The Obamas: First Couple of Fitness
Will the exercise program of Barack and Michelle Obama inspire Americans?
Obama Exercise Program: Obsessive or Not? continued...
Less than 65% of adult Americans met those guidelines in 2007, according to
a report published in December 2008 in the CDC's Morbidity & Mortality
Calling the Obamas' exercise program excessive is incorrect, says Angela
Smith, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, and
past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. She points out they
both do a mix of activities. They not only follow the recommendations for the
suggested time, but have well-rounded routines including cardio and strength
"If someone is doing push-ups for 90 minutes a day, that's
excessive," she says.
"I think he has a really good exercise program, one we should all be
on," says William O. Roberts, MD, professor of family medicine at the
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, of the new president's routine. Roberts,
a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, considers exercise as
medicine in his practice.
"It's the cheapest, easiest thing to do [to improve health]," he
Following the exercise guidelines produces not only health benefits but
other advantages, especially for high-powered people, says Gregg Miele, a
Beverly Hills, Calif., personal trainer who has worked for singer Mary J. Blige
and numerous other entertainment industry people. "I've worked with an
artist who wrote his music in his head when he ran," Miele says. He
suspects that Obama uses his workout time to problem-solve as well.
Obama Exercise Program: Will Their Fitness Habit Rub Off?
Colleagues who work out with Obama say his enthusiasm helps get them revved
up about exercise, too.
"His dedication to it has inspired me," says King, the Chicago
lawyer who often shoots hoops with Obama, "and hopefully his example will
inspire many Americans to pay great attention to their health and
Exercise experts are hopeful that will be the case, too.
"Like it or not, they are going to be role models," says Angela
Smith. "The Obamas have an incredible opportunity to influence fitness
among adults and children." A good thing, she says, given the obesity
epidemic among U.S. youths.
At the very least, observing the first couple's fitness routine may put the
time crunch dilemma into perspective for the rest of us, others say. That Obama
kept up the exercise routine throughout the grueling campaign is impressive,
says Jeannie Moloo, RD, a Sacramento, Calif., dietitian and spokeswoman for the
American Dietetic Association.