Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Year in review 2008

In January 2008 I opened my eyes not knowing what to expect with the New Year. What should I be looking for? What new projects should I be attempting? I knew that I was going to have the Weight Loss Challenge starting in a few days and I was very excited to get that started but I was also concerned about the economy and what my business would look like at the middle and then end of the year.

Things were going along just fine. I had more people join and the Weight Loss Challenge was going along very well. Then one day after my step class I run into a member and she informs me that a friend had died just the other night. She was hit by a drunk driver on rt67. To say the least I was very said and concerned for the family. After a few minutes I also figured out that the person who died had two children and one on the way. I was told that there was four people in the car and two survived. One was a boy and he played on my son’s soccer team.

I had gone to the school where she taught that next Monday and the mood at the school was very somber. People were walking around in a daze trying to figure out if it was really true. I remember seeing the Superintendant in the hallway and I asked her what if anything I could do. Besides praying for the family the idea of some sort of an event in remembrance of her would be a good idea. At that point my brain kicked in and, in a short period of time, put together a 5k walk run in remembrance of Jennifer and her daughter. Over 500 people ended up participating and it was a success*.

After finishing the Weight Loss Challenge, I found myself day dreaming again and decided to put on a program I called Shape Time (people not quite obese but 15 to 30 pounds overweight). I ran this in July thru August and once again it was a success*.

A few weeks later, while at my son’s track meet, I was watching the kids warm up and noticed that they did not, in any way, loosen themselves up enough to compete at the levels I knew they could compete at. I also noticed that they just could not perform well against people they really should be beating. After my son finished the Junior Olympics I decided that it would be a good thing if I started at strength and flexibility class for kids and run it 10 weeks. Well that seems to have been a success* also.

This next year I am going to continue to improve on these programs with the hope that I can continually help people help themselves.

*success as I define it is helping people change their life for the better.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Speed and Flexibility Camp

One of the biggest problems we have in this society that I see is that our children are very inflexible. There are studies that have been done that say they can prove that stretching adds no more of an advantage then if you were just to do some calisthenics before your event. They say that at the end of a particular event your body has not benefited from initially being stretch and that the difference in performance is nominal.

Whereas I can see that in some events this theory can be true, I tend to challenge it in most sports. My argument is that our muscles over normal use take on a great load (stress) everyday. With that in mind a constant tearing down of these muscles lead to lactic acid development and this causes soreness (D.O.M.S.). Have you ever noticed that a day after doing something strenuous your can hardly move in that same way the next day? Have you ever been to a massage therapist and received a massage on a sore part of your anatomy and then after words felt much better? Have you ever been to a Physical Therapist and received treatments for a joint or muscle you may have injured? What do all of these professionals do and have in common, they stretch out that muscle to remove the lactic acid from that spot.

Now for our children. One of the most important things that they need to do is stretch. My reasons are as follows;1) Allows body to grow in a less stressed state, especially in the joint regions.
2) Allows the body to perform at its maximum, while minimizing the risk if injury.
3) Allows you to sit in much more relaxed stated and takes stress off opposing muscle groups

Let’s look at each one of these separately.

Stretching allows your child’s body to grow in a less stressed state, especially in the joint regions: What I am referring to there are your child’s growth plates. Have you ever tried to put a weed in a confined area and then have it grow? Yes the weed will grow but it will not reach its potential. However, you take that same weed and allow it to grow unrestricted and it will grow to it potential. Our children’s bodies are the same. If their muscles are not flexible they will still grow, of course, but not to their greatest potential.

Allows the body to perform at its maximum, while minimizing the risk of injury:
Now, I am not saying that your child will not have injuries but you would be lessening the risk of injury. Do this with your child. Without stretching have them enter into a competition of some sort and let them perform. Remember how they did and then the next time they enter into it again, now have them stretch. You should see a difference in stride (their gate), Strength, and agility.

Allows them to sit in a much more relaxed state and takes stress off opposing muscles: Have you ever seen your child sit on the floor? Have you ever noticed how he/she sits? Take a look at it and you will noticed that most children do not sit straight up but leaning back on the Sacrum (lower spine) then on their Gluteous Maximus. The reason why is because their lower back and their hamstrings are extremely tighten. You cannot sit in this position long. Your arms (what is holding you up) and your abdominals will fatigue quickly and they will begin to shift all around to relieve the pressure. By stretching especially your hamstrings and your lower back, this will allow your muscles to relax much better and allow you to sit properly without having to lean back. Trust me tight hamstrings and a tight lower back can make life very uncomfortable.

With this all in mind I have started a camp for child ages 11 to 13 that helps them in the areas described above. This is a 10 week camp and I meet with them once a week for cardio and flexibility followed by some calisthenics. It seems to be working but I will not know until those kids hit the field of play and perform.