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backtotopFitness is Fun!May 2010

Greetings from the office of the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program! You have received the May 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 May: Healthy living is as important as staying active, so what kinds of healthy lifestyle choices do you incorporate into your daily routine? 

Please respond via e-mail to the President's Challenge at preschal@indiana.edu. We'll include the most insightful responses in the June issue of Fitness is Fun. Be sure to view the responses to the April 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:

"Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation"

Lets MovePresident Obama's Interagency Childhood Obesity Task Force recently launched a new action plan, "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within A Generation". The report provides a "road map" to solving the epidemic of childhood obesity in current and future generations.

Obama's task force is setting measureable goals, benchmarks and outcomes to help tackle the challenge. They hope to make use of every resource to ensure every child with a healthy future.

The action plan includes:

  • Create a healthy start on life for our children, from pregnancy through earlychildhood.
  • Empower parents and caregivers to make healthy choices for their families.
  • Serve healthier food in schools.
  • Ensure access to healthy, affordable food.


To see the full report, visit www.letsmove.gov/taskforce_childhoodobesityrpt.html.

PresidentsChallengeNEWSPresident's Challenge NEWS:

HHS Secretary honors President's Challenge school during visit

During a visit to Indiana on SebeliusMay 14, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius honored Templeton Elementary in Bloomington as a PCPFS Demonstration Center.  Students at the school showed their ability to take the President's Challenge physical fitness test and also wowed everyone with a jump rope demonstration.


After the demonstration a round table discussion with parents and community leaders was held in the library of the school.  Sebelius shared information about the First Lady's Let's Move campaign and the recent release of the obesity task force report.  A certificate and flag were presented to the school to recognize its achievement.


The PCPFS Demonstration Center is a school recognition program offered through the President's Challenge.  Demonstration Centers serve as role models for other schools and the community by emphasizing a healthy school environment.  To see how your school, or a school in your area, can become a Demonstration Center, visit our School Recognition page.

Featured Product of the Month

This month we highlight the
tshirtPresidential Physical Fitness Award T-Shirt.

This classic t-shirt recognizes your students or child for achieving the highest level.  The Presidential Award has been recognizing outstanding levels of fitness for many years and you can wear it with pride.  T-Shirts are also available for the National and Participant levels so everyone can be recognized.

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


PEP Grants Open until May 21

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to LEAs and community-based organizations (CBOs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards.

For more information visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/whitephysed/index.html.

PCPFSUpcoming Events:

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.


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 included this 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

Aerobics ...

Aerobics is a combination of aerobic exercises, stretching and strength training. Aerobic exercises can be anything from stair climbing to swimming or jumping rope. Through aerobics, one improves flexibility, muscle strength and cardiovascular health. Most Aerobic classes are done to various types of music with a group. It is also easy to perform aerobics at different levels of intensity and levels. Dr. Kenneth Cooper, dubbed the "Father of Aerobics," conducted studies in the 1960s that moved aerobic exercises into mainstream America and helped get more people moving. For great resources on aerobics and aerobic exercises visit the Aerobic Website at www.aerobic.org.

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


Recognizing schools dedicated to improving the health of students through active physical education classes and by creating a school environment that can help to foster a lifetime of physical activity.


Pascagoula School District

PascagoulaColmer Middle School is located in Pascagoula, MS in the south eastern corner of the state along the Gulf Coast.  Colmer's Physical Education Department was recognized as a Demonstration Center for efforts to increase physical activity and the fitness of its students by offering more P.E. on a daily basis and expanding the amount and type of activities to which students are introduced, such as lifetime sports like bowling) and non-traditional activities such as disc golf. In addition, classes participate in different events, such as NFL Punt, Pass,  & Kick and the NBA Fit Challenge.

You can be recognized, too! Keep striving to bring more physical fitness and exercise into your school's daily routine.

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

Pristeen Hamilton is the Co-Owner of Feel Great Nutrition Club & Wellness Center in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Since November 2009, Pristeen and his colleagues (co-owner, Ray, Nakisha Joseph, and Carol Morris) have held weight loss challenges targeting various age groups. 

PristeenAlong with his colleagues, Pristeen encourages participants to improve their lifestyles by making better food choices and increasing their physical activity and they've seen results. Through these challenges came the "Virgin Islands Walking Club Association, Inc." in which participants engage in exercise programs like walking and aerobics, to help them lose weight and keep it off while in a safe and supportive environment.


Pristeen also participated in a pilot program that he organized at St. Joseph school in St. Croix called "The Nutrition Rite of Passage Program." He was inspired by old high school friends to do the 12-week program with five students and one parent. Pristeen believes that innovative programs like this would help to prevent many of the health issues plaguing our young people today.


Q&A with Pristeen

What keeps you motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle? 

"I stay motivated to continue on in a healthy lifestyle through exercise and healthy lifestyle choices by simply practicing what I preach. You must lead by example but most of all you must have patience, love and understanding when trying to change someone's attitude with regards to healthy food choices and proper exercise."


As a new user of The President's Challenge (PC), what do you find makes the PC an effective and motivating program for you?

"The President's Challenge is an effective tool and motivating program because we can keep track of our activities through the logged activities tab, see where we stand with other groups all over the United States, but most of all the rewards that you can acquire when you have achieve certain points or stars."


Pristeen sums up a lot of what he believes with a quote he tells every new participant: Trying new things can sometimes be scary but you must not be afraid to try. I love myself to want to change my life through good nutrition and proper exercise but most of all to share this gift of knowledge with someone else.


"I truly believe that the President's Challenge has done this for all of us," he said.


Have an inspiring story? E-mail yours or nominate another to preschal@indiana.edu!

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.

Month of May Q&A With  Marjie

Q:  I am finally ready to start an exercise program but I need a workout that doesn't take a lot of time and will still give me decent results. Any recommendations?

A:  Your best bet would be to do compound exercises - those that use more than one joint during the movement. Common examples include push-ups, which work the chest, shoulders and triceps, and pull-ups, which work the back, shoulders and biceps. Squats and lunges work the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings and the shoulder press strengthens the front, side and rear deltoid muscles as well as the triceps.


Because compound movements work more than one muscle group at the same time, they not only lessen the duration of the workout, but also burn significantly more calories than isolation exercises.  Isolation exercises are those that use only one joint in the movement, such as a bicep curl, leg extension or dumbbell lateral raise. Other important tips:

  • Don't trap yourself into a 'three sets of 10 reps' workout plan. Although there is nothing wrong with counting reps, this should be secondary to how hard you are working. Simply put, for greatest results it is necessary to put forth maximum effort, which means stopping the set only when you have reached full muscle fatigue. Depending on the exercise, this may end up being more, or less, than 10 reps. For even greater time savings and calorie burning, instead of taking a break before doing the second set, do your workout in 'circuit training' fashion. Circuit training involves performing 1 set of each exercise with no rest between sets and then immediately into short duration cardio such as jumping jacks or marching in place, and then going back for a second or even third round, depending on how many minutes you have. To estimate workout time, with proper intensity it typically takes one minute or less per set, so if you were doing push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and shoulder press with 3 minutes of cardio between, you're looking at about 8 minutes per circuit.
  • With any fitness plan it is important that you be healthy enough to safely perform the exercises, so it's always in your best interest to check with your doctor before beginning a program if you are currently overweight, or if you have any medical conditions or joint problems.


Q:  I've been running for years but lately have been having pain along the heels and soles of my feet. I've never experienced anything like this before and don't want to give up the running if I don't have to. Any ideas?


A:  Foot or heel pain can be caused by a number of issues, but the most common is Plantar Fasciitis.  Plantar refers to the foot, and fasciitis is an inflammation of the fascia, a long, flat ligament that attaches to the outside of the heel bone. A type of bone growth known as heel spurs is another condition that can cause discomfort.


Both conditions develop gradually and pain might be described as either a dull ache or sharp feeling and can be duplicated by flexing the toes upwards. Symptoms include heel pain that occurs with the first steps after long periods of sitting, or first thing in the morning after getting out of bed.


An estimated 5 to 10 percent of athletic and exercise injuries are related to fascia inflammation. Incidence of plantar problems increases among those who are overweight, weekend warriors who go full steam into exercise after a long layoff, athletes who consistently overtrain, or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. A recent study found that over half of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis are on their feet the

majority of the day.


Resting the plantar fascia ligament usually helps with inflammation and heel pain but the root cause must be  determined and addressed to produce long-term relief. People who force themselves to work through the pain typically develop secondary issues, including changes in gait from unnatural movement patterns and strength and flexibility imbalances.


To help avoid foot problems:

  • Invest in a good pair of shoes, ones that have sufficient arch support and cushioning and that are designed for your activity.
  • Don't overtrain! Overuse is just as unhealthy for the body as underuse, both leave you in a weakened state. When engaging in a new activity, allow for a gradual increase in strength and endurance.  If you are an avid exerciser, remember to change your routine from time to time and take adequate rest breaks between workouts.
  • Avoid sudden increases in weight, extended running or walking up steep hills.
  • Treatment for foot problems usually includes decreasing activity, gentle stretching, massage, icing the heel, weight loss, taking anti-inflammatory medicines and wearing proper footwear.

Check back next month for more tips from Marjie!



Fitness question responses from the month of April: What kinds of activities do you do to switch up your basic exercise routine?

"To switch up, when we open our pool in May, my husband and I swim every evening when we get in from work before we fix dinner. We love that form of fitness the most, it's so much fun with no effort."

~Joy H.


"(To switch it up I) take the dog for a jog, walk briskly once around the neighborhood before and after work, exercise the mind with a good book or challenging game, and jog up and down the flights of stairs. Mixing up the basic exercise routines each week is also awesome!"

~Diane S.


"Activities that I switch up from my basic exercise routine (include) Zumba training, Latin dance, hiking and walking. At home I jump on the trampoline and do lower-body blast."

~Norma D.


"I like to switch up my basic walking and weight training regimen by cross training with hula-hooping, aerobics, swimming and interval training. It helps to add variety and fun to my workouts. I have seen positive results using this fitness strategy."

~Karin L.


"I really enjoy hiking in groups. The camaraderie and support is great, plus if there are problems, there are people you know there able to help.  I also enjoy fishing, swimming and other group activities."

~Susan G.


"My weekly routine consists of weight training, yoga and plyometrics. To avoid a plateau in my exercise or boredom, I switch some days with outdoor activities like fishing or simply jogging. ... You have to eventually switch up your routine in order to avoid a plateau. This is important to create muscle development and endurance."

~Ulyses T.


"The most fun is Wii dancing. I picked up a couple of video games that involve dancing, and I have a blast while at the same time get exercise."

~Suzanne B.


"I like to do a different type of exercise each day of the week. Most days I take a class of some kind, with usually one day off each week when I don't attend any exercise classes. I like to mix up the times of day, so my workouts are not always at the same time."

~Leslie L.


"I try to alternate days where I go running, with days that I exercise to a video with weights and aerobics. Many of these videos also use an aerobic step. I follow-up with stretching."

~Kimberly G.


"I have started surfing again twice a week and occasionally paddle boarding (which is a lot easier at my age to catch waves). I try to work out three times a week, it seems the older I get the harder it is."

~Eric T.


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


Karate Kid Fitness

GAMEHost a Karate Kid Fitness Event at your school or after-school program.


Sony Pictures' "Get Your G.A.M.E. (Get Active, Move and Exercise) On" is a fun-filled fitness program designed to encourage kids to be active 60 minutes a day.  Developed in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), "Get Your G.A.M.E. On" kicks off with an hour-long circuit training program designed for either ages 6-11 or 12-14 that any fitness instructor can easily teach in a gym, on a playground or playing field.  All lesson plans and activities meet the NASPE National Standards for Physical Education.  While the fitness program is tied to the upcoming movie The Karate Kid, there are no martial arts components to the fitness program.


The fitness and fun continue!  All participants receive take home materials that include a physical activity log and ideas on how to keep physically active.  Starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, The Karate Kid opens at movie theaters on June 11, 2010.  For more information about the fitness program and to download the lesson plans, go to www.getyourgame-on.org.


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
Health and Wellness with Marjie
Fitness Question of the Month
Special Thanks
Spotlight on Advocates

Your It Get Fit