Get Fit America for Kids: Inspiring Conscious Happy Active Children
By Scott Cole
I have been working with children since 1986, and in those early years I worked
with suicide prevention teens in the Dallas area—to this date the toughest audience
in my career. I mention this because sometimes adults feel that a child may just
be “lost” and that what we are doing for them is perhaps not “breaking through” and
Believe me, that is a common feeling to have, and certainly faced with what we
see in America today—children who are morbidly obese, diabetic, medicated, and
experiencing ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it is no wonder that
adults and parents feel frustrated, which seems to be pushing us farther from what
we need to be doing—and that is reversing this ugly sad uninspired trend of cutting
time and funds for music, art, and physical education.
I can share unequivocally that when given the chance to move, express, and learn
something new and different like Yoga and Tai Chi, children respond, not always
when and how you want them to, but trust me, the seeds are planted and these
mindful movement programs make a huge difference. By the end of my term with
the suicide prevention teens, I remember one girl coming up to me, hugging me
crying, “Don’t leave, I love it when you come see us.” I never forgot that.
Let us consider what are children are NOT getting:
1) Healthy, organic, soil-grown food that for the most part could prevent adult-
onset diabetes and obesity.
2) Movement in all forms: Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Physical Education and PLAY
every day. Children NEED to breathe, move, express, scream, and ultimately
experience healthy quiet time.
3) Nature Experience: Outdoors, or certainly learning about Nature
through “field trips” as we used to call them.
4) Healthy levels of TOUCH, both from adults and their peers. Activities that
involve touch and physical/social communication are needed now more than
ever as children bury their heads in video games, computers, cell phones,
instead of looking into the eyes of their friends and touching each other in
healthy play or activity.
5) Support at home and in school: The United States is #36 on the longevity list
worldwide (tied with Cuba according to the United Nations list), and is the
most obese nation on Earth. This translates into adults who have the same
issues in charge of making decisions to prevent the current generation from
having the problems we have.
America’s current in-home and educational landscape isn’t coming close to any
viable solution until concerned adults (WE) take charge of it at ALL levels.
Let us consider addressing what children today NEED:
1) First off, we need to make it MANDATORY that organic REAL food is served
in schools, and have the children take an active part in learning about food,
crops, and conscious farming. No more corn subsidized fructose corn syrup in
drinks and fruit cocktails, no more packaged nutrient-less slop, no more low-
quality after-thought beef and chicken fingers, and all soda machines should be
eliminated. Not the most popular decision I know, but AMERICA IS ADDICTED
to this “STUFF” that isn’t real food, and our bodies are in rebellion. If children
had normal levels of blood sugar, and are not doctored up by medication or
addictive fast-food and sugars, ADHD would be reduced and we would start to
see healthy alert, active children re-emerging. The problem arises in budget and
corporations that bid for these contracts, promising more for less dollars, and
inevitably it is about profit, not about providing great food for our kids.
If anything should be subsidized by the government, it should be food
for our public schools, but organized by a non-corporate committee of
nutritionists, parents, organic farmers, and educators.
2) Next, we need to implement all forms of movement and PE in schools: Yoga,
Tai Chi, Sports, Kickball, and Creative Play. We just need to get our kids moving
and playing again! Whoever decided that eliminating PE would make our
children “study more” has never dealt with children. Once children play, emote,
and express, they are more likely to actually WANT to sit down and read a book,
study, or be quiet.
3) Children need to learn more about their surroundings, from farming to crops
to geography to nature. Whenever I do the Get Fit America in-school assemblies,
I teach barefoot, and if allowed by the school, the children are allowed to take
their shoes off too. This ALONE is a big adventure that gets the children excited
to play and learn. It still amazes me that something so natural and simple is not
the norm anymore. We talk about feeling the earth, listening to and becoming
aware of Nature, and how our bodies are designed to touch and feel through the
feet and hands, all incorporated with the movement and exercise.
4) Touch is vital for any person. Touch deprivation can contribute to depression,
loneliness, and anti-social behavior that can manifest in a lifetime of discomfort
around others. After I have the children moving for awhile in the school
assemblies, I then introduce a Partnered section of the program where the
children get to touch, do mirrored-image movement, and learn to stretch and
trust each other. I tell them, “If you let go of your partner you are letting go of
yourself.” Most of them get the lesson.
5) Adults need to do their part and understand that even if we don’t get the
lessons of healthy living, it is VITAL for us to make choices that will influence our
children for the better.
American obesity is an addiction, and adult onset diabetes is preventable, so
unless we want to watch people age, become medically dependent, become
lethargic, depressed, and inactive, then we need to turn this big ship around and
get back on course to dock in an environment that will have clean pure water,
organic healthy food, mindful exercise and creative encouragement as standard
fuel for a healthy life.
Parents, teachers, educators, and concerned adults need to play an active part in
each community, as part of an expressive society that both honors and cherishes
our children enough to give them the tools to become the healthiest, most
mindful, articulate, compassionate generation ever.
Get Fit America TOP TEN ACTIVITY MOTIVATORS FOR KIDS
1) Walk: Anywhere, anytime, with friends and supervised if needed
2) Jump Rope: Great for coordination and fun to do
3) Dance: Learn a new Hip-Hop routine and perform it
4) Play Sports: Solo and interactive, wonderful for social skills and self-esteem
5) Stretch or Do Yoga: Different poses are fun to try, learning proper breathing
6) Learn Martial Arts: Tai chi, taekwondo, karate, judo teach self-respect and
7) Garden and Build: Dig holes, build a flowerbed, create a stone pathway, plant,
get your hands in the soil
8) Get Active Outdoors: Create an obstacle course, hopscotch, climb trees, hike
9) Play in the Water: Lakes, beaches, and pools, enjoy swimming, building
sandcastles, tromping through the mud
Sketch, Draw, or Create: Draw your favorite Yoga pose, sketch your
feelings, see www.getfitamerica.us to see other children’s drawings from the
Scott Cole is a former National Aerobic Champion, star of Abs of Steel, and creator
of the top-selling Discover Tai Chi series for adults. His work with children began
in 1986 with suicide-prevention abused children, which won him an AFAA Notable
Award. Cole continued to fine-tune his in-school assemblies and has taught
children in Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin.
Get Fit America for Kids original NAPPA Award-winning workout DVD and the
ALL-NEW Get Fit America for Kids LIVE!!! Adults for Kids Educational DVD is
available through www.scottcole.com and www.getfitamerica.us .