Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let's Move!

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Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy


I applaud the Let's Move! Initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters Education Fund (NABEF). Children, and all of Americans, are getting fatter. It's not a good look. It's also unhealthy and leads to a whole host of problems. The economy is strained as it is, we won't have the funding to treat the preventable cases of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension (Metabolic syndrome) cancer, knee and hip replacements etc. that are bound to plague this generation of children--a generation that may be the first to have shorter lifespans than their parents. 


Part of the blame lies with the parents who don't encourage their children to play or don't lead healthy lifestyles for their children to learn from. There's limited access to healthy, affordable foods and knowledge about proper nutrition. Then there's the epidemic of recess, physical education (PE) and intramural sports being eliminated from schools. 



I can't imagine not playing when I was a kid. Jump rope, freeze tag, manhunt, snowball fights. We always had "gym class" and who participated in assemblies where you'd get together with your friends, choreograph a dance routine and perform it in front of the entire school?


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Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton


There are still rumblings amongst Blacks about working out and the fear that you'll lose your curves. Frenemies will scowl and tell you that dudes like their women thick and all the working out ain't good. When I was thinking of people to tell about the opportunity to workout with Billy Blanks in NY, it was glaringly obvious that I'm not surrounded by many health-conscious people anymore; folks who exercise on a regular basis. That's a real shame. 


Let's not forget the folks who do "work out" but don't like to sweat. They pay money to join a gym, hire a personal trainer and then demand that they lose weight but "don't want to sweat". Needless to say, I didn't mesh well with clients who held those views. These views are undoubtedly passed on to the next generation.


Yet I am witnessing a growth in the interest and participation in exercise and eating healthy. "Gym culture" has always been a subculture. I was in deep during my years after college. I set Letters to My Former Self in the fitness and magazine publishing world. Will "gym culture" become mainstream? Will the average American shrink back down to 1950's size? I'm hoping Let's Move! leads to improved health, improved self-esteem, improved body image. It's important that you get your information and training from knowledgeable experts to avoid myths and prevent injuries. I can't tell you the amount of weekend warriors I treated at the Sports PT clinic where I worked. Their intentions were honorable, their form was abysmal. And many tried to do too much too soon. The same goes for children. We have to be sure we don't push children too hard and make the exercise fun so they'll keep at it.


I don't like the messages in many of Beyoncé's songs (the man didn't want to marry you so you go to the club and "ho it up" so the ex will miss you or pleading with a man to find out why he doesn't love or need you despite your ass and class) but the beats are dance-worthy. I hope she continues to participate in the Let's Move! initiative. It's obvious she works out (she attended the Equinox where I worked) and dancing is great for cross-training and building cardiovascular endurance. This is a great opportunity for her to lead by that example.


Now let's all have lunchroom flashbacks and dance along to this video!


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