study visit here.

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.

Beneficial Ways to Build your Cardio


Walking is the most popular weight-loss activity and for good reason. It requires no expenses or equipment, and it can be done anywhere and is one of the safest and easiest ways to burn extra calories. Walking is also an ideal way to relieve stress and one of the best ways to get into the habit of exercising if you aren't already doing so.


By the Numbers:  A 150-pound person walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes burns an average of 150 calories and if performed daily without increasing caloric intake, can expect to lose 12 pounds in a year.


Walking Tips:

  • Pump your arms while they are bent to about 90 degrees (a right angle), to burn an additional 5 to 10 percent more calories with each step.
  • To avoid hitting a plateau, take a different route periodically - add hills or up your minutes, speed or frequency.
  • Using ankle or wrist weights to boost weight loss when walking isn't advised as this can alter normal movement patterns and gait, increasing risk of injury. Any added weight should be evenly distributed and positioned close to the body. This can be accomplished by wearing a weighted vest designed specifically for this purpose or by simply placing small weights in each jacket pocket. Better ways to use wrist and ankle weights include exercises such as leg and arm lifts and to increase dumbbell or machine weight loads when performing certain exercises. 


The elliptical trainer is easier on the joints than many other types of cardio equipment because it is a non-impact activity. Both walking and the elliptical are examples of weight-bearing activities, which help to build bone density and fight osteoporosis. Elliptical trainers allow for movement of both legs and arms in a motion similar to cross-country skiing.


By the Numbers: A 150-pound person can expect to burn about 300 calories per half hour if exercising at a moderately winded pace. One advantage of using an elliptical trainer is that it can be pedaled both forward and backward, allowing you to use different muscles. 


Elliptical Trainer Tip:

  • Avoid slouching when pedaling. Instead, keep an upright posture with shoulders back and head up. 


Stair climbing is a great exercise if your goal is to firm, strengthen and tone the hips, buns and thighs. For nearly twice the calorie burn, take steps two at a time instead of single steps. Your current state of health and level of fitness should dictate speed of movement when using stair climbing as a cardio workout. If this is a new activity for you, pace yourself initially to avoid overtraining, and if you have joint problems, check with your doctor beforehand for guidelines. 


If you are accustomed to exercise, you can try running up and down at an almost huffing-and-puffing pace. A moderately winded, somewhat out of breath pace can provide excellent cardiovascular benefits, calorie burning and strengthening too, however. To stay motivated and challenged, you can also up the intensity by simply increasing the number or flights of stairs you can climb.


Stair Climbing Tip:

  • When ascending, focus on pushing body weight through the heel of the front foot with each step. This will help lessen stress on the knees, as well as working the glutes to a greater degree.


The treadmill. One of the best ways to make your workout more challenging is to increase the level of incline. The greater the degree of gravity your body must work against, the greater the calorie burn and the stronger and more toned the legs will become. Don't make the mistake of increasing the incline drastically as this can bring about shin splints and other problems. Instead, take it up gradually a bit at a time to give your body a fair chance to adjust.


Treadmill Tip:

  • Unless there is a good reason for doing so, such as issues with balance, try not to hold on to rails when using the treadmill.


For weight loss goals, an hour or more of physical activity most days of the week is recommended, as is 10,000 steps daily. This includes all activity, whether formal exercise or not. To give you an idea, four 15-minute walks would equate to about 8,000 steps. Combining this with other steps taken throughout the day typically contributes the remaining 2,000 steps. If you are unable to walk for extended periods of time, you can begin building strength and burn just as many calories by breaking your walk into several 10- or 15-minute segments instead of longer sessions.


Check back next month for more tips from Marjie!

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 February: What kinds of activities and exercises do you enjoy doing the most in pairs or in groups?

"Every Wednesday morning, I play tennis with a group of senior friends (ages 59-79). ... Everyone enjoys enormously the competitive aspect of our doubles game and the companionship. After we play, we have brunch and reminisce on our better tennis days."
~Dominique N.

"Although I enjoy my solo Tai Chi practice, the energy of playing with a group makes it even better. After warm-ups, I like to start my classes with a section of the form done in unison. This helps us to be more in tune with our fellow students, teaches us to maintain a consistent pace and allows us to relax into Tai Chi mode before starting work on the form."
~Julie-Anne F.

"Relay races! The children here love relay races of all kinds. They laugh and don't even concentrate on who won the race but just the fun of doing it ... together! Fun is back in fitness!"
~Janette K.

"Taekwondo is our family sport - great for both body and mind."
~Donna D.

"I do much better with all exercises when I am in a formal group or go with someone. When one of us is 'not in the mood,' it helps to have the other to nudge us along. For me, that includes water aerobics with my sister and going to the fitness center with my spouse."
~Marge F.

"The activity I enjoy doing most in pairs is running. It helps to keep the pace at a comfortable level. Time goes by so much faster when you are conversing with another person and get your mind off of the pain or discomfort of good aerobic exercise."
~Sheelah K.

"Geocaching is a great game-like activity that can involve all types of exercise, such as snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, walking, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, boating and bicycling. It is a sport that utilizes a GPS to find hidden 'treasures' in the woods and in the urban environment.  It is a great way to learn about an area and the outdoors."
~Victoria N.

"Zumba! I love Zumba - great rhythm, easy, great music, fun, and it keeps me moving for the whole class."
~Rachelle L.

"To me the best group fitness activity is Jazzercise. I have been involved with Jazzercise for more than 30 years!"
~Becky M.

"Been running with a group of ladies (~50) every Saturday for the past four years.  We set goals of running/walking in local half marathons. Great bonding with wonderful and encouraging ladies."
~Carol M.

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.


The Guard Fit Challenge


The Guard Fit Guard Challenge.jpgChallenge is a fitness program linked with the National Guard. The Challenge is here to help people get in shape, stay in shape and shake up their regular workout routine. It incorporates nutrition tips, video demonstrations and interactive tools to help direct your fitness program and measure your improvements. The program also has a classroom component that physical educations teachers, athletic directors and coaches can request. In addition, at an educator's request, an Army National Guard representative will come and present the Guard Fit Challenge during class or a team practice.   

For more information on Guard Fit or to find out how to get involved, visit www.guardfitchallenge.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
President's Challenge NEWS
Featured Product of the Month
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