Quitting Sports at 13

#workoutwednesday #wellnesswednesday

Turning 13 is a big deal for kids.  They begin the true coming of age process and their bodies start wholesale changes mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Each child is different on when they start this maturation process as it doesn’t happen the day they turn 13.  With these changes comes more desire for independence and a stronger focus on what a child likes to do for fun, hobbies, and sports.  While all these changes are new and exciting for the child, they are not always so for parents.

Follow the story, your child plays soccer and basketball and has for the past 3 years in each sport.  He or she is above average, has friends they hangout with in both sports, appears to enjoy practices and games,  and is free from major injury. One day your child walks into the kitchen and announces they are done playing both sports.  You are confused and maybe angry about this choice and ask why.  The answer of “I’m just tired of it,” doesn’t satisfy you and you press on for a reason.  Your pressing meets with more roadblocks then a final, loud expression of anger by your child and he or she stomps away to their room.  You are still standing there dumbstruck and powerless, wondering what just happened and why.

Many sources report a 70% dropout rate of kids who quit sports at 13.  This is not a new topic, but still one that continues to hold interest of parents, coaches, and teachers.  In addition, there is not a single source problem or solution.  One aspect that we at Movement Academy address is teaching sports specific skills to soon in a child’s physical development.  We believe in the long term athletic development philosophy of teaching fundamental movement skills to ALL youth until the pubescent growth curve.  The rationale is giving kids a stronger base of confidence and support in being athletic for life, not just playing a high level of competition in one sport.  The Canadian Sport for Life model is the best worldwide model of this.

The financial impact of youth sports is now a multi billion dollar industry, and not especially regulated with a child’s health & safety as a primary goal.  Parents pay 10% and sometimes more of their income for their 10 year old to travel every weekend and practice 4 nights a week for up to 2 hours per practice.  While no science states this specialization at an early age makes children better, it certainly generates more revenue of which sports teams and clubs are not about to give up. Youth sports is now “Keeping up with the Joneses,” and the short intense rush ends up to be a long slow burn.  The enjoyment and fun is too quickly replaced by the win now at all costs.

Wouldn’t it be great to have more recreational sports available till the age of at least 16?  How much healthier would our society be with more kids being active for more years?  Yes, winning and losing are important lessons to learn, this is not about the “participation trophy.”  Instead, it’s about helping youth maintain a physically fit lifestyle where they can have fun playing sports they enjoy, even though they are not the top talent.  Remember, less than 5% of kids get D1 scholarships.  Sure, make wins and losses count, while continuing all the intangibles sports provide, just on a less win or die trying system.  Lots of adult leagues exist in a variety of sports, no need to make a person wait 10-15 years before doing something they truly love again.

The sad truth is money makes the world go round, and this trend of sports specialization from the womb to feed someone’s wallet isn’t stopping soon.  Parents, keep kids in multiple sports for their entire youth and make sure they are physically literate.  You are the frontline and decide if Coach Joe Knowitall gets to coach your child.  Encourage the fun and give your kids proper fundamental training before they go all in on something.  You were once 10, and have memories of what made you love being on the field or court.  Help your kids make those memories last longer and for a lifetime of being fit and active.

If you don’t agree or want to give support, contact Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com.  He wants to hear from you.  Also check out his company Movement Academy.

 

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Health Risks and Poor Health Symptoms Don’t Wait for January

Thanksgiving is a week away, then Christmas and New Year’s a month after that.  For many people, this mean’s stopping whatever “healthy habits” they had developed in 2017.  If it truly is a habit, then life continues as is regardless of the calendar.  For those not so much a habit, then the insanity of the same cycle begins again.  The gym is less crowded now, eating habits slack off since Halloween, and focus is now on Black Friday.  The unfortunate part of all the “holiday cheer” is your body still requires the same attention now as it did in January, April, and June, when you tried to get in shape for the new year, spring break, and summer.  For those in the over 60 community, another host of health risks continue to move forward when caring for the body slows or stops.

Dementia and memory problems don’t just happen overnight, they are progressive over months and possibly years.  When you actually notice them and go to a doctor, it could be too late.  Lack of exercise, poor diet, and inadequate sleep all are major contributors to when and how severe these diseases are when they strike.  It starts with small lapses like forgetting why you walk into a room, or just a little off balance when stepping out of the car.  You may think it’s a one-time occurrence, but much sooner than you realize it becomes a regular occurrence which you deem natural life changes.  Yes, they are natural life changes, but you accelerated them due to health behavioral changes.  Does all this mean gloom and doom with eminent death tomorrow??  The answer is, no.

We are all humans and prefer the path of least resistance.  In saying that and as I write this in south Louisiana where we LOVE to eat, drink, and be merry year round; be mindful of what you do more as a 60+ population.  Continue working on your fitness with balance, agility, and coordination exercises in the gym, at home, or with friends.  Have a piece of cake or pie, just not everyday, same with a cocktail.  Those who mix in moderation on a weekly basis do not overdose on food and booze during the holidays.  Stroke and heart attack don’t wait for January  1 when you start the same resolutions that end on January 31.

You can’t undo years of abuse and neglect to yourself in one day, week, or month.  You can begin to change the aging process each day and start TODAY!!  Going cold turkey from daily dessert and 3 beers is hard.  Start today by going down to 2 beers and skip dessert every-other-day.  Soon you’ll see small changes and feel better which makes you want to do more.  Practice standing on one leg for 10 seconds once a day, then add a second time a day next week.  All of these small, easily accomplished adjustments reduce your risk of falls, injuries and disease.  Before you know it, your doctor may smile more and possibly take you off one of the 10 pills you take each day.

 

To sum it up, health issues don’t wait for resolutions and a sunny day.  They strike when you least expect it and the damage cannot be reversed.  Literally make today the first day of the rest of your life by adjusting one small part of your health.  1, 5, 10 years from now, you’ll be happy you’re looking down at the ground and surrounded by friends wearing bright clothes, not them wearing black looking down at the ground where you’re buried.

 

For help with balance, agility, and coordination, try Movement Academy this year. We guarantee you’ll stay on your feet and make it a holiday season to remember!

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.

Too Specialized too Soon

Spending thousands of dollars on a single sport for a child only to see that child get burned out in 3 years, is that a quality time and financial investment?  Unfortunately a large percentage of parents all around the United States have bought in hook, line, and sinker into this horrendous brainwashing.  The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine has seen the surgical curve for overuse injuries drop from 18-20 year olds, to 12-14 year olds.  Why is this happening?  Because kids are being wrongfully told they have to compete in one sport only from the age of 6-8 and up.

When we are talking about long term athletic development, sports specialization does not occur until after puberty.  Children are still learning fundamental movement skills to achieve basic strength, balance, and stability.  Not to mention their mental capacity to focus on more intense competition is also still being developed.  Youth sports has become a big business and has lost its focus on creating a well rounded, athletic child.  The importance to win now and forfeit learning has become ingrained way to early in a child’s life.

What can parents do to reduce this one sport win now pressure?  Sign your child up for multiple sports while they are young and let them decide what they enjoy.  All of the top professional athletes played a variety of sports growing up.  It was not until they reached junior high or high school they began to specialize more, and even then they starred in multiple sports.  Do not let the pressure of coaches who want to line their pockets be the deciding influence on your 9 year old.  Registering them for exercise classes at your gym/health club is another great way to show them alternative healthy activities for those not interested in specific sports.  Learn To Move Academy is developing a system for individuals to purchase so children learn these fundamental movements at home.  Finally make sure they have fun.  Learning winning and losing is important and not everyone is a champion for the season, but having fun in the process is vital to returning for more seasons.

 

Matt Peale is an NASM certified personal trainer since 2008 and works with youth both as a trainer and partner in Learn To Move Academy.  Email Matt at mpeale@ltmacademy.com with any questions and comments.

Balancing Act for Seniors

Slips, trips, falls.  Broken hips, wrists, and twisted ankles.  Taking a wobbly step and recovering as a 30 or 40 year old something becomes more difficult as a 60 and 70 year old something.  One of the first physical attributes to go as a senior citizen is balance.  Often times we take balance for granted that it will always be there when we need it.  The unfortunate true story is that balance is a use it or lose it skill.

According to the CDC, one-third of adults over 65 fall each year.  Some of the reasons may be medical such as positional vertigo, Labrynthitis, and vestibular neuronitis.  In these cases a doctor can diagnose and treat with medication the symptoms and or causes of the disease.  When no medical condition exists, it is often due to atrophy and lack of use due to sedentary lifestyle.  The good news for non medical issues is that balance can be relearned and to an extent restored.  In teaching senior exercise classes, one common area they all want to work on are movements to regain the balance they lost over time.  Quality of life for otherwise healthy seniors is typically top of the list for why they exercise.  So the question becomes, what can someone do to stabilize and improve their balance.

A simple yet can feel complex move is to stand on one leg and bend at the waist to touch your knee, ankle, or toes.  Sounds easy enough, and you would be very surprised to see how many people regardless of age fall over from this basic task.  Another balance move even more basic is to stand on one leg for 5 to 10 seconds.  Try doing it on each leg not just your dominate side.  Once these movements are mastered, do them with eyes closed.  Not having any visual cues is a game changer and can be more challenging then when you first started eyes open.  There are many pieces of equipment to use like BOSU balls, physio balls, and balance plates, but if standing on one leg is difficult, no use investing in equipment to clutter the house.

 

How do you know if your balance is really off, try doing an everyday task on one leg.  At first it will be difficult, but if you can master it in a few attempts that is normal and remember to use both legs individually.  If the task still cannot be mastered after multiple attempts, it may be time to invest into a program that can stabilize, strengthen, and improve coordination of your muscles.  According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non fatal injuries for older Americans.  Look into a program like Learn To Move Academy, and don’t be part of these statistics, get up and move around everyday.  Just being active may save your life!

 

Matt Peale is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer since 2008 and a partner in New Orleans area based Learn To Move Academy.  You can Like Learn To Move Academy on Facebook and email Matt at mpeale@ltmacademy.com.