This is a big week for thousands of Caddo and DeSoto Parish schoolkids -- as they learn about the benefits of exercise and staying fit.

More than 7,000 children are expected to pack Independence Stadium for Fit for Life DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Day. Fit for Life founder Robert "Super-Mann" Blount tells KEEL News this is a big event, especially since Louisiana tends to rank incredibly high for childhood obesity issues.

"We grew up where we could exercise and play, and it was just a part of a natural way of living," Blount says. "But with the way times have changed, the things that are most natural have become UNnatural to these children."

So the kids will have plenty to keep them busy -- Zumba, aerobics, fitness exercises...even karate and fencing demonstrations. Blount says this is a great way not only for the kids to get used to the idea of staying fit, but also to increase their interest in continuing to participate in any of these activities.

Wednesday's activities run from 9 a.m. until noon, but this is just the tip of the iceberg during Fit For Life Weekend. Blount says Friday at noon, there's the Fit For Life Luncheon, which is being held at Harrah's Louisiana Downs Sky Box. Rudy Macklin with the Governor's Council on Fitness and Sports will be the guest speaker.

Saturday, throughout Shreveport-Bossier, there's a plethora of events going on. At the Shreveport Convention Center, parents and kids can check out karate, boxing, fencing and other sports demonstrations. At the Horseshoe Riverdome in Bossier City, amateur bodybuilding competitions are going on, there's a baseball tournament at Southern Hills, and a Hispanic Soccer Tournament at LSU-S.

Blount says we all need to be a part of the week's activities. "Getting fit for life is not an option, it's a necessity," he says. "We don't have the luxury of trying to decide 'Do we want to get fit? Do we want to begin to eat better? When should I exercise?' It's all a MUST now."

Visit the Fit For Life website for a complete schedule of events.