The Washington Post

Michelle Kwan

Olympian and President’s Fitness Council member Michelle Kwan recounts her training regime for the Olympics and givees life advice to young people dealing with everyday stresses. “Life isn’t only smooth sailing. You have to keep it simple,” she said to Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan at the 2013 Childhood Obesity Summit. (Meena Ganesan/The Washington Post)

Nearly one in three American children are overweight or obese. But after decades of rising rates, we may be turning a corner on the health crisis. Experts across fields gathered at Washington Post Live’s 2013 Childhood Obesity Summit to discuss strategies resulting in healthier children.

Michelle Kwan, Olympic medalist, member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

There are times when I wasn’t doing so well in sports, where I couldn’t do a triple Lutz or I was having difficulties on triple-triple combination and I kept falling and falling. It’s those days when you realize that it’s one foot in front of the other. You feel like the day is so long. The week is so long. It’s just being able to get out of bed, get breakfast, walk out of the house, get onto the rink. It’s all these little steps that end up pushing us to another level. So when you do have rough spots, it’s just one step in front of the other.

That’s the thing with sports. So many of the lessons learned are so easily applied to things outside of sports. When athletes talk about the importance of being active, it doesn’t mean they want you to aspire to be an Olympian. It’s about being healthy in your own fitness goals.

To the 13-year-olds across the United States, I think it’s important to take responsibility for your life. We have only one chance. Eat healthy, get active. You’ll feel good. I know that I’m a lot nicer to be around when I eat healthy and exercise, and so it’s important for them to be mind, body, soul 100 percent.

Life isn’t really smooth sailing, perfect scenery. Kids have a lot to deal with. I think making the best of what you can do with your life is the most important, and having that attitude, and keeping it simple.


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