What I've Been Thinking About...
A big topic of conversation in the gym this week is kids getting cut from sports at public schools. Sports provide an avenue for children to be both physically active and learn the pro-social benefits associated with being on a team. It is not just about playing time or wins and losses. I know people that played a sport for four years and never really saw the field. They have no regrets. They made lifelong friends, have incredible memories, and learned the importance of putting the team first over ones self. These are all incredible things. Unfortunately, some kids are being robbed of these experiences by being removed from the team.
In middle schools and high schools in my area, the best teams have great participation. Winning is infectious and kids like to be a part of that. Getting more kids into your program, training them, developing them, and turning them into the players you want them to be, is what leads to long term success. It is also what makes a coach a coach. The schools that do this are the schools that win year after year. They don't rely on a good group of kids to carry them to success. It is their program, their coaching and their teaching that builds a great environment which will lead to wins on the field and off.
I have been on both sides of this equations. Do me a favor this fall, take a look at around at the sidelines and see which teams have the most kids. Then, take a look at their win-loss record over the years and see if there is a positive correlation. In more cases than not, there will be. There will always be star players who create outliers but generally speaking, the more kids you have the greater likelihood that you can build a winning team with coaching and increased competition in practice.
Fitness Tip of the Week
I had a question this week about what to do with an ailing knee and performing cardiovascular training. They enjoy running but it hurts. Prior to hitting the pavement, the muscles, joints, and heart all need to get acclimated to the challenges and rigors of running. In order to do that, I recommend a few weeks of fast walking for about 30 minutes. If this doesn't do the trick and you are looking for more of a challenge, breathe only through your nose during this time. You'll get a great cardiovascular effect without the physical stress that comes with running.
The next thing I would so is the 4x4 interval program. This program works great for beginners or advanced. Begin the session by walking for 5-10 minutes to warmup, then jog at a good pace for 4 minutes. When time is up, you slow down and walk for 3 minutes. That is one rep. In week one, only do one rep. Remember, we are preparing the body for more work in later weeks so don't do too much too soon. In week two, you will do two reps. In week three you do three and in week four you do four. Take 10 minutes to walk after your final rep to cooldown and allow the body to recover properly.
This slow and steady process will help prepare you for longer runs. We will talk about the best way to incorporate these longer runs in next weeks newsletter!
What I've Been Reading
Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race by Shanna Swan
Heartwarming title for this book, huh? The author of this book, Shanna H. Swan, "is one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists. She is Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. For over twenty years, Dr. Swan and her colleagues have been studying the dramatic decline in sperm count around the world and the impact of environmental chemicals and pharmaceuticals on reproductive tract development and neurodevelopment."
Reproductive viability is decreasing at fast rates, every year. Swan does an amazing job sounding the alarm on this issue and makes me wonder what the future looks like for those wanting to have children. There are a lot of factors that could potentially effect having children and when they are in combination, really limit the likelihood. Countries like Japan are already seeing this play out with very low birth rates so it may only be a matter of time before this starts to show up in America.
As I look around the countryside where we live, I have noticed that things are starting to look a bit different than it did in 5-10 years ago. Warehouses are appearing where wooded areas used to be, farms are turning into developments, and generally speaking, the area itself is working its way towards becoming a little less rural. All of these changes are bringing people physically closer together but does it bring people together socially?
I have to be honest here, I have a proclivity to keep to myself. I spent a good chunk of my life keeping to myself and staying fairly quiet. One may call this being an introvert and I probably fit that definition to a tee, but every so often, when the topic is right, I feel energized by talking to people. These aren't the, "what do you do for a living" conversations. These conversations are about books, raising kids, physical training, problems in the world, etc.
I also learned that these conversatons don't happen when you stay in your shell. These conversations don't happen online. They come in person, face to face, with one or more people listening to each other, learning, hearing, agreeing, disagreeing. One last thing, even though it doesn't feel like it, it is possible to be friends with someone who you don't agree with on everything. Remember that.
Quote of the Week
"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth" - Albert Einstein
I hope you all have an awesome week!