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Posts Tagged ‘health and fitness’

Fighting Childhood Obesity through Play

 

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Unhealthy kids are growing into unhealthy adults, causing a major health care problem in the United States.

When it comes to helping kids form healthy habits, it’s best to start young. Studies have shown that different types of exercise affect a child’s mental capacity in a variety of ways. A simple 20-minute walk can immediately affect a child’s attention, function and academic success. However, the reverse is true for highly structured, rule-based exercise, such as a sport or coordination drills. This type of exercise may be too taxing for children immediately before a test or other activity that requires sustained focus. Instead, higher intensity exercises seem to build a child’s attention span gradually over time. Children who are physically fit perform better in attention tests–even small improvements in fitness lead to noticeable changes in the brain.

Participating in sports or other fitness-driven activities, especially right after the school day, can be a natural and less forced outlet to allow children to build up their attention span while having fun. Cooper Fitness Center’s IGNITE! program combines fitness, sports, movement and games to help improve athletic performance for this purpose. In the long run, children are learning how to focus for future tests and other tasks that require concentration.

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Kids develop athletic skills during Cooper Fitness Center’s IGNITE! program.

Various studies have linked academic performance to overall health and fitness in children. Data taken from students in California show the following relationships between fitness and academics:

  • Higher levels of fitness = increased math testing scores
  • Higher levels of fitness = increased language arts testing scores
  • Healthier lunches = increased math and language arts testing scores
  • Higher levels of fitness = higher school attendance rate
  • Higher levels of fitness = fewer negative school incidents

A study of more than 2.4 million Texas students found that students who are physically fit are more likely to do well on the state’s standardized tests and have higher school attendance. Physically fit students are also less likely to have disciplinary problems. The Cooper Institute developed FitnessGram, the first “student fitness report card,” in an effort to improve school physical education programs and children’s health.

“The impact exercise has on the growing brain is unparalleled,” says Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics. “Increased exercise improves cardiovascular health, and that helps the brain function more efficiently and enhances its ability to learn.”

Playing sports such as tennis or basketball can help children improve their attention while also helping them reach a higher level of fitness, which is beneficial to them at both a young age and as they grow into adults.

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Improving skills on the court with Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel.

It is recommended that students do at least 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity every day, with more than half occurring during regular school hours and the remaining outside of school. Estimates suggest only about half of U.S. children meet this guideline.

Cooper Fitness Center offers various after-school youth programs to help kids get up and moving while boosting their brain power. Learn more about sport-specific programming and other youth programs at cooperyouth.com/dallas.

Aerobics Around The World

Dr. Cooper in Brazil

Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Cooper in Brazil, standing in front of the “Pista Coronel Cooper” sign.

After publishing his 1968 best-seller, AerobicsKenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, inspired millions to exercise in pursuit of good health. Dr. Cooper’s fitness revolution has not been limited to the United States – his reach is international. From Brazil to China, Dr. Cooper has lectured in more than 50 countries preaching the “gospel of Aerobics.”

Here are a few fun facts about how Dr. Cooper has revolutionized fitness across the world:

  • Dr. Cooper used aerobics to train the Brazilian soccer team, leading them to the 1970 World Cup victory. As a result, jogging is translated as “Coopering” or “doing the Cooper” in Brazil.
  • Aerobics has been printed in 41 languages, including Braille, and sold more than 30 million copies.
  • In Hungary, the “cooperteszt” is the name of the national fitness test.

Today Dr. Cooper continues his work to spread the importance of fitness and good health. Everywhere he goes, people tell him about how Aerobics changed their life.

“Once I was in Hungary, and a man came up to me and asked, ‘Are you the one who created the Cooperteszt?’ I told him I was. He yelled, ‘I hate you!’ I laugh every time I think of that story,” Dr. Cooper shared.

Author John Grisham had the same reaction when he met Dr. Cooper in Dallas. “When he found out who I was, he said, ‘I hate you. I had to run so much in school because of you!’ But he said he’s still running today, and that’s what makes it all worth it.”

Leave a comment below to share how Dr. Cooper’s work has impacted your life.

Spring Into Shape: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Health Fitting in Exercise QuoteSometimes exercising isn’t the hard part, it’s more about getting motivated! We’re all guilty of forming excuses to avoid the gym on a regular basis. To kick off this Spring, learn ways to get and stay motivated, making fitness part of your routine.

Research has shown that self-change is a staged process. We go through a process from not thinking about changing a behavior, to thinking about it, to planning to change and then testing out ways to do it, all before we actually start.

Cooper Fitness Center Director of Personal Training Education Carla Sottovia, PhD, shares five tips for fitness motivation.

  1. Make exercise a priority. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work, move exercise to the top of your “to-do” list. Once it becomes a habit, getting it to the top of the list will be a piece of cake.
  2. Set goals. Setting short- and long-term goals are extremely important when beginning or continuing an exercise regimen. Carla suggests staring with a weekly, short-term goal. Try goals like exercising 150 collective minutes a week, or three days a week. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and consider Time. Also, have a reward in mind for meeting each goal. Tasks are almost always easier to accomplish when there is something to look forward to in the end.
  3. Make a specific plan. Get your calendar and start planning your exercise routine. Writing down certain days and times to work out helps you stay accountable and less forgettable. Follow this plan to reach your weekly, monthly or annual goals.
  4. Grab a friend. Two heads are almost always better than one. If you’re having trouble with motivation and accountability when it comes to exercise, working out with a friend can be a great solution. Whether it’s just carpooling to the gym or determining your plan and goals together, friends are great supports for exercise.
  5. Find a professional fitness trainer. These experts are there just for you. Just like your friends, they are your biggest motivators to get fit. Not only do they know what’s best for your body and routine, they can easily help you set goals and create plans.

Exercising usually isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the motivation to do it! With these motivation tips, you can take your fitness goals head on.

Celebrating 45 Years of Aerobics

45thThis year is a big milestone for Cooper Aerobics. We are celebrating 45 years since Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, published his international best-selling book, Aerobics, inspiring millions of people across the world to join the fitness revolution.

Check out our new infographic to learn more about the impact of aerobics and Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s journey to help people achieve the best possible quantity and quality of life (we’ve included a sneak peek below).

Timeline of AerobicsTo celebrate, we are hosting a “45 and Cooperized” Giveaway on our Facebook page giving you a chance to win a Cooperized prize package!

We will be randomly selecting one winner each Friday throughout the month of March – so  you have four chances to win! Our prize package includes a signed copy of Drs. Kenneth and Tyler Cooper’s book, Start Strong, Finish Strong, a Get Cooperized t-shirt, a travel-size Beautiful Fit body wash from Cooper Spa and a one-month supply of Cooper Complete Health Nutritional Supplements.

To increase your odds of winning a prize, share the fun with your friends and family, so they can have the chance to win some Cooperized gear, too!

Stay tuned for more posts throughout the month on the history of Aerobics and it’s impact around the world.

And we want to hear from you! Leave a comment below to tell us how has Aerobics changed your life.