Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Participating in even a short-duration strength-training program during childhood and especially during adolescence may not only improve one’s body composition, but also increase self-esteem and improve blood lipid profiles, according to a study published in the May/June issue of Sports Health A Multidisciplinary Approach.
The most recent research in this area has found that child and pre-adolescent athletes can improve their strength by 30-50 percent after just 8-12 weeks in a strength-training program. Other benefits also include improved bone mineral density and body composition, balance, lipid profiles and self-esteem,” reports co-authors Katherine Stabenow Dahab, MD and Teri Metcalf McCambridge, MD, FAAP from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
The study reviewed relevant research, consensus guidelines, and position statements to present a comprehensive review and guidelines for safe and effective youth strength training. The study recommends an individualized program based on age, maturity, and personal goals and objectives of the youth athlete. A comprehensive youth strength-training routine should incorporate: • Ten to 20 minutes of warm up and cool down (5-10 minutes for each segment) • A variety of resistance types (free weights, weight machines, rubber tubing, and medicine balls) • Training the major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back, arms, legs, abdomen, and lower back) • A balanced effort between flexion and extension of the upper and lower body joints
“The goal is to perform two to three exercises per muscle group. Start with one to two sets per exercise, with 6 to 15 repetitions in each set,” explains Dahab. “The participant should rest one to three minutes between sets. Appropriate weight should allow 10-15 repetitions to be completed with proper form, some fatigue, but not complete exhaustion.”
In addition, the study suggests that adult supervision is a central part of the strength training program’s success or failure. “Injuries that do occur to the youth athlete are a direct result of lack of supervision, misuse of equipment, lifting inappropriate amounts of weight, or use of improper techniques. It is crucial that a trained professional teach youth athletes proper form, as well as how and when to add weight.” Dahab warns. As with any form of exercise a physician’s clearance is important to obtain and a pre-training physical is recommended.
“The health benefits of strength training far outweigh the potential risks. Strength training, when done correctly, can improve the strength, and overall health of children and adolescents of all athletic abilities. This is especially important in today’s society where childhood obesity rates continue to rise.” Dahab concludes.
Published bimonthly, Sports Health is a collaborative publication from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and the Sports Physical Therapy Section (SPTS). Other organizations participating in the publication include the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM). For more information on this study, please e-mail Lisa Weisenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sportshealthjournal.org.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
A focus group study of child care providers by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center shows several reasons children are not getting as much physical activity as they should: some providers said they feel pressured by parents to prioritize classroom time for learning over outdoor time for motor development; some providers cited a fear of injury and the cost of playground design and upkeep as other barriers to children’s physical activity in child care.
The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be presented May 2 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore.
“Child care providers told us that many parents were more focused on their children learning cognitive skills such as reading, writing and preparing for kindergarten than their participation in recess,” says Kristen Copeland, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the study’s main author. “And yet childcare providers realized that some of the most valuable lessons in science, nature, cause and effect, and even important social skills such as problem-solving and peer negotiation, all come from playing outdoors on the playground.”
The child care providers said that during playtime, children learn gross motor skills, such as learning how to skip and throw a ball. They noted that children who master gross motor skills at an early age tend to become more self-confident than other children, win more friendships, and develop their social skills.
Other barriers to physical activity cited include licensing standards and that made outdoor playgrounds unchallenging and uninteresting to children, and a lack of indoor play space and equipment that would foster activity when children had to stay inside on rainy, cold or extremely hot days. Tight center operating margins and the expense of equipment and upkeep severely limited the indoor and outdoor opportunities that many centers could offer children.
According to the most recent statistics 74 percent of US children aged 3-6 years are in some form of non-parental child care. Fifty-six percent of 3-6 year old children spend time in centers, including child-care centers and preschools. Dr. Copeland’s team conducted focus groups with 49 staff members from 34 child-care centers in the Cincinnati area including Montessori, Head Start and centers in the inner city and suburban areas to get a better idea of why children weren’t involved in physical activity during the school day.
Center staff had several creative suggestions for increasing physical activity, including partnering with a landscaping architect to put more shrubs and hills on the center’s property to encourage children’s climbing; placing a wooden dance floor in the school playroom to encourage dancing; offering workshops that teach child care providers fun games to play with children outside; and encouraging sporadic movement during the day, such as small music breaks when children can get up and move along to songs.
“Many children spend long hours in child-care, and some do not have safe places to play outdoors at home, so for many children, the child care center is their only opportunity to be active, Dr. Copeland says. “But the typical things we think should be on a playground -- such as climbers and jungle gyms -- can be very expensive and essentially cost-prohibitive for many child care centers. Those centers that could afford climbers found that their children quickly mastered them and became bored with them. If the goal is to increase physical activity, creative solutions are needed to overcome all of these barriers” she said.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Created in 1989 by physical education teacher Len Saunders as a method of motivating children to exercise, Project ACES Day takes place on the first Wednesday each May as part of Exercise is Medicine(TM) Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and National Physical Education Week. Project ACES Clubs continue to promote physical activity all year long by pledging to create youth fitness programs in their schools.
"For more than 20 years, Project ACES' programs have been organized and conducted by the YFC. We hope to not only get kids active now, but also educate them about the importance of physical fitness throughout their lifetime," said H.J. Saunders, Youth Fitness Coalition Founder and President.
In the past, Project ACES events have taken place in all 50 states and countries around the world, such as England, South Africa, Poland, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Liberia and Taiwan.
Putnam School in Marietta, Ohio, has been participating in Project ACES events for more than 10 years.
"Our school's jump rope team leads warm-up exercises, and then we exercise as a group on our playground," said Barb Moberg, a physical education teacher at Putnam School. "We host special guests like the mayor, YMCA fitness instructors and school board members. We also encourage friends and families to join in. The whole celebration demonstrates how fitness can mean more than running a few laps."
Patrick Clark, an educator at the Key Learning Community River Campus in Indianapolis, says Project ACES and other programs play a key role in educating children about the importance of physical activity.
"These activities give students a chance to move around during the school day, and they often find that exercise can be fun," Clark said.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, including aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening exercises.
Additional Exercise is Medicine(TM) Month events in May continue to promote the message of the importance of physical activity to physicians, fitness professionals, members of the public, organizations and businesses.
For more information on Exercise is Medicine(TM) and how to get involved with Project ACES, visit www.exerciseismedicine.org and www.projectaces.com.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
The Youth Fitness Coalition is a New Jersey-based non-profit organization committed to combating childhood obesity by making exercise programs fun and by educating children, parents and teachers about the importance of lifelong fitness and making healthy lifestyle choices.