When I was invited to a round-table discussion at the White House with the First Lady and representatives of her Let’s Move! initiative, the primary focus was on healthy eating. Cooking Light, other media partners, Partnership for a Healthier America, Let’s Move!, and USDA’s MyPlate have committed to offering healthy recipes via a new Pinterest page. During our conversation, the importance of fitness also came up. Mrs. Obama’s message to kids and parents about how simple and fun exercise can be is a hallmark of her campaign. I was pleased to hear it first hand. Staged Disney World dance offs and hula hooping on the South Lawn aren’t just stunts. She is passionate about the impact this mission for movement could have for our children.
It’s evident in my circle of friends that our children are over-scheduled with activities. Dance, gymnastics, off to the soccer fields, back to dance class—all worthy efforts at getting our kids to move. But what about people who don’t have the means for such classes or for those who choose not to run their kids' lives from an Outlook calendar (I’m talking about myself here)? The First Lady’s solutions for low-cost or free activities actually sound way better than tonight’s soccer match.
Her focus is on fun: “Try something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your kids to Beyonce…if you make it a task in your household to learn the Single Ladies dance….make it a contest. The practicing will keep the kids busy for an hour doing something that doesn’t even sound like exercise.”
Pause. Now I’m talking about the Single Ladies dance with Michelle Obama. Yes. And it makes perfect sense. Her point is to take anything fun—dancing, jump roping, hula hooping—and make it a competition for the family. All of a sudden my Super Bowl half time dance-a-thon with my daughters was retooled in my mind as a fitness activity we did together. Sure dance class pliés and the proper cartwheel are valiant lessons for my 6-year-old. But so is dancing with mommy around the house. Mrs. Obama nailed it: “We have to understand that movement is important and that any kind of movement counts. You don’t have to run a race, you just have to jump up and down,” and in the mean time, have a little fun.
Check out some of the First Lady’s moves in Evolution of Mom Dancing with Jimmy Fallon. Priceless! Share some of your simple tips for making fitness fun in the comments.