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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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.

Mixing Recreation & Exercise for Seniors and Baby Boomers

Today I started a new journey of hosting a streaming internet show called The Second Half: Health & Fitness Show broadcast live on Facebook.  I have never hosted anything live on any kind of media so it was a pretty amazing experience!  The first Thursday of every month I will be interviewing people in the health and fitness field who’s market are Baby Boomers and senior citizens.  The guest today was C Hope Health Services and its owner Wesley Cornelius.  I met Wesley at a networking meeting earlier this year and we hit it off as our businesses relate and overlap.

Wesley is a recreational therapist and went to the same college I did, the University of Southern Mississippi, but he is a bit younger than me.  Our interview involved combining exercise and recreation to create an optimal enjoyment for physical activity.  One of the commonalities of recreational therapy and physical exercise is the positive effects they have on cognitive response.  Physical exercise helps to improve neuroplasticity which then enables a person to have more intellectual stimulation from games and social interaction.  Creating the new neural pathways that complex movements and aerobic training allows for more and longer enjoyment of games that require thought and strategy.  Combined with doing recreational therapy in a social setting with new and old friends, a person experiences a deeper pleasure and satisfaction with themselves.

At the end of the day, if exercise and activity are not fun, a person will not stick with it.  They know the physical, mental, and social benefits, but it does not matter without any enjoyment.  When looking or directing an older family member/friend to be more active, remember it can be a combination of activities that they enjoy doing.  It is easier said than done at times when a loved one refuses to be active, but don’t give up on them.  Find out what they consider fun, then gear exercise and games toward it.  Your success rate will be much higher and the smile on their face a lot broader when they truly love being active and healthy.

Matt Peale does his best to make exercise fun for his personal training clients, although sometimes in the process they don’t like him.  But you can create your own fun with Movement Academy’s Active Aging System for Boomers and seniors. Contact Matt at mpeale@ltmacademy with any questions. #thoughtfulthursday #babyboomers #exercise #workout

 

 

 

 

 

FUNdamentals For Physical Development

You see a 7 year old child in his or her’s second year of playing soccer and that child is one of the best players on the field for either team.  Parents, coaches, and even referees comment about that child is scholarship material and SHOULD now play only soccer.  The academy/select level coach hears about this child and tells the parents to get a private coach and sign up for their team, giving up the other sports & activities.  Does this sound familiar?

In teaching physical literacy, children 6-9 years old are still learning how to move their bodies in space.  Developing overall agility, balance, coordination, and speed is the main idea for an overall better moving child.  Playing structured and unstructured games using their entire body in different environments (water, ground, and air) gives them the skills necessary to be healthier and active, not just the glimmer of the 2% club getting a D1 scholarship.  Learning how to make decisions with and without a ball, in space with other kids around, and what is proper behavior in a variety of games are all vital skills needed at this age to be a better athlete if the child chooses as a teenager and beyond.

Early sports specialization does not promote a superstar athlete.  Many factors come into play that changes a child’s desire, skill, and motivation to continue playing a specific sport.  Tell that advanced level coach NO!  It is way too early for your child to choose one and only one sport spending thousands of dollars to play.  No evidence says entering a select level team at the age of seven means a professional contract is waiting for them in high school.  Enroll them in a variety of sports/activities so they can find an interest to pursue as they approach adolescents and then develop sports specific skills.  The fact of playing multiple sports reduces fatigue, dropout, and overuse injuries seen way to often at the prepubescent stage.

It’s called FUNdamentals because FUN is a huge part of physical activity.  When a child is not having fun, they have poor attitudes, performance, and behavior issues.  Yes, they will naturally gravitate to an activity or sport they like more, but until they try a variety, they may find something else they like better.  Don’t beat up your kid, physically and mentally, at this age for competition.  They know the score and will typically forget it a few hours or days after the game anyway.  Encourage, smile, and laugh with them to help foster a love for physical activity that can lead them to a healthier, active life when YOU, and they realize being a professional athlete is not in their future.

For more info on physical literacy, check out ShapeAmerica and their guidelines for PE and overall active habits.  For a great long term athletic development and physical literacy program, Movement Academy is a web based program for your school and sports organization.  Contact Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com for any questions or comments.