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You’re It. Get Fit! Take the Million PALA Challenge

Have you already given up on your 2011 resolution?  If your answer is “yes,” or if you’re still searching for a resolution, I have a special program for you to jump start your physical activity, keep you motivated and on track, and even reward you with special recognition at the end.

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or “PALA,” can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids (30 minutes for adults), 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  The program is a starting point, a way to lift yourself up and begin to include activity into your daily routine.  And if you’re already getting regular physical activity, I want you to earn your PALA too.  You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get your heart pumping and your sweat flowing.  Get healthy at your own pace and create your own team of family members and friends!

So how can kids fit 60 minutes of activity into their daily routines?  My answer is “It’s not that hard!”  Kids may already be getting half of their 60 minutes during the school day through recess and physical education.  The last 30 minutes can be completed during after-school programs or at home with family members.  I encourage all parents to lead by example and get active with your kids. I am a father of two boys, Baylen and Bowen, who are both under the age of 3, and I roll around with them all the time.  So even if I weren’t getting my PALA minutes on the field, I would still get them in at home.  If you’re a parent, take your kids out for a walk or bike ride.  If it’s too cold or dark, involve the family in some fun “active gaming.”  There are many out there to choose from, including EA SPORTS Active, Wii Fit or Wii Active to name a few.

Last September, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition launched the Million PALA Challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to get one million (or more) Americans to earn their PALAs by this September!

Whether you’re located in sunny California like me in the off-season or in a deep freeze in the northeast, the President’s Challenge offers an array of activities from jumping rope in your back yard to shoveling snow in your driveway.  Whether you’re 6 or 106, I’m calling on you to take the challenge and earn your PALA.

Even one of the busiest ladies in the country, First Lady Michelle Obama, earned her PALA with help from the family trainer and Council member Cornell McClellan.  Her activity log included dancing with Sasha and Malia, walking Bo, the dog, and climbing the White House stairs.  If she can find the time to exercise, so can you!

To begin, visit www.presidentschallenge.org and either create an account to track your activity online or download the paper log sheet, encourage a friend or family member to join you and then start moving!  Once you complete the program and you have tracked your activity, reward yourself with a certificate signed by me and Council co-chair, U.S. Olympic Gymnast Dominique Dawes.

You, too, can be 1 in a million and be counted in our Million PALA Challenge! Visit www.presidentschallenge.org to learn how and start moving today.