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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama's Wellness Message

By now you've probably seen the many articles on President-Elect Obama's awe inspiring workout schedule. The so-called "Gym-Rat-in-Chief" rarely misses his daily 90-minute workout at the gym, where he works on cardio and lifts weights.

The more Obama's life intensifies, his friends told the Washington Post recently, the more he relies on the gym -- which is why "he might be taking office in the best shape of his life," according to the Post. "The gym is where he releases stress, maintains a routine and thinks without interruption. He sometimes wears headphones and barricades the outside world."

Obama will need that stress relief over the next four years. American presidents age twice as fast while in office, according to a theory proposed by Dr. Michael Roizen, a chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, as reported by CNN.

"The typical person who lives one year ages one year," Roizen said. "The typical president ages two years for every year they are in office."
There are several important messages I see in Obama's dedication to fitness.

Setting a Fitness Vision: The first is that regardless of how the Obama-Daschle health care agenda plays itself out, Obama is already setting an example at the highest levels of office of the importance of fitness and wellness. Obama is also known to eat healthy snacks like dried fruit and nuts. In a country burdened by a 32 percent obesity rate, a commander in chief who eats right and handles stress with daily exercise can only be a good thing.

Fitness is for Everyone: The second message is that if Obama can do it, so can you! The president-elect rises early every morning for his workout, returning in time to have breakfast with his daughters. He communicates to his staff that fitness is a very high priority.

Fitness as a Way of Life: The third messagemay be the most important. As Bob Duggan, who heads up the Tai Sophia Institute in Maryland, an academic institution for wellness-based education, clinical care and research, explains, exercise for Obama is not just about fitness and health. Exercise is a way of life -- a mentality that is woven into the fabric of his thinking and daily being. Wellness is life. It's a great vision to strive for.

All of this is great information to include in educational and motivational materials aimed at employees.

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