Whether you’re a seasoned parent or a brand new guardian, adults share the same struggles when it comes to getting kids to put away their handheld devices and venture through the great outdoors. Encouraging young children to lead active, healthy lifestyles is more difficult than it should be; that’s why one New Jersey-native began Project ACES in the late 1980s, in order to get kids excited about physical fitness.

On this episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato, show host Steve Adubato, PhD., spoke to Len Saunders, a physical education teacher and the creator of Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously). The discussion focuses on how the project grew into an international day of exercise, and how important physical fitness actually is in our daily lives.

Project ACES, which Saunders founded nearly 30 years ago, is a signature program of the Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc. ACES takes place on the first Wednesday in May every year as part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, along with National Physical Education Week.

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“The basic concept is to get kids exercising around the country and the world [on the first Wednesday of May] at 10 o’clock their local time,” said Saunders. “And it’s a motivating tool to get them to love exercise and to lead healthy lifestyles and just to promote physical activity and physical education.”

Students and schools from all 50 states have joined in what’s considered the “world’s largest exercise class,” and word of the program has even spread around the globe to countries such as Japan, China, Poland and Israel.

“The program has grown significantly, and it’s exciting to see and watch it grow,” Saunders said. “Basically, how I look at it, if there’s a million kids participating, if I could change the life of one child out of the million, the program’s a success.”

Project ACES will celebrate its 30th world’s largest exercise class this year on May 2. To learn more about the program and how it has been shaping children’s lives for nearly three decades, be sure to watch this full episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.

For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.



  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © One on One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation
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