Thursday 19 February 2015

Exercise is not always healthy!

This a lot of talk about this recently. People are naturally sceptical and justly so as often the information or research on which such statements are based is often suspect, biased or just plain silly.

There is however a certain smugness among those who exercise regularly, a belief that they have put in the time therefore it stands to reason that they must be better in some way as a result of this. 
Most will believe that even if their preferred form of exercise is a bit one sided - like racket sports or involves a repetitive unnatural action - like cycling then surely they at least benefit from the endurance aspect, the improved muscle tone/strength...???  Is this so  ????

So lets examine the strength aspect first. 
If I may use my favorite analogy.. A house that is built of mud and straw has a certain strength.
A house made of metal girders and and steel bolts will be stronger. One that is made of steel girders and mud will be weaker than both. Repetitively playing the same sport or doing the same training regime will not make you stronger it will make unbalanced and more susceptible to break down.

Now the cardiovascular system. The systems and cells in our body are very specific, if we train them to be good at transferring oxygen so that we can e.g run 5 miles along a road in 25 mins that will not give us the cardiovascular ability to spend 25 mins shifting logs. To shift logs you need to send energy to a completely different part of the body. I recently went out for a dog walk with a friend who regularly does long road runs, 10K is a regular distance. But walking straight up a Perthshire hill with a dog had him out of breathe and trailing behind me..and I don't run at all!

Being fit for your chosen sport or activity and being fit to be healthy are not the same. 

Sunday 1 February 2015

Functionality - as it applies to Children

For a description of "Functionality" please see my previous blog.

Functionality is even more interesting when we apply it to children and teenagers. 

While children are still undergoing physical development, the number and type of movements you expose them to is crucial to their lifelong physical potential as well as their long term health. To add to this, children have highly adaptable bodies, so the acquisition of new movement patterns, especially those with demanding physical or mobility components comes more naturally to children.

If we focus on developing functional skills with our children we can raise their potential abilities. But it needs to be a complete training regime. We have seen that most sports have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to functionality. So what’s the proper balance of sport, dance, play or whatever else that produces the most functional child?

Children need: 
~Power ~Endurance ~Strength ~Stability ~Agility ~Coordination ~Balance ~Flexibility ~ challenges ~and Fun.

This is the opposite of specialisation. It is exposure to everything and it is rarely offered.

However if you are in Edinburgh take a look at what we have on offer at:
The Mary Erskine Sports centre:

The Dragon Academyfor under 12’s and under 18’s
The Dragon Academy has been developed by a leading parkour coach, John (Hedge) Hall and Yoga (and kickboxing) teacher, Mark Smith. It has been developed over 6 months with input from many health and fitness professionals from many disciplines. The class is focused around all of these aspects that are vital to children’s progression.  It is far from complete, or finished. But it’s closer than anything else I’ve seen out there and, most importantly, it is very accessible. It is a functional class for anyone.

Access Parkour  Adults   *   Youths   *   Under 12’s

"Individual ideologies may blind us to what is the healthiest progression methodology for our children and the healthiest form of exercise for ourselves. It is only through a truly functional training regime that we can produce the best athletes. And I suppose, that is the goal of every coach. To produce a generation of athletes who put your own skills to shame. And so that, is what I will try to do". Hedge from Access Parkour.