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Local Kids Work It Out with Danialle Karmanos

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes

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Danialle Karmanos was back in Raleigh this week to continue work on her Work It Out program, which is designed to fight childhood obesity and help at-risk children make healthy choices.

While general eating tips and exercise habits have been the main focus of the three-year-old program in the past, Karmanos was on hand to personally share a new facet of the program with children at the Hurricanes Academy in Walnut Terrace – yoga.

While children and yoga may seem to be an odd match on the surface, Karmanos has been surprised and encouraged at the way kids in her program are embracing it.

”The kids absolutely love yoga,” she said.  “They love the relaxation.  One of the responses we’ve gotten most often from kids is ‘Can you teach this to my parents?’”

For the kids’ first experience with yoga, Karmanos and Compuware Director of Wellness and Work Life Tom Anderson led the kids through a few different exercises designed to promote relaxation and fitness.  Although the experience was new to them, they genuinely seemed to enjoy doing it, as have the other participants in the program.

”They’ve been amazingly receptive to it,” said Karmanos, wife of Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos.  “It was much to our surprise.  We thought it might be an element of our program that we might have trouble getting across, but they’ve really embraced the elements of it.”

Prior to the yoga demonstration, the kids participated in a street hockey clinic and game involving recently re-acquired Hurricanes defenseman David Tanabe.  Tanabe captained the winning team to a late comeback, while the other team was led by Hurricanes mascot Stormy.

Stormy, seen shamelessly cherry-picking here, managed to score two goals by hanging around the opposition’s goal and refusing to help his team on defense. 

He was available for comment, but didn't have much to say.

The Work It Out program launched in Raleigh earlier this year after beginning in the Karmanos’ native Detroit.  The program, which hopes to expand to public schools both in Detroit and in the Triangle, has thus far worked with over 1,000 children in order to help them live a healthier lifestyle.

”Right now in America we’re in the midst of an epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Karmanos.  “We feel that it’s really important to be proactive and work with kids and teach them how to feel good about themselves and how to make healthy choices.”

Besides helping children become more physically fit, Karmanos hopes that in the process kids will feel better about themselves and become more confident when facing difficult life choices.

”We’re empowering them and introducing them to exercise and activities that they might not have otherwise known,” said Karmanos.  “We’re teaching them the value of spending time exercising and being active and releasing those endorphins to help them really feel good about themselves.”

The Work It Out program continues to grow and will soon have a new Web site up and running.  It can be found at http://dkwio.org/.
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