In yoga class this weekend, my friends reminisced about what sporty kids they once were. From soccer to track and field, all of these active women were once active youngsters. On the opposite side of the coin was me — while I was as active as the next kid when it came to running around outside, I never got involved in sports, and I never wanted to. Now as an adult, I love to bike and practice yoga, and I especially go crazy for outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. But I will say that compared to my friends who developed a love for fitness at an early age, it took me awhile to come around. It wasn't until after all of my late nights during college that I started to make fitness a top priority. What about you?
There are many people who don't like sitting at a desk working their days away but there are few that take initiative to do something about it. After working for a Manhattan hedge fund for four years, spitfire Ann Moody decided to give up her financial career track and focus on what makes her happy — spending time with kids and doing it outdoors.
Voted athlete of the year at her alma mater, Ann could school her students in just about any sport. An accomplished marathoner, and beast on the turf, she's no doubt imparting some well-earned knowledge to her students on the playing field while enjoying every minute of it. I recently had the chance to sit down with the gorgeous gammed gal and ask her a few things about her life as a high school coach. Be forewarned, reading this bit may push you to turn in your key card for a locker room!
FitSugar: What is your athletic background?
Ann Moody: I played field hockey, soccer, and softball in high school; field hockey for a year at CU at the club level. Too many other things to do there. I love skiing and playing golf and, in general, just trying to stay as active as possible. I am studying to get my Master’s in Physical Education with an emphasis on Sport and Fitness Administration.
FS: How long have you had this career?
AM: This is my second year coaching field hockey. This Winter and Spring will be my second season for soccer and softball.
FS: What made you want to go into this career?
AM: I love sports . . . I love competition and I like seeing results. In my opinion, being outside with the kids beats sitting at a desk all day.
FS: What’s your favorite part about your job?
AM: Working with young, talented athletes is definitely my favorite part of the job. We sent two seniors to play field hockey at the Division I college level last year and will probably send more this year. Having the opportunity to be around competition and being in a position to help girls develop their talent is also just a ton of fun.
San Francisco has a case of Giants fever; it's the first time in seven years that our city's baseball team is making it to the playoffs, and people are stoked! This weekend while "watching" the game, I asked if the World Series was on — hey, people seemed really excited! — and had to have baseball leagues, playoffs, and pinch hitting explained to me several times. But just because I fit the stereotype of women and sports not mixing, it doesn't mean I can't spin them a little for my own enjoyment.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I spent an afternoon at the batting cages. Besides being a great date, hitting a ball that was coming toward me at 35 mph was a fun workout, and it helped me appreciate the sport. But why stop at the cages?
- Fore (play!): Since I'm pretty bad at mini golf, "real" golf is not happening for me — I'll take pirate ships and windmills over a sand trap, any day. Driving ranges, on the other hand, are a whole different story: no course that takes hours to finish or confusion from picking one of 14 different clubs. Instead, you get to whack a bucket of balls as far and as straight as you can. Sounds easy, but a driving range will test your posture, strength, and eye-hand coordination. Added bonus: your sweetie can always sneak in close to help with your swing.
I have two more ideas, so keep on reading!
The crack of a bat is the first sign that Spring has arrived in many communities. While 30 million school-aged kids participate in organized sports programs every year, 56 percent of LilSugar readers said they wouldn't want to know if their tot had the potential to be a world-class athlete. But that doesn't mean that they don't take team sports programs any less seriously. Athletic programs not only provide physical activity for kids, but the opportunity for them to learn team skills and camaraderie as well.
Parents spend a lot of time getting their lil ones prepared for the season with new equipment, stretching routines, and changes in their diet. But before your lil one laces up her cleats it's important for mom and dad to get themselves ready for the new season. Parents' sidelines behavior affects how a child looks at their sport both on and off the field. To provide your athlete with the right amount of encouragement:
- Cheer your lil one on, but don't go over the top. Doing so can affect their overall confidence in themselves.
- Don't try to correct your child's game from the sidelines. That's why the coaches are there.
- Sit back and allow the kids to play the game. It will provide a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
- Let your children develop, learn, and fail on the field.
- Encourage your child to try their hand at a variety of sports. Specializing too soon leads to both mental and physical burn out.
Forget Couch to 5K, maybe it should be Delivery Room to Marathon. While many postpartum mamas complain of the toll their pregnancies took on their bodies, doctors claim that the experience may make them more powerful than they were before conceiving a child. Researchers from Michigan State University and John Moores University in Liverpool have found that increases in blood volume and hormones that occur during pregnancy can improve the body's muscle strength, allowing women to excel at athletic activities.
The recent successes of mother-athletes like tennis ace Kim Clijsters, swimmer Dara Torres, distance runner Paula Radcliffe and golfer Catriona Matthew have the researchers looking at the psychological side of birth and athletics. Professor Greg Whyte, from John Moores University, speculates that the birthing process increases women's pain threshold, making female athletes even stronger than before:
"Women re-evaluate where they can anchor pain and many psychologists believe that woman’s pain threshold is effectively reset so that when she resumes or takes up training again, nothing ever seems as uncomfortable."
Did you find yourself stronger after giving birth?
Put me in coach! With the school year back in swing for most children, a new season of extra-curricular activities is under way. From athletic teams to the more creative hobbies, after-school programs offer children a chance to burn off some energy, make new friends and learn skills.
Though camps saw a downturn in enrollment this Summer due to the economy, 59 percent of LilSugar readers said they were maintaining their kids' schedule of activities. Heidi Klum was recently spotted picking up Henry from karate class in LA, and we've seen a number of celebrity tots participating in sports. What classes will your kiddos be taking this Fall?
If Michael Phelps had been pulled from the pool, would he have gone on to be the winningest Olympian? It's ridiculous to think that a child could be punished for being too good an athlete, but that's what is happening to Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old little leaguer in Connecticut who has an arm that can throw a fast one. While the pitcher tops off at 40 mph and has never beamed another child during a game, batters have a hard time hitting his pitches, and some parents were concerned when their sluggers went up to bat. As a result, the league has banned Jericho's team. Do you think this is fair?
Your lack of sleep could be affecting your performance at the gym...
The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and now performance too. Studies have associated lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
According to new research presented at SLEEP 2007, athletes who get an extra amount of sleep are more likely to improve their performance in a game including faster sprint time and increased free-throws. Furthermore, athletes also reported increased energy and improved mood during practices and games, as well as a decreased level of fatigue.
What does this mean to you? Well, get more sleep, even if you're not an athlete. If you're overtired, you may not get as much out of your exercise routine as you should. Besides, no one ever said, "Gosh, I am too rested to workout today", now did she?
Fit's Tip: It is recommended that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Don't have time? Then at the very least, try to fit in a nap during the day. Work isn't the issue, being a mom is? Then ask your husband to help you sleep an hour more tomorrow morning.
Another one bites the dust. Or rather, the dust bites another one.