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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.

Orienteering at Cooper Fitness Center

September 19, 2013 1 comment

If you’re looking for a fun activity for your child’s birthday, their youth group or class team building Orienteering may be the way to go. Cooper Fitness Center Personal Fitness Trainer Shannon Edwards, M.S., leader of the Orienteering programs, gives us an inside look.

Orienteering mixes physical activity, brain power, fun and teamwork to help groups find trust, guidance, communication and encouragement. Orienteering in it’s true sense is a cross country race in which participants use a map and compass to navigate between checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. It is very task oriented and ideal for small groups to compete in teams of five people or less. Group orienteering requires excellent communications skills and group cooperation to efficiently accomplish the mission of course navigation. Whatever obstacles or problems the group may encounter must be overcome and solved with only the use of group communication, compass, and map—which are important skill sets for children to learn early!

At the Cooper Aerobics Center  which is 30 acres, any given orienteering course will cover between 3-5 miles! Kids get a cardiovascular workout that is outdoors, mission based—and fun too.

There are two forms of Orienteering at Cooper Fitness Center:

The Scavenger Hunt is for small groups who will navigate a specific course with a map and compass.

The Blind Navigation requires one group to successfully plot coordinates on a map and relay the correct course navigation to teammates on the course that don’t have the benefit of seeing the map.

Leadership skills, listening skills and critical thinking under pressure are necessary for both styles of orienteering. No matter what style of orienteering you choose, fun is the main ingredient for both.

Cooper Fitness Center hosts orienteering events for church groups, sport teams, girl/boy scout groups, companies, and even youth birthday parties. Click here to see the flyer.

To schedule your group’s Orienteering, please email or call 972.233.4832, ext. 6402.

Summer Camps Offer Play With a Purpose

July 23, 2013 1 comment

Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic registered dietitian makes learning about nutrition fun at camp.

Summer is in full swing and our phones haven’t stopped ringing from parents hoping our Summer Fit & Fun Camp is the perfect day-camp for their child. Parents typically call for a camp that will keep their kids away from video games and TV. Cooper Fitness Center Assistant General Manager Meredith Rosson says parents ask what sets our camps apart from other camps and she loves having the opportunity to tell them.

1. Our philosophy is to keep kids active all day with exposure to various sports. Our Kids Camp and Youth Camp are the sample platters on our camp menu. In these day-camps children in both age groups will try new sports like lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, disc golf and handball. This helps kids who might not excel in traditional sports like basketball or soccer, find something they feel comfortable with.

2. We provide a safe and encouraging environment within our day-camps for children to try these new activities. On the first day of camp our counselors emphasize how important it is to try new sports and how imperative it is to encourage one another. Children’s sports become so competitive at such a young age now, our camps provide a less competitive and more encouraging atmosphere to just have fun playing, not competing.

3. It’s not just sports–it’s games too! Some of our non-traditional games like Pilo polo, Last Man Standing, Nukem, and relay races are camp favorites. These games are great for the kids to share in their neighborhoods or recess with friends. They also works on the basic motor development skills children need to transfer to future athletic endeavors.

4. Our Counselors. Our Counselors go through three rounds of interviews and a background check to make sure they are just the right fit for our camp. We look for individuals that show a passion for uplifting children in a complete wellness manner. We maintain a 10:1 ratio of kids to Counselors and we also have Junior Counselors assisting. We ensure your children are safe and surrounded by individuals that want to be good influences in your child’s life.

5. Nutrition and fitness is made fun. We have experts in certain fitness and nutrition areas to complete the wellness picture in a kid-friendly 30-minute lesson. One of our popular lessons is led by Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic. She provides lessons that cover topics, like learning to “eat the rainbow” or what foods make you “leaner, stronger, faster, smarter.”

Another popular activity is the Friday Orienteering Scavenger Hunt with Shannon Edwards, Director of IGNITE! at Cooper Fitness Center. Shannon has always loved adventure and with the creation of his orienteering programs for kids, our campers have loved their Friday scavenger hunt. For the thrill of the hunt, they don’t mind running around our 30-acre campus to lead their team to victory.

6. Every day is different! I often hear from parents that their child got bored at other camps because every day was the same. We do our best to ensure that doesn’t happen. During our Counselor training we take several hours to plan out the entire summer and ensure that we make each day different.

7. Tailor it to your needs! Our sport specific camps like Soccer Camp, Tennis Camp, Basketball Camp and Dance Camps are weeklong camps that last one to two hours per day. If you are looking for a day-camp, you can pair a sport camp with our day-camps. We will ensure your child is at the right place and right time for each activity. This allows a heavier focus on their technical skills in a specific sport, which are coached by one of our Sports Pros, while also enjoying the remainder of their day at Youth Camp or Kids Camp.

8. It is affordable. Comparable to most YMCA camps, our day camps provide a “play with a purpose” philosophy without the high price of many sport and wellness programs. This allows parents to be able to sign their children up for multiple weeks at our day-camps without breaking the bank.

Most importantly we have fun! Summer is a time for kids to be kids and we want them to enjoy their summer break with fond memories of summer camp. For more information visit our website.

Vibration Training with the Power Plate

April 12, 2013 2 comments
Power Plate at Cooper Fitness Center Dallas

Power Plate at Cooper Fitness Center Dallas

Have you seen a piece of fitness equipment at your gym that looks similar to a space-age motor scooter? It’s probably a Power Plate, a vibration device used to improve strength and mobility.

The Power Plate creates instability in the body, requiring the muscles to contract to regain balance. When the vibration moves through the body, the nervous system responds in one of two ways. If there is high pre-tension in a muscle when the vibration is sent through the body, adaptations in strength will occur. If there is low pre-tension in a muscle, increases in mobility are realized. Pre-tension in the muscle is created by pre-stretching the muscle.

You can stand or sit on the plate (in a variety of positions) and vary the vibration. Changing the vibration frequency, or the speed of vibration, and duration affects the desired outcome.

The Power Plate can provide the following advantages:

  • Shorter training duration for similar results
  • Increased muscle strength and power
  • Improved flexibility and range of motion
  • Enhanced neuromuscular function
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Reduction of pain
  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Increased levels of key hormones-testosterone, human growth hormone, IGF-I and serotonin
  • Quicker recovery and regeneration
  • Improved balance and coordination

For strength training, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer Shannon Edwards, MS, recommends using the Power Plate in conjunction with traditional weight training. For example, Shannon might have a client do a traditional push-up, and then go to the Power Plate and do a static hold in the push-up position on the Power Plate platform. The client would have his hands resting on the plate close to the bottom in a push-up position, with his feet on the floor behind them. The goal is to hold the body in the push-up position while the plate vibrates. As the trainer, Shannon sets the vibration speed/intensity and the amount of time the client holds the position.

Cooper Fitness Center personal trainers and fitness specialists have had Power Plate training and can assist members and guests in using the equipment. To schedule a personal training session or to learn more about becoming a Cooper Fitness Center member, call 972-233-4832 or visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.