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Arnold at the Fitness Farm.

Five-year-old Chase Sanders stood waist deep in a gunnysack, his lower lip trembling and his eyes teary with despair.

"I can't do it," he said, furrowing his small brow as several children bounded past him, hopping gamely in their gunnysacks.

Just then, the world's strongest pair of arms swooped down, grabbed Chase's gunnysack, and hoisted the boy into the air.

"Don't say can't," Arnold Schwarzenegger said gently into Chase's ear as he helped the boy hop through the relay race. The youngster's face lit up, and he gazed at Arnold in awe.

"You CAN do it," Arnold told him, as excited onlookers cheered. "Never say can't."

As Chase stood blinking in amazement, the world's No. I entertainer raced off to inspire other children participating in the "Arnold Relays" at the Fitness Farm on a glorious April afternoon in Indianapolis. Arnold played catch with children in wheelchairs, gave pointers to kids doing sit-ups, and admired the handiwork of several young blind ham radio operators.

"Every person has the right to be fit," Arnold said. "Not only those who are healthy and athletic, but the physically disabled, too. It's important that we don't lay off physical education specialists every time there's a budget crunch. Because we've got to teach our children that it's just as important to be fit as to be smart."

Arnold has personally brought this message to countless children, educators, and politicians across America in the two years since President Bush appointed him chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Pledging to help make the '90s the Fitness Decade, Arnold has visited all 50 states--his previous visit to Indiana included playing Pied Piper of Fitness to more than 3,000 ecstatic schoolchildren at the Fitness Farm back in the fall of 1991.

"A year ago I was here and I said then, 'I'll be back to pump you up,' " Arnold told the wildly enthusiastic crowd--that ranged from babies to grandparents--on hand for Family Fitness Day at the farm. "Our kids in this country are getting slower and fatter, with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems. We must stop the downward trend. You've got to exercise every day instead of watching TV. Instead of video games, play real sports, games."

Arnold lifted his mighty arms and struck a muscleman pose. He popped a bicep and the audience went wild. "I did not get like this by sitting down and playing video games," he said, grinning. "It's cool to exercise every single day."

One of the many reasons why it's important to shape up, Arnold told the crowd, is that physically fit people are less inclined to take drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

"What are you going to say to drugs," he asked the crowd.

"NO!" they screamed.

"What are you going to say to alcohol?"


"What are you going to say to-tobacco?"


"Are you going to exercise every day?"

Arnold then led the entire group in a series of calisthenics including jumping jacks, push-ups, and knee lifts before taking off to do his own personal workout at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport gym. "No matter how busy I am," he said, "I make the time to work out."

Earlier that day, Arnold had addressed hundreds of physical education specialists at the 107th annual convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

"It's time to heal the wounds between AAHPERD and the President's Council," said Arnold who noted that when he became council chairman, "the two organizations were going in opposite directions. I said we have to Work together and start moving in the same direction because we have the same interests. We want to make sure the children in this country are fit."

To the admiring applause of the assembled physical education specialists, Arnold and AAHPERD president Harold Morris announced the initiation of a cooperative effort to create one national physical fitness assessment and education program to be entitled the President's Youth Fitness Program. This new program will combine the best elements of both groups' former national programs--the President's Council's President's Challenge and AAHPERD's, physical Best.

Having just one test will help end the confusion Arnold said he heard expressed by teachers across the country, during his travels. "That was one of the biggest complaints from educators," Arnold said. The test is expected to be ready in September 1993 and will be geared to youngsters in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Arnold urged AAHPERD members, to protest school physical fitness budget cuts by writing to the U.S. Secretary of Education and their elected officials. "They always cut the area where they feel there will be the least protest," he said. Daily physical education classes are vital to the health of American youngsters, said Arnold, who noted that only one state--Illinois--requires daily phys ed.

Then he and AAHPERD. president Harold Morris signed the agreement between the two organizations.

Looking up with his trademark steely-eyed gaze, Arnold joked, "Anyone that is in our way of making this possible will be terminated."
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Title Annotation:Arnold Schwarzenegger
Author:Krucoff, Carol
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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