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Unlikely fitness gurus: Ronald McDonald and Scooby Doo?

"Rut roh!" Who'd a' ever thunk that the likes of goofy cartoon dog Scooby Doo and just-as-goofy burger hawker Ronald McDonald could become fitness models for the younger generation? But believe it.


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“Rut roh!”*

Who’d a’ ever thunk that the likes of goofy cartoon dog Scooby Doo and just-as-goofy burger hawker Ronald McDonald could become fitness models for the younger generation?

But believe it.

Gaiam — well-known for its yoga, tai chi and other mindful and quite serious educational tapes and products — announced last week that it will introduce a line of “Doo Yoga” products for kids, featuring none other than that over-sized nut of an animated mutt, Scooby. So-called “fitness play kits” will include activity DVDs led by “high-energy” kids’ instructors, plus the various kits and products will include a yoga sticky mat, mat bag and stability ball. All will feature Scooby’s image.

Kinda gives “downward dog” a whole new meaning.

“Our goal with the Doo Yoga line is to make fitness and health fun for kids and easy for parents to incorporate into their daily lives,” Gaiam Vice President of Marketing Howard Ronder said in a statement. “Scooby Doo is familiar to so many people and a favorite among children, and we’ve seen that his lively image helps motivate children to be active.”

Actually, this isn’t the first time that Gaiam (www.gaiam.com) has dabbled in kids’ fitness. It introduced several kids’ videos several years ago and later did kits. There will be two new balance ball kits, one for 3-to-6 year olds, and one for 7-to-10 year olds (suggested retail: $20 each). In addition, there will be Doo Yoga Mats ($22), showing Scooby in eight poses, including “Flying Crow” and – yes, really – “Down Doggy.” A poster instructs kids using kid-language. A Doo Yoga bag ($15) takes Scooby a step further – what a flexible dog he is – showing him in “Upward Doggy.”

“Zoiks!”**

Now, about that burger dude being a fitness mentor…. McDonald’s announced that Ronald will shed his baggy clown outfit for a new and sporty, form-fitting version of the trademarked jumpsuit. We hope they have hired a stud of a Ronald…especially since this mascot is now 42 years old.

TV commercials allegedly have already hit the airways, but since we don’t tend to watch much Saturday morning TV, we haven’t seen them yet. The new Ronald will, we hear, be shooting hoops, snowboarding and doing other fitness-y things. Not sure how juggling fruits and vegetables is fitness-y, but that’s supposedly one of the things he does.

And, surprise, there aren’t any burgers and fries anywhere to be seen, even though that’s primarily what the burger chain sells.

“We felt it more appropriate to expand the discussion to all foods at this point,” Jeff Carl, the chain’s vice president of global marketing, said in an interview with CNN.

So now Ronald is no longer just bouncing around with a silly painted grin on his face, but walking the walk – and skiing the slopes and pedaling the bike.

Well, we think to that Scooby might say, “Rut roh.”

* Translation for the Scooby-impaired: Uh-oh!
** Translation II : Oh, shoot!