Get A Move On with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Put your best foot forward with activities designed to encourage healthy living habits.

By Dawn Dodson


4 youths setting a volleyball

Observed each May, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is an initiative to encourage and inspire people of all ages to pursue physical fitness as one component of a healthy lifestyle. The 2012 theme is “Let’s Move in School”, which is focused on raising the awareness of students’ physical fitness and activity level to sixty minutes a day. Involving your class in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month can include more than joining the nation-wide President’s Challenge; it can also pay tribute to those who have contributed to healthy living awareness and legendary athletic achievements.

Participate in the President’s Challenge

The President’s Challenge is a nation-wide program that awards children and adults alike for meeting specific fitness standards. There are various challenges available for enrollment, including the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, which is a six-week challenge that combines nutrition and exercise programs. Those who enroll and engage in the various physical activities for the specified time durations and repetitions can earn various awards. Individuals, groups, and schools can sign-up for participation at the President’s Challenge website. The website offers advice, motivation, and additional program information about the 2012 “Let’s Move in School” theme.

Classroom-to-Community Connection

In addition to the President’s Challenge, schools can also become involved in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month by creating a week-long fitness and nutrition-focused learning experience. The week begins with health awareness lessons and activities that lead up to a school-wide 5K run/walk, or a traditional walk-a-thon. The main objective is for America's youth to gain a better awareness of healthy living. Items to consider when planning such an event include:

  • Plan a week of fitness and nutrition-related lessons leading up to the 5K/10K event. Each content area can focus on a different facet of healthy living and awareness. A content area integration assignment/project can help connect concepts as well as practice learning skills. For example, researching and formulating a nutrition and exercise program for fellow classmates, or creating healthy lunch menu items for the school cafeteria.
  • Conduct a health fair that invites several businesses and community organizations to set-up informational booths to provide information and products to support a healthy lifestyle.
  • Invite a motivational speaker to inspire healthy living. They can also offer ideas as to how to begin/continue a healthy lifestyle in order to reach personal goals. Your class/school can create a program to chart goals as a result of the presentation.
  • End your National Physical Fitness and Sports Month by planning and participating in a school-wide 5K race. Involve your community by including local business advertisements for donations and invite the community to participate. Invite your local newspaper to cover the event.
  • Use local business donations to create tee-shirts to commemorate your schools’ involvement and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, you can have a contest to create the shirt design.

Honor A Legend

Perhaps one of the most legendary sports figures is none other than the “Buckeye Bullet”, Jesse Owens. Being a native Ohioan, my students are familiar with the legend’s athletic feats, but few actually comprehend the magnitude of Owens’ achievements outside of track and field. Researching, honoring, and celebrating Jesse Owens’ life is another way to inspire your kids to make healthy choices in all areas of life. From Power Point presentations, to murals, your class can learn about and honor a true hero.

If you decide to participate in the President’s Challenge, plan a school-wide observance, or plan activities in your own classroom, there are many ways to encourage and motivate young pupils to begin and maintain a healthy lifestyle during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

More Lesson Ideas:

Idiom Quizzes

This online worksheet quizzes learners over their knowledge of idioms. The quiz items are sports themed, and can help keep content flow consistent through National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

Sports Heroes and Private Actions for the Common Good

Your class will learn about philanthropy and how it can positively affect communities. Then, they will research philanthropic athletes and the programs/organizations they created. Through class and small group dialogue, your kids will also learn how they can also positively contribute to communities. 

The Sporting Life

Write essays and create exhibits of legendary athletes that showcase their achievements. Your class will also learn about the National Sports Museum and the attributes that earn an athlete’s entrance into the museum.

Invent a Sport

This can be utilized as a culminating project of an assessment piece for a sports study. After learners study various sports, they create a sport of their own.

Language Arts Guide

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Dawn Dodson