Improving physical fitness and athletic abilities of children


Basic Concepts

The physical strength and athletic ability of children are continually declining around the world due to the advancement of the information society. This decline in children’s physical strength may not only affect the future health of the next generation but also impact the vitality of society as a whole by leading to an increase in medical expenses. Efforts are desired at all levels of society, including educational institutions and families, to address this issue.

In Japan, the decline in children’s physical strength and athletic ability is believed to be due to the following factors: 1) a decrease in accessible and safe outdoor areas where children can play safely whenever they want; 2) the underdevelopment of basic athletic skills that should be acquired during childhood; and 3) children’s reluctance or lack of confidence in sports. Mizuno puts effort into developing and offering an exercise program that aims to help children improve their athletic ability and physical strength.

The development of Mizuno’s exercise program "Hexathlon"

Mizuno has developed "Hexathlon," a program combining playful exercise menus that allow even children who are not good at sports to enjoy learning basic athletic movements, with an athletic ability measurement test. In collaboration with municipalities across Japan, Mizuno provides the program to various facilities, including elementary schools. "Hexathlon" is designed using Mizuno’s original equipment, which takes into consideration safety and functionality, and allows children to acquire the basic actions of "running," "jumping," and "throwing," tailored to their individual abilities. By offering the location, program, and services as a package, it has become possible to connect children’s enjoyment with the steady improvement of their physical strength and athletic abilities.

The development of Mizuno’s exercise program: Other

Improving children’s physical fitness and athletic abilities requires them to become accustomed to physical activity from a young age and overcome any reluctance or lack of confidence in sports.

Mizuno’s experienced staff, rich in sports knowledge, act as instructors and conduct programs such as "Mizuno Sports School" and "Sports Day Victory School" in various locations. These programs are designed to overcome basic movements that should be learned in early childhood through short, concentrated efforts, and by letting children experience the joy of exercise, aim to increase the number of children who enjoy physical activity.

For children who struggle with sports, Mizuno started the "Overcoming Weakness Classroom Series" in the fiscal year 2022, including classes for overcoming challenges with jumping boxes, mats, and horizontal bars, along with a Mizuno rope-jumping class. The focus of the rope-jumping class is not necessarily on "jumping well," but rather on creating a love for "enjoying jumping," with the initiative centered around playful exercise.

Additionally, Mizuno offers a playful exercise program called "PLAY! CIRCUS" for children aged 3 to 5 and their parents. "PLAY! CIRCUS" is a 60-minute program set in the world of the circus where the children become members of the circus troupe and enjoy activities with the ringmaster and clowns, incorporating movements that are appropriate for their age group.

Performance of Mizuno’s programs for improving the athletic ability and physical strength of children

Name of Session Outline FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022
A program that combines fun learning menus for basic sports movements with athletic ability assessment (* The numbers are for domestic use only.)
No.of Schools Introduced 8 9 7 8
No. of Times Held 150 17 13 13
No. of Participants 5,656 1,446 631 661
Mizuno Ninja School (Starting in the fiscal year 2021, the "Aim for the Stealthy Pokémon Greninja!" program is also being implemented.)
A story-based playful exercise program modeled after ninja training, incorporating 36 basic movements necessary for childhood growth, such as "running," "jumping," and "throwing."
No. of Times Held 144 63 24 54
No. of Participants 4,289 789
(in total)
(in total)
(in total)
Mizuno Sports School
A program for children who struggle with physical activities, incorporating exercises such as mat exercises, horizontal bars, and vaulting boxes.
No. of Times Held 985 182 60 45
No. of Participants 8,093 1,760 1,018 455
Sports Day Victory School
A hands-on lesson program aimed at winning first prize in relay races and sprints at sports festivals.
No. of Times Held 26 7 8 5
No. of Participants 380 98 259 215
Overcoming Weakness Class -Jump Rope
A program for children who struggle with jump rope, aimed at enabling them to jump even once and helping them to enjoy jump roping.
No. of Times Held 62
No. of Participants 879

* Since FY 2020, only a limited number of events for all these exercise programs have been held in consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.



image:Mizuno Ninja School

Mizuno Ninja School

image:Mizuno Sports School

Mizuno Sports School

image:Sports Day Victory School

Sports Day Victory School




Project aimed at promoting Mizuno Hexathlon Exercise Program in Vietnam

Mizuno has been putting effort into promoting its Mizuno Hexathlon Exercise Program in Vietnam since 2015. In Vietnam, not much time was given to physical education during the country’s compulsory school years compared to developed countries. In addition, the country lacked variety in its exercise programs and thereby required giving more consideration to how such basic moves as running, jumping, and throwing things could be better incorporated.

In September 2018, Mizuno concluded an agreement with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, saying that the ministry would incorporate Mizuno Hexathlon exercise program into its new curriculum guideline, and Mizuno provided 1,000 Vietnamese elementary schools with its sports equipment.

In addition, in October of the same year, Mizuno and the ministry officially concluded a memorandum of cooperation on introducing Mizuno Hexathlon exercise program into the country and ensuring that performing the Hexathlon becomes a regular practice. The memorandum of cooperation laid the foundations needed to construct models across Vietnam of how Mizuno Hexathlon exercise program could be introduced into the country’s new educational curriculum guidelines and be developed into a regular practice. Subsequently, in December, Mizuno began promoting the introduction of its Hexathlon exercise program in all 63 provinces of Vietnam.

Mizuno also offers workshops designed to help elementary school teachers become Hexathlon instructors and has so far welcomed about 1,700 teachers as participants, who currently teach many students at their elementary schools how to perform the Mizuno Hexathlon in physical education classes.

Since March 2020, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mizuno has suspended its workshops, which would normally involve a large number of people gathering in one place. However, local teachers who previously participated in Mizuno workshops have reported that their schools have incorporated the Mizuno Hexathlon in physical education classes.

In October 2021, Mizuno Hexathlon equipment was listed in the "National Designated Equipment List", and in June 2022, Mizuno was awarded a special commendation from the Vietnamese Presidential Office.

We will continue to spread the joy of engaging in sports and the pleasure of physical activity among Vietnamese children. By leveraging the power of sports, we aim to address social challenges and work towards the achievement of "Sports SDGs." We remain committed to advancing this initiative.

image:Mizuno Hexathlon
image:Awarded a special commendation from the Vietnamese Presidential Office

Awarded a special commendation from the Vietnamese Presidential Office

Please refer to the following link for information about the special commendation awarded by the Vietnamese Presidential Office.
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Promoting a Mizuno Original License named the "Mizuno Play Leader"

To help create an environment where children can play livelily, Mizuno puts effort into cultivating Mizuno Play Leaders, whose job is to watch children while they play on their own initiative. Mizuno offers play-based basic exercise training programs designed to help companies, universities, governments, and educational institutions, which have many opportunities to interact with children, acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed to be certified as Play Leaders. Mizuno puts effort into promoting its training programs internally and externally, and so far it has helped about 700 people across the nation become Play Leaders. Play Leaders devote themselves to interacting with children, winning children’s trust and protecting them when necessary.

image:Mizuno Play Leader

Mizuno Play Leader

In-house Outside Total
Grade 1 3 0 4
Grade 2 31 5 36
Grade 3 346 774 1,120
Total 381 779 1,160

Future issues to be addressed

Children today are said to lack spaces to play in, friends to play with, and time to play. In addition, parents are often heard saying that they do not know how they should play with their own children.

Mizuno puts effort into helping create an environment where children can play livelily and also puts effort into cultivating Mizuno Play Leaders, whose job is to look after children playing.

The job of a Play Leader is to come up with fun ideas and exercises that children will greatly enjoy and create an environment where children can play with one another on their own initiative. To help children grow with a healthy mentality and body through enjoying play-based exercises, Mizuno will put effort into promoting its Play Leader program internally and externally.

In addition, it will put effort into creating opportunities for Play Leaders to demonstrate their skills. In order to do so, Mizuno will put effort into having as many people as possible find out about its Play Leader program, and to do so, it will identify what issues there may be in promoting its Play Leader program and also inform parents about its Play Leader system. To have as many people as possible find out about its Play Leader system, Mizuno will promote its system by offering play-based exercise programs and events.