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Posts Tagged ‘IGNITE’

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.

IGNITE! Your Fitness

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Post provided by Meredith Rosson, Youth Programs Director at Cooper Fitness Center.

In any goal-oriented class it’s vital to have one or two participants committed to that goal to serve as role models. Amanda fills that role for the IGNITE! class at Cooper Fitness Center. Amanda has been a participant for more than two years and during that time she has won the highest steps total and highest average step total for the monthly class periods numerous times, highlighting both her effort during class and her consistency in attendance. Since 2011, Amanda has participated in more than 72 IGNITE! classes which include balance, 3D strength exercises, agility, speed, change of direction, plyometrics, hand-eye coordination and competitive games of various nature. Her understanding of these exercises has greatly improved and most importantly her quality of movement has improved. These accomplishments have given Amanda the confidence and skills to be successful when she chooses to play soccer, softball, volleyball or any other physical sport or activity.

Amanda and her mom, Sarah, answered a few questions about her IGNITE! Experience at Cooper Fitness Center below.

What made you initially sign up for IGNITE?
Sarah: Amanda’s pediatrician, Ron Blair, M.D., recommended that Amanda get involved in a fitness program at Cooper Fitness Center. As a family, we reviewed the information on the IGNITE! program and felt that it would be perfect for Amanda.

Amanda: I participated in the first session and enjoyed the activities and games.

Being the most dedicated participant, what makes you sign up month after month for this program and fit it in to your daily routine?
Amanda: I enjoy getting exercise every couple of days. I also enjoy learning new skills for sports. IGNITE! makes exercise fun and I like the competition.

In what areas do you feel you have improved the most?
Sarah: The program has had a positive effect on her being confident in other activities like soccer, softball and gym class.

Amanda: I’ve improved the most in strength, agility and speed.

How would you describe the program to your friend?
Amanda: Fun, but also challenging. You learn something new every day and get better at something, too.

How’s Coach Shannon Edwards?
Sarah: Shannon is both skillful and knowledgeable in directing this program. He has a unique ability to motivate and educate each child while taking into account their individual abilities.

Amanda: He’s really nice and very patient when he teaches you something. He doesn’t go over a skill too quickly and explains it so everybody knows what they’re doing.

What do you enjoy most about IGNITE!?
Amanda: I enjoy learning a new skill every day and then sometimes we get a challenge. I enjoy how Coach Shannon puts our lesson into a game and we use our skills in a game.

What game or drill do you enjoy the most and which one do you find to be the most challenging?
Amanda: My favorite drill is Slingshot because we get to run really fast. The most challenging one is Tall Falls because we start to fall but we run as we fall.

What level have you made it to in IGNITE!?
Amanda: I am beyond the top level!

Anything else to add to get others excited about this program?
Amanda: It is a worthwhile program and I have recommended it to my friends.

Sarah: Our observation is that Amanda looks forward to participating in every session. She also seems to enjoy the other participants and has made some new friends. Finally, we are impressed with the organization and oversight of the IGNITE! program and feel that it meets the standards that one expects from a Cooper Program.

Sarah, some thoughts on changes in Amanda?
In the first basic session, Shannon began to teach Amanda how to run. Amanda has enjoyed her time in the program and does not perceive it as an exercise chore. IGNITE! has definitely improved her agility, flexibility and endurance, and has given a proper perspective on competing to win. Every year we look at all her activities soccer, IGNITE!, dance and tennis. When schedules get more difficult, she rates her activities by enjoyment and IGNITE! is always at the top of her list.

Amanda is a wonderful example of how a kid can come into IGNITE! and have a positive experience with physical activity and allow it to change their life for the better. At Cooper Fitness Center, we always encourage the IGNITE! Participants; it’s not how well they perform a movement the first time they try it, it’s the effort put forth and the improvement. Amanda has given the good effort and now she moves skillfully and with an understanding of how to control her body during exercise. Her willingness to work hard and have fun is contagious!

Read testimonials from other parents and kids’ who participate in Cooper Fitness Centers’ Youth Programs. For more information, visit cooperyouth.com/Dallas or call 972.233.4832, ext. 6402.

Summertime Fitness and Fun for Your Kids

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Swim Academy at Cooper Fitness Center

Summer is fun-filled and action-packed at Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas. Offering fitness and sports camps, swimming lessons and athletic development, there’s something for ages 3-18. Experienced staff and an ideal camp setting—the beautiful Cooper Aerobics Center—provide the ultimate camp experience.

Built on the P.L.A.Y.S.—Play Like A Youth Should—philosophy, Cooper summer camps offer kids a non-competitive environment to explore their interests in physical fitness and sports and learn the importance of making healthy choices.

Swim Academy teaches children swimming skills they can enjoy for a lifetime. Seven levels of instruction—beginner to competitive—are offered for ages 3-15. The low student-to-instructor ratio ensures a nurturing, safe environment. Two-week group sessions and private/semi-private lessons are available. Cooper Swim Academy begins May 6.

Fit and Fun Camps deliver non-stop activity for ages 5-12. Campers participate in sports and activities including relays, soccer, basketball, hip hop dance and more. They also have a daily fitness/nutrition lesson to empower them to make healthy choices. Beginning June 3, weeklong full- and half-day camps are offered.

“We don’t want kids to spend their summer sitting in front of a TV or playing video games all day. At Cooper Fit and Fun Camps, we show them that being active can be fun and how to incorporate movement every day,” said Meredith Rosson, Cooper Fitness Center Youth Programs Director. “Campers play various sports including basketball, tennis, volleyball and soccer. Plus, they have a blast playing non-traditional games such as kickball and capture the flag. And we add in nutrition lessons for a well-rounded experience.”

Sports Camps are perfect for those ages 5-17 looking to try a new sport or wanting to improve their skills. Taught by Cooper Fitness Center pros and experienced coaches, basketball, tennis, soccer, dance, hip hop dance, martial arts and self-defense camps are offered. Weeklong sessions will be held June 10-August 2 (dates vary by sport).

Cooper Fitness Center’s Athletic Development Programs, IGNITE! (ages 8-12) and F.A.S.T. (ages 13-18), prepare youth to perform their best in any sport. Through drills and games athletes develop their speed, agility, power, strength and coordination. The multi-week programs are offered year-round.

No matter which summer activities your children choose, they’ll play with a purpose at Cooper Fitness Center.

Cooperize your kids today! Register online at cooperyouth.com/Dallas. Or for more information, call 972.233.4832.