First thing Christmas morning, Santa Claus sits on the side of his bed, smiles while he thinks about all the children and takes a good, long stretch.
"I sleep hard after the Christmas Eve sleigh ride," said Santa, who managed to squeeze us in during a recent visit at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. "So, as soon as I'm awake, I like to limber up with stretches."
Question: Do you get any outdoor exercise?
Answer: Oh, yes. Right after an oatmeal breakfast, Santa pulls on heavy woolens and snow boots, goes outside, falls down in the snow and makes snow angels. Everybody does that, don't they? Sometimes Santa even tosses some snowballs.
Q: Does Mrs. Claus join you?
A: We take beautiful walks together every day. Everything sparkles at the North Pole, and the chilly air, it makes you have a good feeling of just being alive. Sometimes the elves come along, and we'll visit the reindeer and give them something they love as much as a good sleigh ride: raw carrots. You don't want to give them a goody that has sugar. That's not really good for anybody, although Santa does eat a lot of cookies all year round.
Q: What else do you eat?
A: Santa likes to keep himself at the same weight by eating a lot of salads, and he loves vegetables. He takes vitamins every day, by the way, and doubles up on vitamin C the first of October. Can't remember ever coming down with a cold during Christmas. Oh, Santa loves snow cones too.
Q: You don't worry about your weight, do you?
A: Did you know Santa went on a diet one time? It lasted all of three days. Santa felt that he wouldn't be the same old Santa unless he was just a little bigger than others.
Q: How did you break the diet?
A: Mrs. Claus baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with nuts. Santa felt much better afterward.
Q: Do you care what kind of milk and cookies--low fat, nonfat, all fat--the children leave out on Christmas Eve?
A: Oh, any kind they pick is fine. Santa likes them all. I think they'll look at the plate and glass and see that their cookies and milk are gone.
Q: You exercise and work on new toys all year and then there's the Christmas Eve journey. You must have a strong heart, Santa.
A: Did you know that Santa's heart beats strong when he hears children?
Q: What would you like to tell the children about being healthy?
A: Get a lot of sleep. Watch what you eat. And it's very important that they pay attention to their parents.
Q: If a twinkle in the eye is a sign of health, then you are the healthiest being on Earth.
A: You get a twinkle when you really enjoy children. Above all they should be listened to and if you take the time to pay attention to little ones, you will end up feeling much better and so will they. I really believe that about children. I really believe in children.
* Guest Workout runs Wednesdays in Life & Style.