The Paris Marathon’s Footsteps Generate Electricity

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It’s common knowledge that running is a high-impact sport. Approximately three times the runner’s weight is imparted into the ground on every step. And the legs impart energy as they push and pull over the ground. That’s a lot of energy. What if you could translate that energy into electricity? Could we use it to light up some homes?

That’s exactly what the race organizers of the Paris Marathon were thinking this year. The race sponsor, Schneider Electric SA, in conjunction with Pavegen Systems Litd. of the United Kingdom, conducted a test using flexible, energy-harvesting tiles, made from recycled truck tires.

Pavagen Tile
Pavagen Energy-Generating Tile

Laid across a 25 meter section of the Champs Elysees, the tiles were designed to convert some of the kinetic energy that each footstep generates. The tiles work by flexing about 5mm on every footstep, which can generate up to 8 watts of kinetic energy. The resulting energy was fed back into batteries.

The 40,000 runners who participated in the race generated 4.7 kilowatt hours of energy, enough to run a fluorescent lamp for 146 hours.

Imagine if every sidewalk and low-traffic street in every city was covered with these tiles. Human movement itself could become a powerful generator for the world’s energy requirements.

 

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,paris marathon,Pavagen Systems,Pavagen Tiles,energy-generating tiles>[/tags]

Broomball Block Party Brings a Neighborhood Together

Broomball_origThe party was born during a meeting among several neighbors: a winter celebration to shake the winter blues and to meet the newcomers to the street (which included yours truly).
Since my wife, Terry, a former physical education teacher turned principal, was involved in the planning, our get-together could not be your typical sedate, indoor wine-sipping how-do-you-do cocktail party. Nope, ours was to be an outdoor, fitness-style extravaganza-on-the-lake worthy of our northern ancestors.

It would involve snow-shoeing, hot chocolate, chili…and broomball! There was even talk of a post-sauna polar bear dip (after cutting a swimming hole through two feet of ice). The only taker on the latter suggestion was Terry, she of Norwegian stock and underdeveloped cold receptors—the idea was quickly nixed.

But the focal point of the evening would be the broomball game. For those of you from southern climes, broomball is a sport using a large ball and taped-up brooms. The rules are like hockey, except you smack the ball (and often your opponent) with your broom. And it’s a great team-builder because it’s difficult for a single player to stickhandle a 10” ball through an entire opposing team. Passing works better.

The day’s fitness activities began on the nearby lake, during a glorious, sunny afternoon. First duty was the ritual packing of the rink. Donning snowshoes, we walked in single file, tracing smaller and smaller circles around the 50’ x 30’ rectangle that was to become our field of battle. Two ball-hockey nets were located on either end. Lawn chairs and tables were fetched from garages and placed beside the rink. Candles were placed in sand-filled jars on footstools around the rink’s perimeter. We then left for a few hours (to take a nap) and to let the snow set to a surface upon which we could bang a ball or fall on our keester.

The game began at 7:00 PM and it was an evening to remember: clear sky, the temperature brisk but not too cold. Full moon rising over the trees. As I descended to the lake from a hilltop, I spotted the flickering candles and the assembled group of hooded players, and wondered if we were to begin the evening with a Druid ritual. Twenty players: the youngest 10-years old, but most of us middle-aged. Quick instructions from our on-site PE instructor (who supplied fancy factory-made broomball brooms), and the game began.

At first, a few of the female neighbors were reluctant to play—until one of them scored the first goal. Then it was no-holds-barred from every player. Running, yelling, falling in the snow, an occasional brilliant pass. No sticks allowed above the waist, but much tripping, holding and tackling—all allowed and expected.

A quick break for hot chocolate and we were at it again. It was like being a kid again, playing shinny on the neighborhood rink.

After an hour or so and a frenzied last-goal-wins series, we finished, dripping sweat, stripped to the bare essential clothing, steam pouring off us like human tea-kettles. A brief cooling-off period and we retired to an indoor potluck supper of chili and other good eats; and an animated discussion of who had cheated the most.

It was an evening of vivid images: the moon, bright and full; flickering candles around the moonlit rink, the steam rising off hatless heads into the darkness … and a group of crazy neighbors, many of them former strangers— all brought together by a game.
That’s what sport can do—make memories and bring people together. Of sport’s many  special gifts, these are two of the most important.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education teacher,broomball,winter sports party,the power of sports,broomball party>[/tags]

Physical Education Advocacy Video for School Decision-Makers

If you’re looking for an effective presentation to help you convince parents, school administrators and school board decision-makers about the need for physical education, check out this video.

This short  4 1/2 minute YouTube video was produced by SPARK, a “research-based, public health organization dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness.” It’s presented by Dr. Thom McKenzie, of San Diego State University, and uses whiteboard animation to keep the viewer’s interest while communicating vital facts about the need for PE in our schools. These facts, as per SPARK’s mandate, are based on research, not supposition.

If you’re in a situation where advocacy on behalf of physical education is necessary, you could email a link to this video as a way of sending a message to parents and decision-makers. The video itself is below, but here’s the link: http://youtu.be/rrLne6YVaBQ?hd=1

And here’s the video.

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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 curriculum,physical education advocacy, the need for PE, the need for physical education,,pe,phys-ed, SPARK video>[/tags]

Focus on Individual Activities Increases Physical Education Participation

Individual Activities for Physical Education

In Ontario, Canada, students are required to take physical education only in their first year of high school. That leaves three years in which secondary school students need not participate in PE. In most schools that results in a dramatic decline in PE participation.

A teacher at Essex District High School near Windsor Ontario, has found a way to increase PE participation past grade 9 by 20%. He’s changed the focus of his curriculum from team sports to individual sports.

PE head, Joe Amicarelli, a physical educator for 15 years, now offers a new physical education stream that includes fitness activities such as bowling, golf, squash, yoga, and pilates. It also includes a weight training class in which students can work out 70 minutes a day during the week.

He has seen his post Grade 9 physical education participation rate rise from 40% to 60% of eligible students.

Amicarelli decided to make this change after interviewing grade 8 students about their physical education preferences – a practice he now continues every year. He found that some boys continue to love team sports, but that most students, particularly girls, prefer individual activities. And it is those individual activities that they will participate in after school and after graduation.

Said Amicarelli,  “We’re getting all shapes and sizes taking phys ed for four years and that’s awesome. Five or six years ago, these kids weren’t doing this.”

Reference: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/06/05/wdr-phys-ed-essex-high-yoga-pilates.html

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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 curriculum,physical education and individual sports,pe,phys-ed>[/tags]

In Praise of Rubber Chickens

Booth at a Physical Education ConventionI had several reasons for starting this website (initially, a newsletter) back in the mid-eighties. One was that I love researching sports and fitness topics… another was that I felt comfortable with the clientele. Heck, I even went so far as to marry a physical education teacher.

Several years ago, I was an exhibitor at an AAHPERD convention. That experience re-confirmed the feeling that physical educators and coaches are my kind of people. In fact, I don’t know of any group that is more outgoing, pleasant and generally…fun!

At the convention, it took only one step inside the exhibitor’s hall for me to know I was in the right place. Gosh, it was the biggest playground I’d ever seen— the mother of all funhouses!

Inflatable javelins, beachballs and tail-feathered footballs filled the air. Booths offered juggle-sticks, recumbent stair steppers and footballs with jet-engine design. Exhibitors walked the floor, demonstrating bungee-balls and dressed in Lycra body-bags with big-ball butts. Special demonstrations explained the intricacies of Pickle Ball and revealed “50 things you can do with a bucket.”

Footsore delegates staggered from booth to booth, hauling shopping bags filled with free stuff: giant drink containers, pins, yo-yo’s and a front-end loader’s worth of brochures, booklets and business cards.

On the first day of the convention, one of these harried delegates approached my booth. He was a giant of a man with a physique like Herman Munster’s bigger, nastier brother. And from the expression on his face, he was a very unhappy camper.

I could hear tiny ripping noises as he glared at me and stomped towards my booth…and realized they came from the tortured seams in his XXX-L golf shirt. I started a desperate search through my mental computer… Was this a fellow I’d cut off on the highway on the drive from the airport? Did he know that I think professional wrestling is fake? Had I sent him one too many renewal notices?

Whatever he wasn’t happy about, I could envision my head being cracked like a walnut between his forearm and bicep. But then, just when his hands were within reach of my throat and I was desperately reviewing every move I’d seen in the latest Jackie Chan movie, something unexpected happened. He smiled. He shook my hand and asked, “Hi! Howyra doin’?”

It was like Hurricane Hugo had given way to a gentle, sunny day in June. It was like finding out that Mike Tyson actually has an Oxford accent and collects china figurines.

A former subscriber who had let things lapse, this gentleman seemed sincerely interested in what we were doing. But then, I suspect he’s sincerely interested in whomever he’s speaking with. After a few minutes of chit-chat he left the booth and I thought to myself, “That’s one nice person.”

It was a thought I would repeat, about many people, over the five days of the convention. But then, it seems to be almost a job requirement in the profession. Physical educators are fun people, nice people. Because there’s no better way to get through to kids than to make things fun—and to have fun yourself.

These are the types of people who are drawn to the profession and who will have a profound effect on today’s youth: in inspiring a love for fitness, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle; in teaching sport and the many qualities that competitive activity can develop.

As for the convention, I’ll probably attend another. After all, where else could I hear the phrase (and this is quoted verbatim), “Thanks for the information. Now I have to buy some rubber chickens.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]physical education teachers,physical educators,rubber chickens,pe convention>[/tags]

Don’t Be That Awkward Runner

Physical education - Awkward Runner VideoAs a running coach, I see all sorts of technical errors in my runners. Especially from those who have patterned themselves after television or running magazines and THINK they are emulating those models.

In fact, what an athlete thinks they are doing often doesn’t match reality.

In this video, called “Don’t Be That Awkward Runner,” you’ll see some over-exaggerated, humorous examples. But the funny thing is, while exaggerated, I’ve encountered variations of every one of these awkward runners. For example, I’ve seen runners with unstable core, floppy arms, no arms, foot contact ahead of the center of mass, no arm action, heel contact first, over-wide stance, straight arms, over-exaggerated arm lift. All are exhibited in this video.

The video has labels for some of these running styles that may someday become part of the running coach’s lexicon: “the Geezer,” “the Dandy,” “the T-1000,” “the Flightless Bird,” “the Stiffy.”

Enjoy the video and whatever you do, don’t be a “Flightless Bird.”

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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]running videos,funny running videos,running technique videos>[/tags]