Accompanied by Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched his 2nd Annual “Governor’s Challenge Competition.”
The event was held at Culver City Middle School last week. Here are a few excerpts.
This has been a very exciting year for our Governor’s Council on Fitness in California. Kids are staying in school now, they’re not sick as much this past year. Your grades are getting better. Exercise and nutrition and grades all work together. That’s what the governor talks about. We talk about building confidence, we talk about building self-esteem.
I was actually a fat kid with a really bad stutter growing up. Yep, that’s right. I got laughed at. That’s why I started working out. And it wasn’t until my Dad bought me a set of weights when I was 14 that it really changed my life.
And the sad story of it is that in the ’70s – I should say actually in the ’80s and ’90s, we started laying off physical fitness teachers. Physical education teachers were not that important anymore to the school system. And it was really sad to see that, how they kind of got rid of those physical education programs and sports programs. And they needed the money for something else, and we don’t want to get into the political aspect of that, but I just want to say that I felt sorry for the kids, because I know that when I grew up in Austria we had exercise and fitness and sports every single day. Every day for an hour, and then on the weekends my father would take us to the soccer field and we would be exercising and playing soccer four, five hours on Saturdays and also on Sundays. And we would be hiking, and we would be skating, and we would be skiing, and we would be sledding, and we would be doing all kinds of physical fitness activities because it was just as important to take care of your body as it was to take care of your mind. Sound body, sound mind. We’ve got to go and exercise both.
And it’s also important – and I think that I want to say this as a governor – I’m not just here to promote fitness, but I’m also here to promote education – physical education and academic education. I want to urge all of you children – don’t waste your time in front of the television. Don’t waste your time drinking or smoking, or doing any of those things that are very counterproductive to you. Spend your time on doing your homework. Spend your time on reading. Spend your time on doing your math, your spelling. And listen to your teachers, listen to your parents, listen to your school principal, listen to your mentors. That is very important. I have kids myself, I have four kids. They sometimes sit too long in front of the TV. I get them up and I get them out and exercising. I think it is very important to do that, to exercise every day.
Now, the interesting thing is that we have started a Fitness Challenge to inspire everybody. But this challenge will be for kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade, all over the State of California, and it is to exercise 30 to 60 minutes 3 times a week. And you can do whatever you want when you want to join this challenge. You can go swimming, you can go hiking, you can go running, jogging, play football, play tennis, whatever you want to do. Even when you walk your dog, as long as you get exercise, that is important. And we will do it as a combination, where teachers will join the students. It’s like an effort together.