Before you make a splash, follow these water safety tips

Marni Kerner 

Swimming isn’t just fun, it’s also a great way to stay fit. The non-impact activity can not only lower blood pressure, but can help arthritis. Did we mention it’s also listed as one of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s five best aerobic exercises? But before you put on your swim gear and hop into the pool, it may be time revisit some key pool safety tips. Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro Marni Kerner offers some advice for keeping you and your kids safe both in and around the pool.

In the pool:

  1. Swimming lessons: Learning how to swim before entering the water may sound like a no-brainer, but drownings continue to happen every year. The best way to prevent drowning, Kerner says, is not by sticking floaties on your kids, but by properly teaching them to swim. Bobbing, treading and floating are some of the first skills Kerner teaches kids during their swimming lessons. Those basic skills, along with a basic freestyle stroke and learning to safely climb in and out of the pool, can help kids survive should they get in a tough situation in the water.

 

  1. Goofing off: What may seem like a fun game for some kids can really scare others. Chicken fights, pulling each other under water or jumping on top of each other in the pool are all “games” Kerner says you want to teach your kids to avoid. Kerner has seen many adults who are fearful of the water, all because of a similar traumatic experience when they were kids. Bottom line─keep your hands to yourself while in the pool.
  1. Know your limitations: Swimming can be fun and often, a time to show off what you’ve learned. That being said, Kerner reminds both adults and kids to never swim above their ability. While it’s important for kids to practice their skills in the pool, Kerner reminds them to do so only with an instructor or adult supervision. Never swim alone.

Around the pool:

 

  1. Spot your safety equipment: Before you jump in the pool, make sure you locate the safety equipment around the pool, in case of an emergency. Life rings, rescue poles and first aid kits should be readily available around every pool. If you’re swimming at a home pool, Kerner reminds homeowners to always have a fenced-in pool area and always double-check the fence is securely locked.

 

  1. Stay weather aware: The weather is ever-changing, and that means a day that starts out warm and sunny can quickly turn stormy. Kerner says it’s important to check your local forecast before heading to the pool for the day. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors. Don’t wait for the storm to get close. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, lightning can strike from several miles away, so don’t take a chance.

 

  1. Stay hydrated: With water all around your body, it can be easy to forget about the water needed inside your body. Swimming is one of the top aerobic activities and despite being in the water, Kerner reminds swimmers that you can become dehydrated! Make sure to keep bottles of water near the edge of the pool and make sure to take frequent water breaks.

Now that you’ve completed your safety checklist, don’t forget to have fun! Kerner says swimming can be a great family activity and as she says, if you’re going to be by the pool this summer, you should enjoy it.

Looking to refresh your skills before swim season? Check out our April swim clinic schedule for both kids and adults. Kerner also teaches swimming lessons at Cooper Fitness Center year-round. Visit cooperswimacademy.com for details. Swimming programs are open to the public.

Categories: Cooper Updates

How to Avoid a Busted Bracket During March Madness

March Madness is a basketball fan’s favorite time of year. Flair for the dramatic paired with passionate fans and determined underdogs creates an exciting sports atmosphere that is hard to match. Cooper Fitness Center Basketball Pro Coleman Crawford has experienced the ups and downs of March Madness as a coach and offers advice for putting together a winning bracket for the conclusion of college basketball season.

Building a bracket is always more fun when friendly competition is involved. Invite family, friends and coworkers to join a bracket pool and decide on a prize for the eventual winner. Set aside some time to make picks together once the tournament teams are announced.

When it’s time to make your picks, do your research first. Try to learn a little bit about each team in the tournament and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. When observing and evaluating each team, keep an eye on the players’ fundamentals. Ball control, passing and shooting skills, which we begin teaching at a young age in Cooper Fitness Center basketball programs, are just as important at the college level as they are for beginners. No matter each player’s athleticism or advanced skills, success within the game of basketball always goes back to the fundamentals.

Next, take your favorite teams into account. Who do you want to cheer for, and why? If your alma mater or family’s favorite team is in the tournament, don’t be afraid to add them to your bracket and see how far they can make it. You want to make sure to have fun and embrace your favorite team!

Although it’s tempting to pick all of the top seeded teams, Coleman recommends picking one or two teams with a seed of 10 or higher. Everyone loves a Cinderella story during March Madness, so take a risk on an underdog that could cause an upset and bust other brackets.

If you use a website or app to make your bracket, it’s important to understand the scoring system. You earn points for each game won by the teams you pick, and you lose points for each game lost by the teams you pick. Using a website or app to track your bracket makes it easy – the program will add and subtract points automatically at the end of each game. The number of points you have at the end of the tournament determines how well you do within your bracket pool.

Finally, don’t overthink it! Creating a bracket for March Madness is a fun way to follow college basketball, even if you haven’t been keeping up with the entire season. The talent on display is exciting to watch and is a great reminder that college athletes were once kids who worked hard to learn and hone their game, much like the children and teenagers who come to basketball camp at Cooper Fitness Center.

Enjoy the madness this spring, and best of luck to your bracket. Follow along with Coleman’s picks here and don’t forget to let us know how your picks performed.

ColemanMarchMadnessBracket2017

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center Basketball Programs for both youth and adults, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.

Smoother Skin for Spring with Cooper Spa Dallas

Is your skin looking a bit tired and dull? If so, a body treatment may be the solution. Cooper Spa Assistant Manager Erika Bazan shares tips for selecting the best body treatment for your body’s needs.

Body treatments are a great way to revitalize your skin and give you a healthy glow. The treatment dates back to Roman times. The focus of a body treatment is buffing away dryness on particularly rough parts of your body, such as elbows, knees, ankles and heels.  However, along with soothing the skin, body treatments have many added benefits.

Body scrubs are made up of salt, sugar, and yes, even dried fruit. So, how do you know which scrub is best for your needs?

Revitalize_print

Salt based scrubs: Salt based scrubs are known for their healing properties and can be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis or sore muscles. The chemicals in salt are absorbed by the skin to help reduce inflammation. Those same chemicals also re-mineralize the skin and give it a healthy glow. If healing properties are what you’re looking for, try Cooper Spa’s Detoxification Body Wrap or Fit Body Scrub  to stimulate your body and leave you with a more youthful appearance. The detoxification wrap is also great for those who are jet-lagged, starting a weight loss or smoking cessation program, or who are looking for an overall body cleanse.

 

Sugar based scrubs: Sugar is a natural antiseptic, which is why sugar based scrubs are another great choice for healing. Sugar is also a humectant, which means it draws in moisture from the environment, locking it into your skin for added hydration. The scrub contains glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps exfoliate dead skin. The enticing aroma of Cooper Spa’s Harmonic Lavender treatment is 80 minutes of pure bliss, and will leave your skin looking and feeling refreshed.

Dried fruit based scrub: Using dried fruit for a body treatment may seem a bit odd, but a dried fruit based scrub can actually help refine the texture of your skin. The natural occurring enzymes and antioxidants not only buff away dead skin, but have brightening and anti-aging benefits. A client favorite, Cooper Spa’s Ultimate Hydration Ritual,  is an orange peel based scrub that sloughs away dead skin, while the honey in the blend seals in the moisture. This body treatment will leave your skin noticeably smoother and hydrated.

  • Looking to amp up your skin before pool season? Every Cooper Spa exfoliating Body Treatment begins with an all over body scrub focusing on elbows, knees, ankles and shoulders. The exfoliation treatment is followed by a 50-minute massage to re-moisturize and revitalize your skin. These soothing treatments not only enhance the look and feel of your skin, they also leave you feeling relaxed and renewed.

Cooper Spa’s highly trained massage therapists recommend a body scrub once a month or at the start of a new season. With spring right around the corner, we say, your time is now!

Visit Cooper Spa Dallas to learn more about the body treatments offered or to book your appointment.

How to Prepare for a Tennis Tournament

February 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Tennis is one of the few sports you can start at any age and play competitively. Training with a goal in mind, such as competing in match play or a tournament, can be a great motivating factor to improve your skills on the court and overall fitness.

Tournaments and leagues are separated by age division and/or skill level, which allows people to meet others on their same level of experience. If you’re planning on adding a dose of competition to your tennis routine, signing up to play in a tournament can be an exciting opportunity. Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel offers his top 10 tips for preparing to compete in a tennis tournament:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. Follow your regular bedtime routine, and make sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep to be well-rested and at the top of your game.
  2. Eat and hydrate properly 24-48 hours before the tournament. Stick to your healthy diet and use food as fuel for your body. Follow the recommended hydration guidelines and make sure to bring your water bottle to the tournament.
  3. Focus on conditioning and match practice in the week leading up to a tournament. There’s less of a need to focus on technique.
  4. Identify your goals and strategies before the tournament begins.
  5. Have all your necessary equipment in top shape (rackets freshly strung, court shoes broken in, etc.). Make sure to bring the proper clothing and accessories – layers if it’s chilly and a hat and sunglasses if it’s sunny. An extra pair of socks can come in handy, too. Pack sunscreen, water and healthy snacks for fuel.
  6. Stretch before and after each match to keep yourself loose and to help your muscles recover.
  7. Know your limitations. A tournament can test your physical and mental acuity; recognize where your breaking point is and don’t go past it.
  8. Pick the right division for your skill level. If you’re playing with a partner, make sure you work well together and have practiced together before the tournament.
  9. It’s just tennis! Don’t get overwhelmed by the fact that you’re playing in a tournament. Concentrate on using the skills you’ve developed and try to play your best.
  10. Have fun!

Tennis programs at Cooper Fitness Center are open to the public. Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com to learn more.

Get Chummy with Cheese

January 20, 2017 1 comment

By Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD

Despite a reputation for clogging arteries, cheese is still a beloved food. These days, you don’t have to shy away from cheese to keep healthful eating habits. Cheese can fit into a delicious eating plan and transform simple meals and dishes into culinary delights. The key is portion control and cheese selection.

Cheese contains saturated fat. Cooper Clinic recommends limiting saturated fat to less than six percent of total calories. For example, individuals needing 1,400 calories would aim to consume less than 9 grams of saturated fat per day. An individual needing 1,800 calories would aim to keep saturated fat less than 12 grams each day. Take a look at the cheese infographic below to compare some of your favorites and see how they fit into a balanced eating plan.

Babybel light cheese is a nutrition all-star. One piece is only 50 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat. It also has 6 grams of protein and 150 mg of calcium, which makes it an excellent cheese choice. Now take a look at Parmesan cheese. One ounce

(4 tablespoons) is 110 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. Generally only 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese is plenty, since it has such robust flavor. One tablespoon of Parmesan Reggiano is approximately 27 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat. Try sprinkling roasted vegetables with Parmesan and experience the flavors magnify. This is especially true when roasting vegetables such as Brussels sprouts.

Feta, goat and sharp cheddar are also examples of modestly-flavored cheese. When you’re cooking and you want to maximize the cheese flavor while maintaining a healthy portion, these are the cheeses to use. Big flavor is achieved with small amounts.

These vegetable enchiladas are an example of how to maximize cheese flavor:

  • Spread fat-free refried black beans, sautéed spinach and mushrooms on to a corn tortilla
  • Roll tortilla and place seam side down in small pan
  • Top with green salsa and bake until hot
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle a small amount of feta cheese on top before serving

Moderation is the key to enjoying cheese healthfully. For more information about how Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services can help you build a healthy eating plan, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

cheeseinfographic-01

2016 Cooper Fitness Center Member Awards

Each year, Cooper Fitness Center recognizes members who exemplify the Get Cooperized model and represent Cooper Fitness Center in the best ways possible. This year, we had an incredible pool of nominees as Cooper ambassadors, which made it challenging to select just a few. Congratulations to all of the recipients!

Mr. & Mrs. Aerobics: Scott & Michele Kline, Members Since 2008

scott-klineScott and Michele Kline are dedicated to living an active and healthy lifestyle and are quick to encourage and support each other. The couple actively participates in fitness adherence programs and Activ8 member wellness program activities, and they exemplify “a couple that sweats together, stays together.” Michele trains weekly with Chris Parker and also works with Boxing Pro Derrick James. Scott ran the Boston Marathon when he was 25. When he turned 50 he ran his second marathon. In the past three years, he has run 10 more marathons and has completed more than 40 half marathons. They lead by example and are healthy role models for their children. Scott and Michele have enrolled their son, Andrew, in Cooper’s youth programs since he was a small child, and as a teen he is still involved in basketball and other sports programs. They are committed to demonstrating that being active should be a fun part of daily life. The family lights up Cooper with their smiles, and they’re always up for a challenge together.

Female of the Year: Beth Bond Thomas, Member Since 2012

beth-thomasBeth Bond Thomas has a passion for community and fitness. Beth is an avid tennis player, marathon runner and cyclist, and trains with Christian Mazur. She ran the 2016 New York City Marathon as a member of the Race to Cure MS team and raised more than $7,000. She also chaired the 2016 Girls, Inc. Inspirational Open Tennis Tournament in Dallas, which raised more than $31,000. Beth is an incredible role model for her family and fellow Cooper Fitness Center members. It must run in the family—Beth receives the Female of the Year award a few decades after her father, Bill Bond, won the award for Male of the Year.

Male of the Year: E.N. Simon, Member Since 2013

en-simonE.N. Simon is fully committed to getting healthier through fitness, even as he faces a health condition that would make many others give up. He has changed his life through his dedication to exercise. During the past year, he’s improved from sedentary to fit, and has lost 80 pounds in the process. E.N. credits much of his success to his training at Cooper Fitness Center, and his fellow members have noticed the positive changes. E.N. embodies a Cooperized lifestyle and is the ideal Male of the Year.

Classic of the Year: Fred Hoster, Member Since 1973

fred-hosterFred Hoster embodies what it means to Get Cooperized—other members might even consider him to be the “Mayor” of Cooper Fitness Center thanks to his dedication and leadership. Fred is at Cooper Fitness Center every day, helps lead the Classics programming and encourages his fellow Classics to take control of their health. He lives healthfully by giving back to others, sharing his wisdom as a mentor and friend and embracing each day as a gift. Fred is an example of aging gracefully and is a role model for others to do so as well.

Youth of the Year: Jake Serota, CFC Client Since May 2016

jake-serotaAt the age of 10, Jake Serota has already conquered many challenges. He was diagnosed with a condition at age three, which affected his overall health. With the support of his family, Jake is overcoming his health obstacles daily by focusing on eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Since Jake started training with Shannon Edwards in May 2016, he has lost 25 pounds. Jake also enjoys swimming laps, practicing Brazilian Jiu Jit Su and has joined his school’s running club. Jake is proud of himself and is dedicated to learning and practicing healthy habits throughout his life.

Most Improved: Alan Tallis, Member Since 2004

alan-tallisAlan Tallis has embraced focusing on his health after retirement. After years of travel and late work nights, Alan decided it was time to take care of himself. Even after facing a few health setbacks, Alan has devoted himself to six days a week of aerobic exercise and at least three days a week of functional strength training with Shannon Edwards. He also participates in weekly Pilates sessions with Mary Ellen Elkhay. On top of his dedication to fitness, Alan takes time to give back at Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and The Salvation Army. Alan demonstrates no matter your age or circumstance, you can thrive when you focus on health, fitness and wellness.

Activ8 Champion: Maureen Corcoran, Member Since 2013

mauren-corcoranMaureen Corcoran has a noticeable passion for her health and wellness and lives out Dr. Cooper’s “8 Steps to Get Cooperized” daily. After joining Female Focus four years ago, Maureen became a Cooper Fitness Center member and quickly plugged into various activities, including the Activ8 member wellness program. She is constantly working to improve her Activ8 Score and has seen positive results as the year has passed. Maureen finds joy in learning about her health and embraces Activ8 because of this dedication. Maureen is a role model by the way she lives and interacts with others. Her energy and joy are contagious and her healthy lifestyle is a great example to others.

We are extremely proud of the hard work our members put in to living healthy and active lifestyles, and this year’s award recipients fully embody what it means to Get Cooperized. See the video and photos from the ceremony on the Cooper Fitness Center Facebook page. For more information about Cooper Fitness Center membership, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/members.

Self-Defense as Prevention for All Ages

Prevention isn’t just about taking care of your health and fitness. It’s also about being aware of your surroundings and keeping yourself safe from harm. When it comes to facing bullies and defending against the elements, self-defense is the number one form of prevention. Cooper Fitness Center Martial Arts Pro Mike Proctor explains the importance of learning self-defense at any age.

Mental and Physical Aspects of Self-Defense

Mike notes that most self-defense is mental and emotional, and includes having a plan and being aware of your surroundings at all times. You should have a plan for everything–a house fire, car breakdown on the highway or just walking to your car from the shopping mall. “I tell my students that martial arts are 90 percent mental and emotional, and 10 percent physical,” says Mike.

According to Mike, the physical techniques of self-defense are relatively simple compared to preparing mentally. “We are taught to never make a scene and to not hurt people,” explains Mike. “That makes it hard to go against your instincts when you’re put in a tough situation where self-defense is needed.” Mentally, it’s key to know when you are the most vulnerable; physically, you must know how to defend yourself against various situations.

Who Needs Self-Defense?

Self-defense can and should be practiced by all ages, both male and female. The self-defense course you take should aim at your particular demographic and your physical abilities. Though self-defense is important for everyone, Mike points out the following populations who could benefit most from learning self-defense:

  • Adults and children with special needs: those with special needs, including hearing loss, vision impairment, Down syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and others, are more likely to be victims of bullying or physical harm because they are more vulnerable targets.
  • College students: college-age young adults, especially females, are at the most vulnerable time of their lives. Being on campus can create a feeling of security, but this is often an illusion.
  • Females of all ages: Mike notes that situations calling for self-defense most often occur to women, no matter the age.

Bullying

Bullying isn’t just something that happens on the schoolyard anymore, and kids aren’t the only victims. Bullying can occur within romantic relationships, between coworkers, online and in various other situations. “When it comes to bullying, it’s important to focus on your attitude and action–what your response will be,” says Mike. As a society, we have a responsibility to recognize bullying (whether it is happening to us or another person) and act to stop it. Learning self-defense can give children and adults the confidence to stand up to a bully should they encounter one and know when to ask for help from others.

How Martial Arts Can Prepare You

Training in martial arts can give you a sense of empowerment that you can do something to protect yourself or others if you are ever put in a situation when it’s needed. Mike recommends treating self-defense courses the same way you would treat CPR certification–take a course about every two years to stay up-to-date and to practice your skills. The skills should become reflexes in order to be most effective. “Taking courses every two years can remind you that danger can occur at any time,” explains Mike. “You can fall into a false sense of security when you’re not practicing often enough, and self-defense courses are a way to always stay on your toes and be aware of the problems you may face in the world.”

Remember that self-defense isn’t a one-size-fits-all mentality. You must be aware of your own vulnerabilities and understand how to combat them. Keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance, and self-defense is the best preventive tool available.

For more information about martial arts programs at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.