USA TODAY - Can anyone remember liking gym class during school years? No? Don't let Michelle Obama hear you, because the first lady is pushing more PE and looking pretty good doing it.
Mrs. O was exerciser-in-chief today in Chicago, on the second day of her two-day tour of three cities to kick off the third year of her anti-obesity Let's Move! campaign.
At cavernous McCormick Place in Chicago, she joined star athletes, including tennis great Serena Williams, and some 6,000 children in a raucous, heart-pumping, knee-bending dance workout to promote her new effort to help kids do better in school by getting them to exercise every day - the way they did when she was in school 40 years ago.
She announced a new program, the first public-private partnership of its kind and seeded by a $50 million investment by Nike, that will enable schools to apply for grants to improve their physical education programs with the goal of getting kids to exercise an hour a day. It's the next phase of Obama's eat-better, move-more, get-healthy campaign to fight obesity among American children and help them achieve more in school.
For this return to her hometown, she slipped out of her blue pin-striped suit into sharp workout togs - black yoga pants and T-shirt topped with a persimmon-and-gray track jacket - to lead the kids in a workout.
"You listen to me -- you've got to turn off the TV, move away from the screen, you've got to keep your body active, even if that means just turning on some music and dancing for an hour," she exhorted the audience in her pep talk, according to the White House transcript. "Do a little dougie, a few jumping jacks, some push-ups. And you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to be healthy. You just have to move. That's how you'll prepare your bodies and your minds for greatness."
With that, she waded into the crowd and began jumping and dancing, the pool reporter, Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times, recorded.
"I would call it a fairly vigorous workout - hair flopping, knees got bent, arms were definitely pumping," she reported. "Did I mention there were over 6,000 kids here and that music was louder than a nightclub? Pooler feels exhausted watching."
But not Obama, who once led a crowd of kids on the White House lawn in a jumping-jack contest. In Chicago, she was having a grand time. "(This) is about showing our kids that being active is fun," she said. "How about a little fun?"
Then she went to Walmart. Well, first she left the stage, got back into her suit and headed to Springfield, Ill., where she visited a Walmart to celebrate the company's two-year effort to provide its poor and working-class customers with healthier and more affordable food products closer to home. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal today, she argues that selling healthy products is good for customers and good for business.