Help! I Volunteered to Coach and Am Clueless!

Tell me if this is you or has been you:  “Mom or Dad, be my (fill in the sport) coach this year, please!”  You have no clue about much in that sport much less any kind of true fitness knowledge, yet now you’re in charge of 10-15 kids and they expect you to know and show them all how to be professionals.  So you ask another parent to volunteer and be your trusted assistant, maybe they have some kind of sports and/or fitness knowledge.  Somewhere in your mind you remember your football or PE teacher who coached football, and make the kids do the same warmups you did in high school.  The recreation district gave you a book to read and use to teach the sport and some drills, but who has time for that?  Each practice you hope nobody gets hurt, no parents yell at you, your kid still talks to you, and you go undefeated by some miracle.

Unfortunately this scenario plays out all over the country, in every sport, every season of every year.  What is being done to educate volunteer parents on fitness and age appropriate exercises so kids keep coming back past the age of 13?  The answer is not much to nothing at all.  The majority of kids do not start at a travel team level and do not advance to that level.  Most kids just want to have fun with some friends and winning comes later.  With all of the issues dealing with government, recreation district leaders do not invest in providing volunteer coaches with the proper tools to teach kids how to be overall better athletes and develop a love for all sports.

As we all know, the more educated you are in a subject the greater the appreciation you have for it.  It is about time recreation districts provide a way for volunteer coaches to be better and have more confidence in leading their teams.  With the technology of devices today, a systematic approach to age appropriate fitness can be provided along with the old handouts on a specific sport.  That is what my company, Movement Academy, is working on with a sports complex in Hammond, LA.  No infrastructure needs to be invested, and all coaches in all sports benefit.  Kids are smarter because their brains are stimulated properly, they will stick to sports longer, less injuries occur, and more revenue is generated as a result of all the above.

Recreational sports are the backbones of communities.  Kids from different schools meet each other and develop friendships, parents develop new friendships, and lifelong memories are made.  It is truly about having fun, learning socialization skills, and having new experiences by playing a variety of sports.  Suggest to your rec district leaders to invest in providing volunteer coaches better tools.  Everyone wins in the end.  For a free report on how fundamental movements improve cognitive ability and reduce injury, call 985-276-9394.  Leave your name and email address and the report will be sent to you FREE.  You have no obligation to purchase anything.

Everything starts on the grassroots level.  Let’s get this movement going today!

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Dirty Secret School Administrators Don’t Want Parents to Know

Remember the days when you had recess in the morning and either at lunchtime or in the afternoon?  You ran around with your friends, sometimes played games or sometimes played on whatever equipment was on the playground.  Besides us as kids getting a break, the teachers got a break also from standing in front of the class and trying to educate while making sure nobody misbehaved.  Aside from “the bad kid” most days everyone got along and class ran smoothly.

Fast forward to today’s culture of low to no opportunities for physical activity in most schools.  Kids are in class longer, no recess or playtime even at lunch, and a lot more homework than adults ever remember in elementary and junior high.  In fact, taking away recess and PE are now punishments which end up being inflicted upon the teacher because now kids are more riled up and harder to handle.  Now add in the waivers and ease of getting out of PE for worthless reasons like “my child gets out of breath when running.”  Really?  No kidding, what an update.  Maybe your child needs to run in addition to you, Mr. & Mrs. Overweight Parent.

Where does this culture start?  At the top of the food chain, like any other company and organization.  The attitudes of principals and administrators on physical activity and education plays a direct role in how much your child gets daily and weekly.  When was the last time your school’s principal or administrator truly got out and observed PE like they do for math, science, and language arts?  PE teachers need accountability and steps for improvement like all other subjects.  Rolling the ball out and making kids stand in line doesn’t teach them physical education.  It’s recess and lack of caring by the top down.  As parents, you have the right to have PE actually teach something to your children.

What’s the dirty secret all these educational experts don’t want you to know?

Physical activity and true physical education make your kids smarter!

Don’t believe me?  Maybe Harvard Medical School can convince you.

Yep, that’s right.  Getting out of the classroom to move around reduces behavior problems and helps their brains to grow.  Inflicting endless hours of homework and more classroom time hasn’t done us the good they promised decades ago.  The result is higher obesity, higher healthcare costs, lazier society with entitlement, and more “psychological” problems.  All of this can be reduced or eliminated with some fun and movement.  But SSSHHHHHHH don’t tell school administrators this. They still think higher test scores come from Common Core.

Don’t be too hard on them though.  They just need some light shared on the benefits of physical activity and physical education.  Help them by letting companies like Movement Academy shed light on the subject.  In the end everyone truly does win by moving around more.  The conclusion, be vocal with your school leaders to ensure they are maximizing physical activity and physical education.  Let us help you, email us at info@movementacademy.net.

#thoughtfulthursday #education #teacher #school #parents

Educating the Physical Educator

Professional development is a standard part of being a teacher.  While in school, I thought teacher in service days were awesome because I got a day off and the teachers really didn’t do anything worthwhile and also had a similar vacation day. Fast forward to now, my company, Movement Academy, puts on professional development seminars for PE teachers.  In reality, the teachers don’t have a full day off and hopefully learn a few valuable lessons to make them more effective.

To date, we have conducted seminars throughout Louisiana and in the Birmingham, AL, area.  One alarming issue is consistent, physical education teachers do not receive the same professional development attention as STEM and core subject teachers.  PE teachers unfortunately are viewed as elective instructors and not necessary for ongoing new learning.  Many school districts we talk too do not have dedicated professional development for PE, instead lumping them in with other elective courses or forcing them to scavenge for something they can talk about.  Last time I checked, childhood obesity and inactivity is still an issue talked about on the news, but school boards like to dodge the issue and not give their teachers and coaches anything consistent to combat the problem.

PE teachers thirst for knowledge to keep their classes interesting and renew their personal “why” just like other teachers.  To prevent “roll the ball out”mentality that is too prevalent, school boards have to invest the same attention and money into true physical education.  Where can it start, with parents who take an active interest in their child’s physical health besides their ability to read and write.  Obese and inactive children become obese and inactive adults that are out of work more, and cost more money from insurance companies and employers to keep around.  Where does it start, in PE every day and week.  Unlike subject specific teachers, PE teachers and coaches teach EVERY child in the school and sometimes EVERY year depending on school size.  Yet why are they being neglected to improve their skills and abilities to make an impact on the most important aspect of living, our health!

 

The common theme to why PE is treated like a step child is due to no standardized testing.  States and school districts leave the how and what to test up to individual teachers.  Human nature is to follow the path of least resistance, so with nothing definite to hold people accountable, what do you think is the outcome?  It’s the 80/20 rule, 20% of the PE teachers really care and do 80% of the push to improve their skills.  Nobody will admit to it, but I promise if a secret camera could be used to show what is done in PE, the 80/20 rule is 100% in effect.  Superintendents, administrators, principals, state leaders, start showing PE teachers and coaches love by providing regular and dedicated professional development.  EVERYONE BENEFITS!!

 

Physical literacy is the same as reading literacy, it must be taught and nurtured to grow strong and have a true appreciation for a lifetime.  Please contact me regardless of where you live, to start a wave of professional development for physical educators.  If you are in a leadership position, I challenge you to start this month with your PE teachers.  Email me, Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com, and I will help you get started.

#thursdaythoughts #thankfulthursday

 

Balance: The Great Equalizer

#workoutwednesday #wellnesswednesday

As a personal trainer since 2008, I have worked with clients of all ages, sizes, and types of health goals.  The one aspect of fitness that all of them struggled on is balance.  In a recent training session with a client, another male gym member who works out religiously and is in great shape, commented on a balance movement I was teaching a female over 50 client.  When I asked him to try the simple movement of touching his toe with a slightly flexed knee standing on one foot, he fell over.  Reaching down to touch your toe standing on one foot is not complicated and does not require massive amounts of strength.  You might say, “Oh I can do that, no problem,” and you may be able too.  Can you do it equally well on either foot?

 

Dictionary.com defines balance a number of ways and parts of speech.  The best definition they have for my purpose is a state of bodily equilibrium.  Can you maintain equilibrium when placed in unsteady positions, that is the whole key to balance in a physical fitness and exercise standpoint.  How do you improve balance?  You have to work on it consistently.  If you are a gym goer, try movements like dumbbell bicep curls on one foot, use a BOSU ball for standing dumbbell shoulder presses, try a one leg RDL/toe touch.  When talking about the over 60 population, balance is where life can literally fall apart.

The CDC says falls are the number one cause of injury in senior citizens.  Fall prevention programs are usually part of senior care facilities and medical personnel training that work in those environments.  When I teach the over 60 workout class at the health club I work at, they all want to improve their balance. My individual clients in the same age group also want more balance training because they know it is a fine line between injury and full mobility.  The CDC suggests two or more days a week of muscle strengthening activities for older adults.  Get off the machines and use free weights.  Make the body stabilize and balance in a variety of positions.  More muscle used equals more calories burned anyway, so don’t be afraid of the 10 lb dumbbells.

You may be asking, “How do I find balance exercises and do them safely without killing myself?”  There are a number of answers to fit everyone’s budget.  You can hire a personal trainer like me at your gym/health club, join a group exercise class, find a program online, or make something up at home.  Whatever you do as an active older adult, make sure you stick too it and afford.  For the online group, my company Movement Academy has a program to help called Active Aging System.  For a limited time, it is only $10.95 per month and guaranteed to help you improve your balance.  Check it out, no contract and very affordable.

 

Balance is key to a longer, healthier life in every aspect.

Matt Peale is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer since 2008.  You can contact him at mpeale@ltmacademy.com and give the Active Aging System a try if you are comfortable with online programs.

Being on the Frontline of Childhood Obesity

#motivationmonday #childhoodobesity #parents #obesity

Childhood obesity is not a new topic.  It’s talked about on the news, internet, and in print media.  Like a lot of issues, people like to think it does not apply to their family, students, or children.  The fact is the opposite.  It is everyone’s responsibility to teach healthy habits to our youth.  Kids learn how to eat and lead a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle from parents and teachers.  In giving seminars to PE teachers, we stress the importance of being the fitness and health role model just like math, social studies, and science teachers are the role models for those subjects.  The role of PE teachers is changing from a sport coach to a group fitness instructor.  Look at the PE standards coming out on a national and state level.  They don’t emphasize teach kids how to play football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.  Instead the standards emphasize movement and all around fitness.  Remember, only .5% of youth who play sports actually make a living at it on a professional level.  What about the 99.5% of us who have to get real jobs and figure out how to eat and exercise on our own?

The only way childhood obesity can be reduced and eliminated is by being the role model as parents and teachers for healthy, active lifestyle.  It’s ok to enjoy vegging on the couch and having dessert/sweet treats, just not on a daily basis.  Nobody wins when the whole family is sluggish, overweight, and inactive.  PE teachers, are you active and making overall good choices to show your students?  Can you perform the movements properly in teaching your classes?  If a math teacher doesn’t know their long division, they do not stay math teachers long.  If a PE teacher cannot demonstrate movements and be healthy, there is no penalty.  That doesn’t seem right.

Children do not pay for food and put it in the grocery cart.  Children also do not get paid to teach physical education and teach healthy habits.  It does not take drastic changes, just small ones on a daily basis.  Do not buy those cookies this week, instead buy fresh fruit.  Set aside 20 minutes to get your own exercise in twice this week.  Small changes lead to larger changes in time.  Start small and work your way into big, the brain and body will guide you automatically.  Your kids will thank you, I promise!

Can Exercise Improve the Mood of Hormonal Teens?

#workoutwednesday #wellnesswednesday

I am the father of a teenager.  It’s almost like being part of a recovery group for those that have or had teens.  They are moody, stubborn, and know-it-alls.  Sometimes, we think they aren’t even human.  So besides sending them to an island or planet far away from the rest of normal humanity, what can be done to keep the rest of us from wanting to strangle them?  Could exercise help, at least a little?

Believe it or not, the teenage brain functions from the same hormones and mechanoreceptors as an adult brain.  Be it their hormones are raging at a completely different level, they are the same hormones as adults.  When humans exercise, endorphins are released to make us feel good and reduce our perception of pain.  “Runners high” is an example of this feeling.  Our attitudes are more positive and outlook on life for a little bit is much better.  Self esteem improves and our physical appearance is more pleasing to ourselves usually also.  According to WebMD, exercise can be a treatment for depression.  So maybe we should just tell our teenagers to get around the block a few times!

What exercise should hormonal teens do?  If you ask them, their answer is only something that involves texting or watching YouTube.  Obviously we are getting away from that, so the answer is something they can enjoy and sustain enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be high intensity constant motion for 60 minutes.  Going on bike rides and hikes are still fun activities for all ages.  We are all in much better moods after exercising in groups, so make socialization a part of it.  For some teens, poor body image and self esteem prevent them from being more socially active.  Exercising with them can ease their fears and a possible change in their physical appearance is the welcome side effect they are looking for.  When you do physical activity outside, a whole world of additional benefits opens up also from stimulating all of the senses too.

Before we stick them on that rocket to space and ship to the deserted island, let’s encourage our teens by being active with them.  It may not hurt us to lose a few pounds and step away from the devices either.  Consult a doctor if serious depression or suicidal thoughts occur.  For the “normal” raging teen, maybe tiring them out outside like we used to do when they were small, can still be a good strategy.

 

If you have any other strategies for dealing with teens, please share them with Matt at mpeale@ltmacademy.com, so he can help other parents not strangle their teens!

 

Physical Activity & Physical Exercise, Aren’t They The Same?

#Wellnesswednesday and #workouwednesday are perfect hashtags for figuring out if there is a difference between physical activity and physical exercise.  People say they “get their exercise” from cleaning the house, taking care of young children, gardening/mowing the lawn, etc.  While those activities do take energy and make you tired after a few hours or all day of doing them, are they truly exercise?

The medical definition of physical activity is the quality or process of exerting energy or of accomplishing an effect.  Per the definition, physical activity does result in fatigue from exerting energy for any duration.  Nothing is specific about what kind of process or the purpose of that process.  Also, nothing  is mentioned about health related benefits.  Is physical activity important to an overall healthy lifestyle?  The answer is absolutely yes.  You need to be physically active at some point during the day to engage various muscles of the body and elevate your heart rate above its resting state.  The definition applies to all age groups, there is no discrimination.  After cleaning the house or mowing the lawn, the physical activity does have a caloric use value, and possibly enough muscle contractions to have a growth or strengthening effect.

The medical definition of physical exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body. Exercise is used to improve health, maintain fitness and is important as a means of physical rehabilitation.   Exercise is a physical activity, but so much more!  Back to mowing the lawn and cleaning the house, those activities are not planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body.  To say “I got my exercise today because I cleaned the house,” is false.  Cleaning the house is NOT exercise.  

For children and adults over 65 there are various guidelines from the CDC on how much physical activity and physical exercise each group needs per day and week.  Be sure you know what is appropriate for your current fitness level and seek professional help when appropriate.  Let us be honest with ourselves when we look in the mirror and see the results of physical exercise in our lives.  Similar discussion to being busy vs productive, know the difference and make the changes in your life.  The internet has allowed everyone of all income levels to have resources and information about physical exercise, take advantage of it.  Living longer, healthier, and happier are pretty good reasons to exercise for a healthy and active lifestyle.

 

If you agree or disagree with Matt Peale, comment below or send him an email to mpeale@ltmacademy.com.  Movement Academy may be right for you or someone you love, check it out and see.  If not, find something that does work for you.