Do you hula hoop? Michelle Obama suggests you let go of the remote control, or even the Nintendo Wii controller, and go shake and shimmy your way to a healthier, even fitter you. The First Lady held a ‘healthy kids fair’ today on the South Lawn of the White House. Local kids and parents were invited to the health minded event from nearby elementary schools. Michelle Obama’s hula hoop idea impresses. It reminds me of my own journey to seek out alternate physical fitness methods to the same old gyms, lifting weights or sweating to the oldies.
After high school, I wasn’t exactly out of shape, but certainly didn’t adhere to a standard textbook image of fitness. I was also unemployed and most days I found myself incredibly bored. To keep myself busy in between job searching, I’d look for ways to also start exercising more.
I’d always wanted to juggle. One of the first times I saw juggling, aside from a circus performer or clown, was a great juggling performance by the actors Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. Both were starring in the sitcom Bosom Buddies. I guess they found themselves on the TV talk show circuit being interviewed for the show. After banter with the host, Hanks and Scolari juggled. It wasn’t overly complicated, nor spectacular by circus standards perhaps, but it was two regular guys (if Hollywood actors can be called regular) who were juggling. I think the fact that both weren’t wearing greasepaint and fright wigs not only relaxed me, but made me realize anyone could juggle.
Flash forward back to my doldrums. Jobless days with not much exercise. I vowed I’d teach myself to juggle. It was slow going at first. Mostly, I’d jumble and jostle the balls out of my hand instead of juggling. I actually started with rolled up socks and easily gripped objects as a training tool. Eventually, my practice paid off. I got so good I juggled sticks and even plates.
Michelle Obama successfully hula hooped a respectable 142 times. She not only showed the kids, and their parents, how fun exercise can be, but also how low tech working out can be if you apply a little creativity and variety. I’ve gone the traditional route of joining gyms, lifting weights and jogging, but after awhile those things can get stale. By searching out new, even unusual ways to move, to just get our behinds off the couch, we can not only achieve better fitness, but have a blast at the same time.