A physical education columnist and teacher aims to motivate young people with a 12-step plan for attaining a lifetime of good health.
McCartney’s upbeat fitness debut begins with his 2013 newspaper column for the Rockaway Beach newspaper The Wave about the inspiration for this book: his son Andre’s work as a professional ballroom, Latin, and hip-hop dance instructor and choreographer. The author notes that he had been estranged from Andre for nearly 30 years until he received a Facebook friend request from his ex-partner, Andre’s mother. He and she eventually began to heal their old wounds, with their love for their son binding them together. McCartney’s slim book, adorned with eye-catching cartoons and exciting, colorful photos, isn’t an instruction manual; rather, it’s a motivational supplement for physical fitness programs. As such, it contains 12 things that children and young teenagers can do regarding exercise and health. For example, Step 5 gives reasons why dancing can be useful: “I dance for physical literacy to improve my aerobic activities, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition. This helps me maximize my performance, improve my health and even manage my weight.” One of the energetic, intriguing photos shows Andre dancing in what appears to be a park; others have more of an urban feel to them, such as one in which Andre perches between a brick building and a flight of outdoor stairs. Physical education and health instructors could use this manual to reinforce exercise lessons; for example, Step 8 urges dancers to always take five minutes to warm up and cool down, in order to redistribute blood to their muscles. By learning the 12 steps, McCartney says, children and young teens can become “exercise ambassadors.” The guide concludes with charts, a quiz, an easy-to-understand glossary, and a pledge for participants to sign. (Although dancing is the focus of the pledge, one may easily substitute the name of any other physical activity.) In a couple of places, the text is a bit awkward, as in Step 4, which asserts that dancing helps the body perform everyday functions: “This allows me to carry out normal, daily task without straining.” However, such minor issues don’t diminish the book’s important, enthusiastic message.
An often vibrant supplement for phys ed teachers.