Senior Party official Li Changchun donned a tee-shirt and joined students for a physical workout at Chaoyang Park in Beijing on Sunday.
He also fired the starting gun for a foot race.
Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, was initiating a national student sports program aimed at improving youngsters' fitness.
The national sports program, jointly organized by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and General Administration of Sport, aims to cultivate sports habit among the country's youngsters and encourage them to be more actively involved in physical exercise, according to official sources.
A survey, earlier conducted by the MOE, shows that while Chinese students have got taller in recent years, there is an overall decline in their physical strength.
The survey also found that, in 2005, Chinese students jumped an average of three centimeters less in the long jump compared with 2000.
The ministry urged schools throughout the country to improve their sports facilities so students could build up their body strength.