Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
June 26, 2017
One of the best memories growing up was when summer finally happened. A long school year of following rules, doing homework and maintaining conformist mores finally gave way to shorts, late morning wake up calls and extra play time with the dogs. It was a good time for the most part, for we were oblivious to heat and anguish and lack of nutrition, probably because we could eat anything in sight and not feel it. Either way, I used to love summers due to the fact I could get some free time to myself, whether it be drawing or reading carious science fiction books. I could go for walks and ride my bike, and when I got older I would go and take little walks to the store or to buy stuff. Anyway, summers are getting worse and worse here in Arizona, and needless to say it is becoming more and more unpleasant to go outside. I will still take a little walk in the 110 heat to try and work on my tan or get the body moving, but that is a rarity considering I am now a total indoor person. I get a slight laugh when people are dumbfounded by the fact I live in Arizona. They are complaining about 90-degree heat in their neck of the woods and then they find out we had a 116-degree day the other day. There is just no escape from the pressure. The heat is infinite it seems. Anyway, once I rap a little bit about how we can survive year after year, we tell them how important it is to stay active and to stay healthy during the summer. Becoming a homebody can happen, but you have to be a good homebody.
Anyway, one thing I constantly see on my newsfeed is the constant harping about parents getting aggravated with the fact their kids are home for the summer. While many advocacy groups try to push the year round schooling model here in most of Arizona, it would be pretty brutal considering the levels of heat that would reach during the summer time. The cooling costs would be astronomical in itself. So yes, having your kids home for the summer is probably just the same economically, for school taxes would probably have to go up to compensate for the operation costs. Either way, there are many people on my feed that are going the right route with their kids and getting them into summer programs to keep them busy and healthy. I always wished I had been able to join some others programs, but oh well. Water under the bridge I suppose. I have written a whole lot about children and health….a lot! From the fact we have a growing obesity crisis with kids in this country, I see the folly of some of my old beliefs. I fully believe we need to have kids participate in physical education programs as well as providing affordable summer programs. It’s not just a ploy for parents to pawn their kids off on someone else. I mean, you don’t have to park your kid in front of the television all summer, even though it might not be the worst thing in the world (more on that later). Anyway, the growing crisis continues as some people are starting to believe we should start identifying and treating obesity in children as young as six! http://www.newsweek.com/we-must-identify-and-treat-obese-kids-628625 This would certainly start up a controversial shit storm, considering people these days have built their kids up to be amazing just for doing normal things in their lives. So yes, this would get really tricky just to implement this. And no politician would risk their job to try and get this through to the public. Never mind the fact obesity, diabetes and heart disease are sad cultural norms.
Anyway, when are we going to truly learn that healthy kids should be the cultural norm? We have had multiple discussions about what kids should and should not be doing with their time. They should not be on their phones all day. They should not be watching TV all day. They should not be eating certain foods all day. I mean, we have so many people that have opinions about what they shouldn’t do that we often times forget about the things they should do. One thing that has certainly become a norm again at Parsons Training is the frequency of younger people showing up on a daily. Due to schoolwork and other obligations, we don’t see too many kids or young people in the gym, but since the summer has hit, the population is going up. I had barely seen Jon and Christa’s kids the previous couple months, but now I am seeing them once or twice a week as the couple are giving their kids some constructive exercise rather than just letting them sit at home. And while the average age in the gym is dropping due to the infusion of the youth, they are not necessarily the exception. Travel squads and summer teams for the various club sports are eating up the time and the pocket books of parents as kids and teens are getting the geared up for their respective never ending sports season. One thing I will give the Parsons some credit for is the fact they are getting their kids to play multiple sports and doing full body workouts. I mention this because over the last few years, major sports injuries are starting to hit younger and younger people. http://nypost.com/2017/06/19/the-epidemic-thats-ruining-youth-sports/ Normally The New York Post has a lot of trash within their confines, but this was actually a rather poignant story that addresses the growing problem of specializing kids with one sport. This was constantly talked about when I covered high school sports at that old Tucson Citizen. Coaches would gripe about kids playing other sports, or coaches would gripe about a kid’s parent having them put too much time into their sport and thus, making them tired and less inspired. We all stated the same things, but the thing that we really didn’t have was data to prove what we were saying. It was pretty rare to see coaches let their star players play other sports, but you also learned some things about sport compatibility.
A football coach at a local high school that had a pretty good team saw marketed improvement from his players that participated in volleyball. I knew a softball coach that encouraged his players to run cross country in the fall, mainly to get used to activity in warmer weather. Not to mention a baseball coach that—gasp!—told his pitchers to rest their arms for a few months after the season ended. Needless to say these were the free thinkers, and they were often met with derision or walking papers considering they were not meeting the expectations of some parents. Anyway, to get to the full point we must point out that kids and teens are becoming more and more prone to overuse injuries. Depending on your source, possibly 1.35 to 2 million young people are going under the knife for “major” sports injuries like ligament damage, major broken bones and muscle tears. This is pretty crazy when you think about, especially when you see the scariest part of the story. Tommy John injuries in young players are becoming more common in sports, mainly from pitching overuse (for the uninitiated, Tommy John surgery is the name of the ligament grafting procedure that is used when a tear in the elbow ligament occurs, especially from pitching). The advent of pitching counts might make some of the old timers laugh and point fingers while regaling about how they through 140 pitches in one game, but they had one advantage in their favor….they actually rested their arms and didn’t play year round in their youth. In fact, the general consensus among many pro baseball teams is waiting for the inevitable elbow tear, for once you damage it many pitchers come back stronger. When I covered sports, soccer had some of the worst injuries, especially from young people messing up their legs and knees due to the constant year round running. Basketball is no different either, for the commercialism of high school basketball has led to more exposure, but more potential for injuries as athletes take greater risks in showing their physical capabilities. It was inevitable these things would happen I guess. With the situation of commercialism completely overtaking the college level sports, who was to say the high school stuff wouldn’t be next?
Now of course, while keeping your kids in a diversified and structured sporting environment may be construed as good, there will always be another group of people saying that having your kids play multiple sports that work multiple parts of their body is also not the solution to avoid major injuries. The focal point of course is that the kids in general will be overworked regardless of how diversified their program is. So where does this lead us to then? Young people are screwed if they only play one sport but they are screwed if they play multiple? Talk about an impasse. There is no real middle ground on the subject, primarily for the fact this problem has only cropped up over the last 20 years. With colleges spiking the cost of their tuition 100 times faster than the average income growth, pushing your kids to play well in sports is almost the same as pushing your kids to be good in math and science. Think about the cost for a second. Say you want your kid to go to the University of Colorado and you live out of state. The average cost of a year at UC is 52 grand!! That includes average books, board and tuition. Don’t even count the cost of a car, electronics and of course food. That’s $208,000 in four years. If you spend a few thousand for a few years for your kid to get extra time and experience and earn a scholarship to UC, it would be worth the risk to your child’s body. So yeah, you can kind of see how this particular issue has been exploding in the last couple decades. This is why I laugh when some college athletes complain and demand to be paid. I mean, have they seen the average costs of going to their school? That’s why I laughed when the Northwestern players formed a union….when the worth of their scholarship was roughly 63 grand a year!
Anyway, this was kind of a rant blog to say the least, but it does ring to a certain point…it is tough trying to figure out what is best for your kids. Especially when you see articles that kind of encourage you to let your kids play video games. http://www.hindustantimes.com/fitness/parents-are-your-kids-insisting-on-playing-video-games-let-them/story-zzrEaSwYunAgUu4cy3tBcO.html Seriously, I had never seen anything like this, despite the article stating that “we don’t really have a clue if there is any long term benefit” or the fact they acknowledge video games could get extremely addictive. Anyway, this is besides the point. What should be the best and most simple answer is keep your kids active and keep them moving. Truthfully, that is really the best thing you can do.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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