Archive

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

From Poor Health to American Ninja Warrior

Weslee Meador, Facilities Manager at Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC), a Cooper Wellness Strategies client, credits the wellness staff at his workplace in helping him change his life for the better. He reflects how the onsite LWCC staff, Jeff Barbera, Fitness Manager, and Landon Chastant, Fitness Specialist, gave him the support and tools needed to accomplish a longtime goal and lifetime dream.

Wes Meador competing for American Ninja Warrior

I started working at LWCC in October 2018, weighing in at 235 lbs. and sporting size 38 waist pants. I was headed in a direction all too familiar to my family of poor health—including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. I decided my family and I deserved better than that. Prior to coming to LWCC I started improving my health, thanks to more nutritious eating and somewhat of an exercise regimen. When interviewing for my current role, one of the main draws was the onsite exercise facility and wellness programs offered. I was impressed with the company’s dedication to their employees with the wellness program. I expected the typical corporate gym, but maybe a bit nicer with a shower. Essentially, I expected Vienna sausage but what I got was Filet Mignon (or a rare Ribeye in my personal taste). I was pleasantly surprised by the expansive facility and expert knowledge of the fitness staff to help employees reach their health and fitness goals.

Jeff and Landon took my health and fitness goals and elevated them to a whole new level I didn’t know was possible. I told them my ultimate goal was to go from “Dad bod” to “Ninja Dad” and be taken seriously when I applied to compete on “American Ninja Warrior.” Unlike many others, they listened and didn’t guffaw or discourage. They nodded and agreed enthusiastically, “Let’s do this!” At the time, I was following what I thought was a solid diet and exercise program. I shared this with Jeff and Landon, and they worked that into a customized program fitting perfectly within my goals. I had the drive and determination and they gave me the direction to make my dream happen.

Since 2018, I have worked out at least two days per week including a mixture of body weight training and calisthenics, ninja training on my own and cardio, functional training and weight training with Cooper.

Pre-COVID, I weighed 205 pounds and had approximately 12% body fat.

Fast forward to January 2021—I submitted my application to “American Ninja Warrior” again, expecting to be rejected for the third time. Like many, I had slipped in my training and accountability, thanks to COVID and its debilitating effects on gyms, families, jobs and people. My weight had crept back up to 216 when I got the call on January 8 that I was selected to compete this year among 400 competitors. I’d finally made it! I met with Landon and Jeff immediately to evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be in 11 weeks by the end of March—lean, strong and ready to compete in the ultimate obstacle course challenge. Once again, they gave me the blueprints and I went to work. Jeff and Landon supported me with a custom workout plan and made tweaks as I progressed helping me reach my top fitness level. I weighed in at the competition in March at 200 lbs. I’m proud to say I advanced beyond half the competition field in my “American Ninja Warrior” debut—what is hopefully the first of many opportunities to compete in this grueling challenge!

I strive to be a humble man, and as such, I know I owe my success to those around me, especially the Cooper Wellness Strategies employees here at LWCC, Jeff and Landon. I invited them both to sit on my virtual sideline during the “American Ninja Warrior” taping—so if my footage airs, you’ll see Jeff’s smiling grin in the background of my run! I wish I could tell you more about my shot on the show—let’s say that I did better than I expected but didn’t get all the results I wanted. You can see the results in this season of “American Ninja Warrior,” and I’m so thankful for two of the finest Cooper teammates right here at LWCC.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR ““Qualifiers 1” Episode 1302 — Pictured: Wes Meador — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ services, including designing and managing corporate fitness programs, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

What Is Medical Fitness?

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there were 39,750 fitness centers/health clubs of all types in the U.S in 2019. Other sources estimate the number of “medical fitness centers” in 2019 were approximately 1,460 or 3.5% of total health clubs. You might be wondering what the difference is between a fitness center and a medical fitness center. While they are indeed similar, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Cooper Wellness Strategies Vice President David Evans, FMFA, looks at the rise of medical fitness, who it serves and how it differs from traditional exercise programming or a standard gym or fitness center.

In his book Medical Fitness Essentials, Robert Boone states “the first known medical fitness center was started by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in 1970 following the tremendous success of his book Aerobics, which advocated aerobics exercise as an essential component of a comprehensive wellness and prevention program.” Indeed, Dr. Cooper’s pioneering vision set the stage for the emergence of the preventive health, wellness and fitness industries the entire world benefits from today. Globally these sectors are now multi-billion dollar industries.

Cooper Aerobics Activity Center—now Cooper Fitness Center—was the original prototype for today’s multi-purpose fitness centers that provide a variety of cardiovascular and strength training exercise equipment, exercise classes and programs. By contrast, “workout gyms” prior to 1970 focused almost exclusively on strength training for men only and primarily used free weights, Olympic bars, power racks and dumbbells for training with very limited, if any, cardiovascular exercise options. Dr. Cooper is credited with introducing and emphasizing the importance of cardiovascular exercise to not only the fitness industry, but also to the health care industry and the world.

So what is medical fitness? By definition, the term medical means “relating to illness and injuries and to the treatment or prevention thereof.” When applied to the definition of fitness—the condition of being physically fit and healthy—medical fitness means improving the fitness and health of individuals with illness or injury through the “treatment” of exercise. This is not to be confused with rehabilitation, which relates to clinically supervised treatment (for example, cardiac rehab, physical therapy, etc.) after a patient receives medical care related to an episode of illness (for example, heart attack) or injury (for example, torn knee ligament).

Essentially, medical fitness is the next phase of “treatment” for an individual after they complete rehabilitation or have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis. In fact, the origin of the medical fitness industry in the late 1970s occurred due to requests by cardiac rehab patients to continue exercising for a fee in hospital cardiac rehab facilities after they had completed their supervised rehabilitation. Medical fitness programming incorporates exercise training and education specifically related to an individual’s health conditions. 

As good as participation in medical fitness programming is for a patient’s long-term outcome, unfortunately many hospitals and other types of health care providers do not provide it because these types of programs are currently not eligible for reimbursement by Medicare or health insurance companies. As a result, most health care providers do not believe medical fitness programs align with their financial business model and therefore are not considered part of their “core business.” However, this position is short-sighted because medical fitness programs provide opportunities for patients to more fully recover from an illness or injury after their reimbursable treatments and sessions have ended—thus providing better long-term outcomes for the patient and contributing to decreased readmissions of these patients to the hospital, both of which have a positive financial impact for the hospital. Additionally, medical fitness programs serve as a means of “secondary prevention” for those diagnosed with chronic health conditions. These programs help slow, or in some cases eliminate altogether, the progression of a chronic disease and lower the need for ongoing high-cost clinical services.

Sounds relatively simple; however, people managing chronic health conditions or recovering from a significant injury are significantly less likely to exercise on their own or join a fitness center because they are unsure about how to exercise safely given their personal health condition. And in the case of joining a fitness center, they often will not do so because they do not believe staff at traditional fitness centers or health clubs are trained to provide exercise and fitness advice and oversight for people with their specific health condition. As a result, many individuals with pre-existing health conditions do not engage in a sustained exercise regimen of any kind and sadly never experience full recovery and become physically fit.

Well-designed medical fitness programs bridge this gap, contribute to the overall continuum of health care and play an important role in helping individuals become “physically fit and healthy” within the context of their chronic health condition or injury. Additionally, medical fitness programs help traditional fitness centers expand their market reach by engaging a new segment of the population they have not previously served. Not only can medical fitness programming provide a new source of revenue, but some fitness centers have seen up to a 70% conversion of program participants to full-time fitness members.

To address this important need, Cooper Wellness Strategies, a Cooper Aerobics company, has developed of the Cooper Tracks medical fitness program. Five tracks are currently available:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cancer
  4. Arthritis
  5. Immunity & Reconditioning (for those who want to boost their immune systems (for example, post-COVID survivors/patients) or simply recondition the body after an extended illness or inactivity)

Each track lasts eight weeks and provides supervised exercise and education sessions in a small group setting twice per week. The tracks are turn-key—providing all the content and materials needed to deliver the programming. Cooper Tracks can be delivered in fitness centers of almost any type and size, as well as a variety of physical rehabilitation facilities. For more information about Cooper Tracks, visit cooper-tracks.com.

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ clients and services, including Medical Fitness services, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Never Skip a Beat in Your Workouts

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

February is nationally recognized as heart health month. The value of knowing the benefits of heart rate tracking is vital. Today heart rate trackers have proven to be more than a fitness trend or mere fashion statement.

Fitness Director and Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center, Mary Edwards, MS, vouches that tracking your heart rate is the most accurate way to gauge performance improvement. It is useful in determining the appropriate calorie expenditure for an individual, or the amount of calories someone needs to consume based on how many calories are burned from breathing, food digestion and physical activity.

Though various apps and calculators are available online to measure your calorie expenditure, the most accurate estimate is based off one’s personal heart rate. Edwards also affirms that heart rate tracking is effective in identifying symptoms of overtraining or illness, such as if your heart rate spikes immediately upon exercise and remains elevated despite the intensity of the activity.

EP8A6716-edit

Having knowledge of the spectrum of your personal cardiovascular capacity helps you capitalize on the purpose and role low-intensity and high-intensity exercise play in your workout . Two simple ways to calculate your appropriate heart rate range are based on your age. The first way, which is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), is to use the formula 208 – (0.7 x age). Myzone® recommends and uses an alternate formula of 211 – (0.64 x age), which is namely accurate for Myzone® users.

Heart rate tracking clarifies what impact physical activity has on your metabolism and gives a better idea of how the activity intensity should be altered in order to achieve greater results.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that moderate intensity exercised be performed at 50-70 percent of your max heart for best results. AHA also suggests that interval training is best performed at 75-90-100 percent. ACSM recommends five days of moderate intensity or three days of interval training as part of your weekly fitness routine.

Heart rate trackers come in an assortment of styles including smart watches, rings, wristbands and chest straps. Edwards specifically recommends the Myzone® chest strap tracker because of its precision. So no matter what activity gets you moving, there is importance in knowing your numbers and using a heart rate tracker.

For more information on heart rate tracking or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.

Categories: Cooper Updates, Fitness

Cooper Fitness Center Pro Zone

June 22, 2017 1 comment

Welcome to the Cooper Fitness Center Pro Zone! This monthly blog post will be the place to learn all about our Cooper Fitness Center sports professionals, the programs they offer and how sports training can benefit you. From tennis, swimming and basketball to boxing and martial arts, we have a pro for you!

Whether you’re looking to add a new level to your workout routine, participate in a group exercise program or enhance existing athletic skills, you’ll accomplish your goals with our pros. Get to know Mike, Corey, Derrick, Marni, Andre and Coleman below:

Mike Proctor, Martial Arts Pro: 45+ years of Pro-Zone-Mike-Proctorexperience

Q: How did you begin practicing martial arts?

A: I began practicing the martial ways as a child growing up in a U.S. military household. In 1962, I began to take lessons in various styles of the arts.

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: Each New Year brings reflections of the past and visions of the future, along with a body that is a year older. It is never too late to challenge yourself with new activities and a healthier lifestyle.

Q: What is one thing you wish everybody knew about martial arts?

A: Martial arts demand focus and dependability. These are two aspects of character essential to meet any challenge, whether set by oneself or by life. To quote Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.” It worked for Great Britain in 1940, and it will work for you in 2016!

Corey Noel, Tennis Pro: 10+ years of experience Pro-Zone-CoreyNoel

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching tennis?

A: I love teaching tennis because it’s a lifelong sport. It’s my biggest passion and I love seeing the enjoyment on players’ faces when they learn a new skill or see improvement in their game.

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: Set achievable, concrete goals. Ideas such as “lose weight” or “eat healthier” are positive goals, but are difficult to achieve and measure. Setting specific week-to-week or even day-to-day goals are easier to achieve and keep you in line with what you’re aiming for overall.

Q: How do you define good sportsmanship?

A: I define good sportsmanship as playing the game with integrity and common courtesy, much the same way we should all try to live our lives. It means giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that fun should be the primary goal of any sport and playing each game or match to the best of your abilities and with maximum effort.

Derrick James, Boxing Pro: 35+ years of experience Pro-Zone-Derrick-James

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching boxing?

A: I enjoy the interaction I have with my clients and members – they are always eager to learn and to work hard.

Q: Who was the primary influence when you were introduced to boxing, and who is your greatest role model?

A: My mother and my boxing coach are my biggest influences, and also my role models. They always had high standards and I didn’t ever want to disappoint them.

Q: How do you define good sportsmanship?

A: A good sport is someone who is able to take a loss with the same grace as they embrace and enjoy a victory.

Marni Kerner, Swim Pro: 15+ years of experience Pro-Zone-Marni-Kerner

Q: What is your favorite thing about Cooper?

A: There are so many things I love about Cooper! Perhaps at the top of my list is knowing I am part of a community that is surrounded by the most amazing resources for health and fitness knowledge, opportunities and experience.

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching swimming?

A: I love teaching confidence in the water. I believe it carries over into other aspects of life. Swimming can be very technical and challenging, so I often see a growing sense of pride alongside skill improvement, which leads to the health benefits swimming can provide. I am also happy to know I am teaching a lifelong sport and perhaps lifesaving skills.

Q: Who is your favorite role model, and why is he or she important to you?

A: My father is an amazing role model. At almost 80 years of age, he portrays a Cooperized lifestyle. He stays fit with daily exercise, including swimming!

Andre Vahdat, Assistant Tennis Pro: 10+ years of experience

Pro-Zone-Andre-Vahdat

Q: What is one thing you wish everyone knew about tennis?

A: Tennis is incredibly beneficial for the health of your body. It is a full body workout that you can do from your young years all the way to your senior years. It’s a great aerobic exercise that keeps your heart healthy.

Q: When did you begin playing tennis?

A: I began playing tennis at the age of 8. I  would play with my parents just for fun.

Q: Are you right or left handed?

A: Right

Q: Who would you like to play tennis against most?

A: My son. When the time comes, he can challenge me!

Coleman Crawford, Basketball Pro: 40 years of experience Pro-Zone-Coleman-Crawford

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: I would suggest people set attainable goals, be consistent with efforts to achieve those goals and listen to your body throughout the entire process. Always pay close attention to your health.

Q: What are some of your favorite basketball memories?

A: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) basketball games…and meeting Michael Jordan!

Q: If you could train in another sport under another sports pro, what would it be?

A: Boxing with CFC Boxing Pro Derrick James.

Tune in for more information and news about Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros at cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.

 

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.

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

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.

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.

Sit Less, Move More – Exercise Guidelines for Diabetes and Prediabetes

November 14, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

Many people with diabetes do not exercise despite all of its proven benefits. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, physical activity is more than just a way to lose weight – it can also make it easier to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels closer to normal.

When you have diabetes, your body’s insulin action is less effective in storing glucose and regulating your blood sugars, but exercise sensitizes insulin. During exercise, stored glucose becomes a source of energy for your muscles and as the stores gets depleted, your blood sugar goes down and can stay down for 24-48 hours.

What types and amounts of physical activity are recommended for diabetes?

  • Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, elliptical, dancing, rowing, tennis and stair climbing. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly, spread over at least three days per week, with no more than two consecutive days without activity.
  • Resistance training includes exercises with weight machines, free weights, elastic resistance bands, body weight and group strength training classes. Perform these at least two times a week on non-consecutive days.
  • Balance and flexibility training includes yoga and tai chi. Aim for two or three times a week.
  • Light-intensity activities daily (read below under “updates”).

To better fit your schedule, you can break up 30 minutes into 10- or 15-minute segments several times a day. Research has shown the health benefits are similar. Recent studies have also shown that a 15-minute walk after meals can help lower your blood sugar.

What are the updates in the latest exercise guidelines?

People with diabetes are advised to incorporate “light” activities throughout the day, particularly when sedentary for prolonged periods of time (working on the computer, sitting in a meeting or watching TV). Take a light activity break for three minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. Examples include:

  • Overhead arm stretches
  • Leg extensions
  • Torso twists
  • Walking in place

Exercise Tips:

  • Have a very specific plan. Define what, when, where and for how long you’re going to commit to working out. This will improve your chances of adherence and success.
  • What kind of exercises will you do? Make a list of activities and be creative. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it!
  • When are you going to fit in a workout? Make a schedule of the specific days and times you will exercise. Prioritize them on your calendar as “appointments.”
  • Are you going to exercise at a gym, in a group class, at a park or track or at home using a workout DVD or technology app? Decide what might work best for you.
  • Do you prefer to exercise solo, with a buddy, in a class or with a personal trainer? Participating in supervised training may provide more health benefits for people with diabetes than non-supervised programs. Plus, the accountability to others can be very motivating.
  • How long will you exercise? Be realistic and set achievable goals. If you are brand new to working out, start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes or more.
  • Keep a log of your exercise to stay on track. You can use fitness technology resources like a pedometer, fitness band or exercise watch to track steps, calories and heart rate. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you do-every step counts!

When you have diabetes, prioritize exercise as part of your lifestyle to better control your blood sugars. Beyond managing your diabetes, exercise can help you feel better about yourself and improve your overall health.

For more information about preventing and managing diabetes and prediabetes, visit the Cooper Aerobics website.

NBA-Level Experience Drives Coach Coleman Crawford

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Coleman Crawford and basketball go way back. He started at a young age and worked his way to the college level (he still holds University of North Alabama career scoring and rebounding averages records). Following college, he put his basketball skills and IQ to work on the sidelines as a coach. He began at the college level – including four NCAA teams – then moved to international opportunities and the NBA Developmental League before settling in as Cooper Fitness Center’s Basketball Pro. His coaching experience eclipses 40 years and continues to this day.

As the NBA season kicks off, we asked Coleman a few questions about his coaching experience and his tips for growing as a basketball player.

Pro-Zone-Coleman-CrawfordWho was your favorite NBA team growing up?

“I didn’t necessarily have a favorite team, but instead had favorite players. I enjoyed following the Milwaukee Bucks because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for them, and I eventually pulled for the Lakers when he moved to L.A. I enjoyed following the careers of my favorite players.”

What did you gain from coaching in the NBA Developmental League?

“Coaching in the D-League was a big change from collegiate coaching. Coaching college athletes involves guiding them with their grades and off-the-court behavior on top of their basketball skills. In the NBA D-League, it was purely coaching and total focus on the game. I was able to build the team needed to win, and the players were solely focused on making it to the next level–the NBA. We won a championship when I coached in the D-League and six of the players went on to play in the NBA, which was exciting and rewarding.”

What is your favorite coaching memory?

“When I coached at Florida State, we beat Duke, who was the number one seed at the time. It was incredible! I also loved being able to coach my son at Tulsa and Florida State.”

What do you like most about coaching youth versus coaching adults?

“My favorite group to coach is, surprisingly, the 5-7 year olds. They are new to the sport, have no bad habits and have no fear. I see so much improvement and growth throughout the time I work with them, and I love introducing them to basketball. Coaching adults is enjoyable because they are usually very focused on improving one or two areas of their game, whether it is shooting, ball control or defense. They are open to learning new things and growing as players.”

Who do you think will win the NBA Finals this year?

“I’m currently a Cleveland Cavaliers fan because Lebron James is my favorite player. So I’m hoping for back-to-back championships!”

What skills do you teach your players that NBA players are always working on, too?

“The best NBA players never stray from the basics of the game. They practice the fundamentals constantly in order to master them. They also get into a routine that works for them, which usually consists of working hard and putting in extra practice time. The best players on NBA teams – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James – are often the hardest working players on the team. Hard work distinguishes average players from elite players. Working on the fundamentals early on, as we do in our basketball camps and programs, can help kids grow and develop into solid players. On top of building physical skills, we also work on the mental aspect of the game.”

What are your top tips for any NBA hopefuls out there?

“Work ethic, skill development and mental prowess all tie together in basketball. The best players work tirelessly to master their skills. Try to always play against the best possible competition, because that challenge will bring out the best in you as a player and will give you an idea as to whether or not you’re improving. Keep working hard and never stop trying to improve and grow.”

For more information about Coleman and basketball programs offered at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4337.