Running While You Study – Not As Crazy As it Sounds

A TrekDesk Work Station
A TrekDesk Work Station

I once coached a student-athlete who had the most peculiar study habits.

Like many students, she often found herself falling asleep shortly after opening her books. Her solution to this problem was unique. She began studying during exercise sessions. She would prop a book on her elliptical trainer or treadmill and read while pounding out the miles.

Soon, hitting the books became synonymous with hitting the gym. It became common to see her with a handful of notes while doing laps on her neighborhood indoor track. She once ran 100 laps while doing a review for exams.

When she began this routine, she could hardly be called an athlete. In fact,  this study-exercise combination helped her to drop 30 pounds and elevate herself from a recreational jogger into a second-team All-Canadian runner over the course of several years.

Having seen her attempt to study on a number of road trips (10 minutes-and-asleep), I always thought that her study strategy was pretty smart. In fact, it made sense, since she was using her brain while it was in a highly oxygenated and receptive state.

However, I must admit that I considered her study habits…unusual.

But no more. A company is now selling treadmills specifically for studying and working. Trumpeting the advantages of combining physical with mental exercise, TrekDesk now makes complete workstations that fit over any treadmill and allow you to walk while you work.

Apparently and unknowingly, my student was on the cutting-edge of exercise innovation.

I have absolutely no connection to TrekDesk, but you can take a look at their website at the following link:  TrekDesk

And my student-athlete who could only study while on the run? She’ll be finishing law school this Spring and will be articling with a firm she has worked with for the past two summers. They love her.

I just hope they have a treadmill in their law library.

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!
To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]fitness,exercise,studying while exercising[/tags]

The “Sleep It Off” Misconception

Bottles_blog2As we turn the page on another year, I can’t help but think about a tragedy that marked the end of 2009.

Two young men, who had been best friends since childhood, attended a Christmas party where they consumed, as young people often do, a significant amount of alcohol. Instead of driving home inebriated, they did the right thing and stayed over at the host’s house so they could “sleep it off.”

After a few hours of sleep and assuming they were OK to drive, they headed for home the next morning. It was 10:00 AM when they left. Unfortunately, during the drive, they hit a patch of ice and spun into a telephone pole. One of the boys flew out of the windshield and was killed.

The other fellow, whom the police assumed was driving, was tested and found to be still legally intoxicated. In addition to losing his childhood friend, this young man is now going through the court system and may face jail time.

It’s a tragedy for both families and for both boys – they are/were excellent people – the kind of young men you’d want your daughter to marry.

I guess there are two morals to the story. One, always wear your seat belt. Two, sleep isn’t a magic remedy for inebriation. Whether asleep or awake, it takes at LEAST an hour per ounce to metabolize the alcohol in your system, depending on your size and sex. In fact, that process might take even longer when you’re sleeping because your metabolism slows down.

That going to sleep will automatically make you sober when you awaken is a popular misconception and one that PE teachers, as the primary providers of health information in our schools, must contradict. This misconception is so prevalent that morning drive-time is now considered a high-risk time for drunk driving and many police forces set up spot-checks from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM.

A pre-determined plan for getting home, involving a cab, parent or designated driver, is always the safer option.

I hope the upcoming year is a safe and happy one for you.

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!
To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,health[/tags]

“Hurricane” Hazel McCallion Illustrates the Benefits of Lifetime Fitness

Hazel_blogAs the end of 2009 approaches, I’ll leave you with an illustration of the true end-goal of  successful physical education programs – an example of the benefits of a lifetime of consistent exercise.

Hazel McCallion, at 88 years of age, has been the mayor of Mississauga for the past 31 years!  Nicknamed “Hurricane Hazel,” mayor McCallion has an approval rating of 92%, and has won 11 straight elections. She has outlasted eight Canadian prime ministers and has her own bobble-head doll.

Mississauga, a former suburb of Toronto, is the 6th largest city in Canada. Under McCallion’s direction, it is completely debt-free and has 700 million in reserves.

The mayor is incredibly busy, but includes exercise in her hectic schedule. A former player in a women’s professional hockey league, she leaves her skates and hockey stick in the trunk of her car so she has them wherever she goes. She sometimes sneaks into a hockey rink during the day with a stick and puck and skates around on her own. She bowls, uses an exercise bike and is incredibly fit and vital.

Check out the following video of a Rick Mercer interview (from CBC’s comedy show, the Mercer Report)  with Mayor McCallion and watch her engage in some of her favourite exercise activities, including hockey, bowling and exercise cycling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY79KbCptTo

Have a happy holiday, everyone! I’ll see you in 2010! (Our next blog posting will be on January 4th).

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,fitness,Hazel McCallion,Mississauga[/tags]

Football Games and the True Excitement in Sport

FBall_web1I’m a big NFL football fan. In particular (after having attended the University of Wisconsin for six years), a follower of the Green Bay Packers. To me, one of the consolations for Fall’s shorter days and colder temperatures is the fact that I get to watch NFL football on Sundays.

That said, the two most exciting games on television over the past two weeks didn’t take place in the NFL. They were games in “lesser” leagues north of the border.

One example was the Canadian university game between Queen’s and Laval universities for the Mitchell Bowl, the Eastern Conference Championships. In this barn-burner, passing sensation Danny Brannagan of Queen’s built up a huge lead in the first half only to have Laval charge back in the second half, gain possession with two minutes to go, then ultimately lose by only three points. The game was broadcast only in French…which I don’t speak. Yet I couldn’t stop watching. The 6000 fans in the stands might have been 60,000, they were making so much noise.

The second example was yesterday’s Grey Cup game. This championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL) followed a similar scenario, in which the underdog Saskatchewan Rough Riders built up a two-touchdown lead, only to squander it and have the game come down to a final drive and a 43-yard last-second field goal attempt by the favoured Montreal Alouettes. That field goal attempt was wide, but a too-many-men-on-the-field infraction gave Montreal a do-over from the 33 yard line. Kicker Damon Duval, who had been horrible all game, put it through the uprights to give Montreal the win. It was shocking, and exciting and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

My point is…the excitement in sports isn’t determined by big salaries, big budgets and media hype. It comes down to hard competition and the ebbs and flows of a close game between two equal teams. And to the gut-wrenching pressure of last-second win-it-all plays. And that can happen at any level, including elementary and high school – as I’m sure all of you involved in scholastic sports already know!

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]football,physical education,competition,Grey Cup,Mitchell Cup,CFL,CIS,NFL[/tags]

Dirty Players – Big Brother is Watching

DirtyPlay_web2

I’m sure many of you have seen it on television sportscasts – a video of dirty play in a soccer match between college varsity teams from New Mexico and  BYU.  It showed New Mexico’s Elizabeth Lambert engaging in dirty tricks such as elbowing an opponent in the back; kicking a ball into a player’s face; kneeing an opponent in the stomach; punching in the face; and most damaging, pulling an opponent’s ponytail from behind so hard that it dropped her like a stone and had the potential to cause major whiplash.

The video has gone “viral” and in addition to appearing on YouTube, has been shown on major sports news broadcasts all over North America. Do I know the whole story? No. Was there major provocation? Maybe – at least one of her “shots” was in retaliation for an elbow she received.

Lambert is apparently a master in choosing her moments, because most of these infractions went unpenalized. However, in an age in which video cameras are everywhere: in the hands of parents, fans, team staff…and in cell phones…it’s no longer easy to get away with such behaviour.

Elizabeth Lambert is reported by teammates to be a wonderful person off the soccer pitch. She has apologized and the negative attention has punished her well beyond what is normal. And she was also suspended indefinitely. But none of this would have happened if she hadn’t been caught on tape.

And dirty is dirty. With a recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine indicating that, every year, over 14,000 serious sports injuries at the high school level occur because of illegal player activity, such behaviour cannot be tolerated.

So, dirty players, beware. Even if the refs don’t see you, someone in the stands will take notice. And that someone may have a video camera!

The video is below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNmPybFK2_o

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,dirty play in sport,sport infractions,sport ethics[/tags]

We Must Teach Students That Walking is a Form of Transportation

Walking_blog1

In most of the world, people walk to get places. They walk to school, they walk to work. If they don’t walk, they ride a bike.

However, in North America, our car-culture has given us a generation of children who don’t consider their feet to be a mode of transportation.

The bus takes them to school. If the bus doesn’t stop at their front door, parents give them a drive to the bus stop. Mom and Dad drive them to activities – including sports activities. Their friends drive them to the mall.  They have the impression that anywhere worth going to is too far to walk, when in fact, that walk might take only 15 minutes. It may not actually BE a long walk, but it might seem far when you’ve only ever driven it.

One of the best things you can do in PE class is to make your students walk around your neighborhood. Show them how long it takes to get places.  Tell them to walk to the mall and time how long it takes. Walk for 15 minutes down a street. How far did they get?  Have them walk in the rain with umbrellas. Have them walk in the snow. Make these classes an exercise in transportation.

Show them that their feet weren’t just designed for standing…or even for sports. They were designed to get them places. And amazingly, their feet can get them places in bad weather. Show them that walking is basic human transportation…in addition to one of the best fitness activities they can perform.

These classes will give them a feeling of freedom when they realize they don’t have to depend on Mom and Dad to drive them everywhere. Tell them to think of it as an exercise in personal freedom and emancipation from their parents. That’s an easy sell for most kids!

Heck – during these activities, they may even walk by their house. The house they take a bus from every morning.

P.S. And yes, when I was a child, I DID walk 20 miles to school, in the snow, barefoot, both ways uphill. But that’s a story for another posting 🙂

dick_headshot_web8.jpg

Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,fitness,walking,youth fitness,[/tags]