5-Week Strategy: Transitioning Into Spring Running

Spring is here! You are probably excited to get outside and run.  You may have a 5K or 10K race this spring that looks interesting to you and you are anxious to get ready for it and to do well. Depending on what you have been doing this winter, you need to be careful transitioning to spring running to avoid injury. Here are some guidelines:

If you have been running indoors all winter: 

If you live in a climate like Chicago, you have likely spent the winter running on a treadmill or track.  In this case, you need to transition carefully to running outdoors.  The running surfaces and conditions outdoors are much different in terms of their impact on your body.  To avoid injury, don’t suddenly start running outdoors.  Instead, follow this strategy:

Yoga For Special Needs

Teaching yoga for special needs can be a rewarding experience. But I have found that each class is as unique as the population you are teaching.  Here are some great tips to use as you work for any fitness class with individuals with special needs.

First of all, I knew that I needed to be aware of the class I was teaching.  One season it was filled with Special Olympics clients so I needed to do stretches and strengthening for the various sports. Another had a heavy autistic population so I knew I needed to have students do yoga games with the purpose of teaching social skills and interacting with one another. Another season it was stress relief since many of my participants suffered from anxiety and fear.   I would always start class with an introduction of the class, a brief answer and question session about each person’s week, and sometimes things we were grateful for.

Beginning Sports Program for Preschoolers

It is a challenge to prepare for a preschool fitness program with young children.  Parents have various expectations that are realistic to have fun but unrealistic thinking that this one class will prepare them for a particular sport or skill.  However, I have found that even a hectic program for preschool students with special needs and their siblings can be effective if the following protocols are followed. 
Preparation:  Trainers or teachers need to have all the equipment ready.  That means that the teachers need to get to the program early and make sure you are prepared for all the activities.  Having a skeleton plan is helpful, not only for you but also all of your staff that works for you.  I typically have a lanyard with a list of activities but I also explain that I may or may not go in that particular order of activities. 

The Benefits of Running

Runners have known for years the benefits of the sport. But as my years of running have come and gone, I see a lot of my friends still sitting on the sidelines, wondering whether or not to lace up their shoes and start running.  Running is incredibly effective at making you healthier in a number of ways.   Here are some reasons that running is actually good for you.

Sandbag Training

Sandbags have been around for centuries.  They were used by wrestlers, strongmen and in martial arts.  In recent years it has caught the mainstream as functional fitness for both the elite exerciser and the everyday athlete. Sandbags are shown as a serious strength and conditioning too.  In this article, I will give you some basic reasons, guidelines, and strategies for incorporating the sandbag in your workout.

It is great for conditioning and increasing cardio heart rates as well as constant integrating unstable movement in some HITT activities.  Dumbbells are stable and sandbags with the same weight are not.  Sandbags challenge both the mind and the body. Another benefit is that they are inexpensive and can be made cheap with homemade equipment or just a duffle bag securing closed.

Lessons with a Ladder

The agility ladder is a great tool to use for training for children as well as inexpensive and easy to use.  Ladders can range from chalk drawings outside to using a dry erase marker, duct tape inside and sports tape inside a gym.  Kids love the equipment and they can easily shuffle, crawl, jump or hop through each rung as they practice their math facts, spelling words, grammar or multiple guess questions.

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