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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

1 Post tagged with the president's_council_on_exercise tag

Last night as Del was pulling chicken quarters off of the grill, I broke into song. I have no idea where it came from, but stored deep in my grade school memory cells it came pouring out...

 

♪♪♪♪ ♫♫♫♫

 

Give that chicken fat

 

Back to the chicken

 

And don't be chicken again.

 

No, don't be chicken again.

 

Del gave me his look. The one that says, "My God, I'm married to a nutcase."

 

 

I encouraged him to sing along. He told me he had never heard that song before.

 

 

Impossible! I can remember doing push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, marching in place, running in place and more. Seriously. I don't know how often we exercised, but it was enough that I can remember the words to the song. I have a memory burn of my Kindergarten teacher doing arm circles. I remember the entire class was laughing, singing and doing exercise.

 

 

I broke into more song...

 

 

♪♪♪♪ ♫♫♫♫

 

 

Push up

 

 

Every morning

 

 

Ten times.

 

 

Push up

 

 

Starting low.

 

 

Once more on the rise.

 

 

Nuts to the flabby guys!

 

 

Go, you chicken fat, go away!

 

 

Go, you chicken fat, go!

 

 

He's rolling his eyes and shaking his head at this point.

 

 

Now, I must prove this song existed.

 

 

It turns out this song, the "Chicken Fat Song" has historical significance.

 

 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the President's Council on Youth Fitness, with Executive Order 10673 issued on July 16, 1956, after learning the results of a report indicating that American children were less fit than European youth. The first council was chaired by Vice President Richard Nixon.

 

 

It was President John F. Kennedy that took charge of the initiative during his presidency and changed the name to the President's Council on Physical Fitness in 1963. He also expanded the fitness mandate to all Americans, not just youth. He frequently addressed the issue of physical fitness in his public speeches. In fact, there was a fifty-mile hike "fad" during his administration. As you can imagine, this fad was short-lived and had limited participation.

 

 

Some (definitely not me) consider the oddest contribution to the mandate on physical fitness to be the creation of the song "[Go, You Chicken Fat, Go|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFofqe26t-4&feature=related]" . An excerpt from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum tells about the history of the song:

 

 

"Written by Meredith Willson, creator of The Music Man, and sung with enthusiasm by Robert Preston, the actor most responsible for that musical's success, the "Chicken Fat Song" was produced in a three-minute, radio-friendly version and a six-minute version to accompany schoolchildren during Council-approved workout routines."

 

 

The historical information about President Kennedy's influence on the nation's health and fitness is worth a read. It's pretty short and begins here.

 

 

If you think the Chicken Fat routine is easy, I challenge you to give it a try. It is definitely best if done in a group situation. How about you and your office pals?

 

 

To help you out, I think it helps if you print out the lyrics (school version), get your routine in mind, then turn up the music and get going!

 

 

♪♪♪♪ ♫♫♫♫

 

 

Go, you chicken fat, go away!

 

 

Go, you chicken fat, go!

 

 

♪♪♪♪ ♫♫♫♫

 

 

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