Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest Teacher Toolkit is the guide for getting your students healthy and active. Toolkit was compiled by Aimee Snyder, MPH, as part of a Master’s of Public Health internship project with Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Toolkit has tips on getting your students to run correctly, eating healthy, staying healthy, exercising daily, being safe, and more. The toolkit is split into three different levels, the Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal levels.
Bronze Medal level is the most basic, can be utilized by anyone. It is about getting outside and completing 25.2 miles before the Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest. Then when you or your students are at the fest you will complete the final mile of marathon. There are also different fitness plans in this section to get you or your students active. Next there is the Silver Medal level, which has tips on preventing skin cancer, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes. This section also has information on grants available for teachers. The last level is the Gold Medal level, which is split into two types. The first types of information in this level are short activity breaks that can be used in the classroom to get the students blood pumping during the school day. The second type is the Empower Me 4 Life. The Empower Me 4 Life has lessons on physical activity, hydration, and healthful eating. There is one for 3-7 graders and one for 8-12 graders.
Physical activity offers many benefits to children: promoting weight control, heart and lung health, bone density, self-esteem, and academic performance. It is recommended that children achieve 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity and reduce screen time to less than two hours a day. A recent survey of US children suggested fewer than 40% of children meet these standards.
The Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest is a partnership of the University of Arizona (Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition and the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion) and the Tucson Marathon Group. The event consists of a 1-mile fun run and a 5k race with a family focused health and education EXPO on the University of Arizona campus.
The goal of the internship was to increase youth participation in the event through school-based promotion. Outcomes included the development of a standardized compilation of existing evidence-based activity and health resources teachers could use to promote physical activity in preparation for participating in the event, development of media, and development of a school-based marketing plan. An online survey of teacher evaluation of race day activities was conducted.
Youth participation in the 2012 event increased by 39% and overall participation increased by 52% over 2011 participation. The standardized activity toolkit was used by 3 teachers and evaluated to be “somewhat effective” in increasing physical activity in schools and promoting the participation in the event.
Utilizing existing resources and communication structures through like-minded organizations maximized the reach of our program, exposing more children, and their families, to an enjoyable physical activity opportunity.
How to Get Started
Below are some steps to get healthy with the fitness fest and a basic overview of the toolkit. First you should start with the Bronze Medal level and register for the Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest. Then move onto the Silver and Gold Medal levels.
How to Get Healthy with the
Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest
- Start a team:
- Start a team for you school for University of Arizona and Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest, Saturday, December 6.
- Commit to participate in a 1 mile fun run or 5k walk/run on the University of Arizona mall by REGISTERING HERE! Or download this form to mail in entries.
- Rally staff, students, families, and community members from your school to join in.
- If you have 10 or more interested participants from your school, contact to find out more about how to gain free entries for your school!
- Begin your training, Lead by example
- Determine your goals: Complete a 1 mile or 5k run/walk, Drink 8 cups of water a day, Sleep 8 hours a night, Eat vegetables with each meal…. It is up to you!
- Make a plan: Set up specific days and times to exercise. Make it a habit.
- Utilize the Buddy System
- Join forces with your team. Plan days to exercise together. Share successes and encourage health choices for others.
- Use the TEACHER TOOLKIT to help you excite your team and train together!
- Incorporate Physical Activity into School/Work
- Make a ¼ mile (400 meter) or ½ mile (800 meter) loop at your school. It can be in your gym, lunchroom, around a field, the parking lot, etc.
- Challenge students, staff, families to take a 15 minute activity break to walk or run the loop 3-5 days a week to track their way to completing a marathon (26.2 miles) with the Tucson Marathon Challenge Mileage Tracking Cards.
- Check out some of these running activities you can share with your school as well as these for how to better your stretching, strength, form, and pacing.
- Brain breaks in the classroom increases oxygen flow to the brain and improves focus and retention for classwork.
ABC for Fitness Teacher Manual, NC Healthy Schools Energizers
- Empowerment Me 4 Life
- Grades 4-7: Implement the Empower Me 4 Life curriculum to provide a booster shot to your training. With proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration, your body can take you new places. This curriculum could be facilitated by a student group under your guidance, or by yourself.
- Grades 8+: Implement the Jump Start for Teens curriculum for advance middle schoolers or high schoolers. This 8-lesson curriculum teaches students the basics of healthy eating and activity, how to evaluate health messages, and use their influence to make healthy changes.
- Show off your hard work!
- Identify your team with a team theme or matching T-shirts!
- Be loud and proud while you participate in the 1 mile or 5k run/walk.
Download the Full Toolkit Here: