Archive for “Physical Activity” Tag

Kids Fitness: Missing the Point… Again

kids fitness

By Dr. Kwame M. Brown

It would help to read the following article before reading this post, but I will try to summarize below.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article1689463.ece

The title of the article: “Is PE a waste of time?”, by Barbara Lantin of the Sunday Times. Yet another provocative title. I guess that’s useful, but the problem is that most do not read through articles like this. I do. So, I am going to first communicate that this title is not supported at ALL by the contents.

The gist here is the author and others grossly misinterpreting some longitudinal research done in the EarlyBird Diabetes Study in England.

The purpose of the study was to look at potential causal factors in the development of Type II (obese) diabetes. They studied overall activity levels of kids, and observed that no matter the activity level offered kids, they chose their own activity level (opting out or in) and effort level.

The researchers concluded from this that activity level must be genetically predetermined by some “activitystat” gene.

[dna]

Nice hypothesis, but there is one major problem with this conclusion:

Genes are old. The problems with rampant childhood obesity are relatively new. Therefore, we must consider… Gene expression itself is heavily determined / influenced by environment.

I am certain that such a genetically influenced trend like an “activitystat” exists.
To attribute it as the sole cause of many kids getting little to no exercise and kids fitness non existent at all is a fallacy.

They make some really strong conclusions on their website (while fighting for what is reportedly an unlikely funding renewal):

http://www.earlybirddiabetes.org/findings.php

Unfortunately, they make definitive statements like:

“Children’s activity not determined by environmental opportunity Green spaces and sports centres do not influence the physical activity of children Like most things biological, a child’s activity level seems to be ‘set’ by the brain, and therefore strongly defended against change”

What they are missing: No matter what exists in the environment – children don’t have cars. If the parent does not bring, the child does not go! Anyone who works with children every day would know this. So to look just at the presence of green spaces and centres “around” where the child lives is an insufficient parameter.

The author fails in the article “Is PE a waste of time” and the researchers fail in the findings section of their own website to recognize the interaction of availability of play spaces in the neighborhood with the will of the parent, despite saying right above…

“Obese children – parents unaware and unconcerned. Today’s parents are oblivious of their children’s weight. Parents are key partners in the drive to halt obesity, but will have little impact unless educated to recognize the problem”
So, let me get this straight: You are making the conclusion that low activity is genetically predetermined and highly resistant to change, but recognize parental education as a major factor? How can both be true? C’mon SON!!!

Now, I will turn my attention to the title “Is PE a waste of time”. Clearly not, if well designed, by their own admission, because also in the findings section of the EarlyBird website is the following:

Children who keep active are no lighter, but they are metabolically healthier: The UK and US Governments advise at least 60 minutes moderate physical activity every day.

Only 42% of the EarlyBird boys and 11% of the girls met this guideline consistently over the three-year period from 5-8yr. Importantly (because governments use BMI as their outcome measure), there were no differences in the trend for BMI over the four time points in either sex, but the more active children became metabolically healthier.

The study questions the utility of BMI as the outcome measure of physical activity programmes in children and also whether the bar for girls should be lowered (girls systematically record less physical activity than boys). (Metcalf BS – Arch Dis Child 2008).

Look at the last statement above – BMI has been consistently used as a parameter for years in studies on childhood obesity / inactivity. This is why the article and many others are missing the point. This is not about weight. It is about the habits that CREATE the higher weight in some kids, but adversely AFFECT ALL CHILDREN.

In conclusion:

Despite my bashing this study, it provides some really valuable information on kids fitness. Pretty well designed and executed (it seems), the EarlyBird study helps us delve deeper in to the causal factors in childhood obesity/inactivity.

My quarrel is with the conclusions made by some of the researchers, and with the result that this will have in creating a certain appearance to the layperson. As an aside, I never use the term layperson in an insulting way. I know very little about solar panel engineering, so I am a layperson. It has nothing to do with intelligence level, just amount and intensity of study

Is PE a waste of time? If you only care about what children weigh when left to their own devices, yes. But yet again, I feel compelled to say as I often have – obesity is the sneeze.

Physical play, when done with children’s needs (and yes, wants) in mind, treats the disease of inactivity and lack of physical enjoyment. PE that concentrates on caloric expenditure and measuring BMI treats the symptom. This placates politicians and statisticians, but does very little for children.

Children need thoughtful play time and play spaces dedicated to and designed for their natural proclivities. They also need time playing with adults. Furthermore, adults need to be proactive in providing healthy foods to support the play.

Help End The Madness!

Click Here Right Now to Become a certified Youth Fitness Specialist Right Now and Contribute to the Solution of Youth Inactivity:

Training Young Athletes & Hmmmmm?

Training Young Athletes

by Toby J. Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, YCS-2, PES
Director of Research & Education – IYCA
Owner – www.nitrohype.com

 

Two Youth Fitness Things That Make Me Go HMMMMMMM?

 

I’ll admit it. I am older than much of the IYCA “core” demographic. After attending last year’s First Annual International Summit in Louisville, I walked away feeling somewhat surprised that I was actually experienced enough (read: old enough) to be considered a veteran in the field. That said, I am old enough to remember when The Arsenio Hall Show was the late night show to watch. One of my favorite bits was his now infamous “Things that make you go ‘hmmmmm?’” To further demonstrate how “seasoned” I am, also remember when a song of the same name by C & C Music Factory was getting heavy airplay in the rotation at my local pop station. Since I always get a little nostalgic during the Christmas season, I thought it appropriate to “blow the dust off” Arsenio’s bit and give it a youth fitness slant. So, without further ado, I give you “Two Youth Fitness Things That Make Me Go ‘Hmmmmm’.”

 

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Young Athletes: Are they an Oak or a Squash?

 

 

Young Athletes Development

“It takes God a hundred years to make an oak, but it only takes Him two months to make a squash.” –President James Garfield

 

In our results-now, win at all costs, sports-crazed society, many athletes, coaches, parents, and professionals seem to have lost sight of the goal of sport and physical activity for growing young athletes.  What is currently widely marketed as “athletic development” by individuals across the country is, in many instances, quick-fix training designed to show immediate results.  While results are great, young athletes and their parents and coaches must be certain that such short-term improvements don’t compromise long term outcomes.  The following represents an incomplete list of potential warning signs that may indicate that programming may be too short sighted in nature to be optimally effective.

 

1.    Heavy emphasis on measureable assessments to demonstrate progress. Developing children will usually improve no matter what type of stimulus is introduced; the key is finding the optimal training approach.  Testing eight year olds in the 40 yard dash or in the vertical leap may be acceptable, but developing an entire training program around such testing is laughable.  Competent professionals are more interested in mechanics and the acquisition of steadily improving motor patterns rather than showing stunning improvements in “measurable” early on.

 

2.    Short-term programming. Six and eight week programs are popular and certainly have their place in contemporary athletic development facilities; however, the main utility of such programs should be to introduce athletes, parents, and coaches to the long-term athlete development model.  Beware any facility that does not offer long-term training plans, as it is impossible to effectively develop a young athlete with such a myopic approach.

 

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Youth Fitness Industry: How to Send The Wrong Message

 

 

Youth Fitness Industry

If you haven’t already, the recent Time Magazine cover story about
the Myth of Exercise is a must read for you.

 

You can access the article here –

 

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1914857,00.html

 

Here’s the one sentence that caught my attention most:

 

"I have exercised like this — obsessively, a bit grimly — for years,
but recently I began to wonder: Why am I doing this? Except for a two-year
period at the end of an unhappy relationship — a period when I self-medicated
with lots of Italian desserts — I have never been overweight"

 

Overweight.

 

Because, of course, in our aesthetic culture, getting "skinny" is the only
reason one would have to engage in physical activity.

 

If you haven’t yet, please read this article.

 

Then, click on the link below, head over to my blog, and tell me
what you think.

 

To me, this is mismanaged information to the highest degree.

 

And I’m dying to know what you think.

 

Leave your comments below…

 

Tired of the same misinformation floating around about exercise and
the youth fitness industry?

 

Time to take a stand.

 

Click on the link below to find out how…

 

http://www.iyca.org/fitspecialist1.html

 

Physical Education Injuries: 150% Increase

Physical Education Injuries alarm bells

IYCA Member, Mike Howard, sent me a link to this incredible article.

 

I was floored.

 

Stunned.

 

And completely annoyed.

 

150% increase Physical Education injuries.

 

Read the article and then be sure to leave me your comments about
why exactly you think this has become such a problem.

 

I feel very strongly that I know the answer.

 

And tomorrow I’m going to tell you what it is.

 

But for now, I want to hear your thoughts.

 

Here’s the article:

 

 

New national study finds increase in P.E. class-related injuries

 

Annual number of cases increased 150 percent from 1997-2007

 

Physical education (PE) in schools is one of the main tools used to increase physical activity and to prevent childhood obesity, and PE-related injuries are on the rise. Although increasing physical activity may reduce obesity, it may also increase the risk of injury. While recognizing that PE classes and physical activity are important components in combating obesity, parents and school administrators should remain vigilant for injuries. A recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that the number of PE-related injuries to elementary, middle and high school students in the United States increased 150 percent between 1997 and 2007.

 

According to the study, published in the online issue of Pediatrics, the most common PE-related injuries were lower-extremity sprains and strains (23 percent), followed by upper extremity sprains and strains (14 percent) and fractures (14 percent). Middle school-aged children (11-14 years of age) accounted for the majority of PE-related injuries (52 percent). Elementary school-aged children (5-10 years of age) had almost double the odds of a head injury, compared with other injuries.

 

Nearly 70 percent of PE-related injuries occurred while children were participating in six activities (running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics). Injuries were caused by contact with another person, playing surface, equipment, stationary structures, pulled muscles, overuse and activity-related illnesses such as heat stroke.

 

"The 150 percent increase in PE-related injuries presenting to emergency departments was consistent across gender and age groups. It is unlikely that this increase was attributable to an increase in PE participation," explained study author Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Identifying patterns of PE-related injuries is the first step toward preventing them. Injury prevention education should be made a priority for all PE activities, especially for those activities with the highest injury rates."

 

This is the first published study to examine PE-related injuries on a national level. Data for this study were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS dataset provides information on consumer product-related and sports and recreation-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the country.

 

Exercise Programs For Kids: Tip of the Week

 

 

Exercise Programs For Kids From The IYCA

I had a great conversation today with brilliant and passionate
IYCA Member, Billy Corbett.

 

He mentioned that while tooling around on the IYCA website,
something caught his eye that he knew he had seen before, but
never really paid close attention to –

 

The photograph of me running around and playing with a group
of small children.

 

"It occurred to me that I should be doing more stuff like that, Brian"
Billy told me over the phone.

 

"Is that kind of coaching a good idea when working with kids?"

 

Excellent question and an easy answer….

 

Yes!
HECK yes!

 

There is certainly a fine line between goofing around with your
young clients and enjoying physical activity with them.

 

In my 13 years of coaching Exercise Programs For Kids experience, I can tell you that one of
the fastest and most practical ways of creating relationships with
youngsters that will bridge a level of trust and keep them coming
back for more (i.e. member retention) is to section off a period of
class time during which you participate in a game with them.

 

In fact, my standard training session for kids between the ages of
6 – 9 looks something like this –

 

1) Introductions (5 minutes)
2) Technique Instruction (5 minutes)
3) Technique Play (10 minutes)
4) Technique Instruction 2 (5 minutes)
5) Technique Play 2 (10 minutes)
6) Free Play (10 minutes)

 

And #6 is where I jump in and play WITH them during the Exercise Programs For Kids!

 

They love it, I love it and the parents LOVE it!

 

Be sure to get down and dirty with your young clients and play
with them during certain period of your training session.

 

To learn more about my Exercise Programs For Kids training system and why this ‘play time’
is absolutely critical to the proper growth and development of your
young clients, click on the link below to access the IYCA’s Level 1
Youth Fitness Specialist certification –

 

http://www.iyca.org/fitspecialist1.html

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Brian