Archive for the ‘youth fitness’ Category

The underlying finding of a recent study at the Montreal Heart Institute is clear to me: parents aren’t exercising nearly enough with their children. And our children are our future.

So understanding and supporting their natural yearning for physical activity is crucial in helping them to lead a lifetime of happy and healthy living. If we joyfully teach them how to include healthy exercise from the early stages of their development, we will be giving our children a gift that will endure throughout their lives. Not to mention the health benefits and joy you will get too!

Life’s a Game… Press Play!

I am very concerned about the growing problem of childhood obesity and the lack of exercise in their lives. Whether this obesity and inactivity is caused by the popularity of video games, cell phones, computers, or the declining hours of physical education in schools, it is a wake-up call for everyone. Fortunately, I truly believe there are ways of reversing this growing trend and helping our children to enjoy daily exercise and outdoor activities, which they love given the opportunity.  And given the opportunity to be active with mom or dad is also a plus that everyone can benefit from.

So, to emphasize, once again, the importance of exercise, I have put together some of the health benefits an active child can expect.  Among the many benefits of regular physical fitness are confidence and stronger self-esteem, more energy, better memory, and simply a good feeling about themselves. This can be easily attained if we not only encourage our kids to be more active, but get more active with them.

Check out what science already has shown in numerous studies over the years on how exercise improves physical health for everyone.  However, pay particular attention to how this can benefit your children.

Long-term health benefits of exercise are:

» A stronger immune system! The body’s ability to fight disease is improved. Children are less prone to colds, allergies, and diseases, including cancer.

» A reduction of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and improving carbohydrate metabolism.

» A lower blood pressure and an improvement of the child’s cholesterol profile.

» A strengthening of the entire cardiovascular system, including the heart and lungs. The heart develops a higher “pump-activity” while the child’s heart and lungs are strengthened, supporting the prevention of heart disease.

» Children are less likely to become overweight and will have better control of their body fat. Overweight children are able to reduce their body weight and body fat due to the physiological effect of burning fat while exercising.

» Children develop stronger bone structure and muscle structure.

Active children enjoy additional health benefits, because:

» Exercise increases the blood flow to all body tissues, including the brain. Greater blood flow transports more oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells.

» Active children improve their body’s ability to absorb oxygen through aerobic exercise. Due to the increased oxygen in their body’s cells they feel more energized. More oxygen translates into more energy!

» Increased blood flow promotes the body’s transportation of the byproducts of metabolism and toxins back from the cells for elimination, recycling, or further use elsewhere. Children who exercise feel fitter and more energized because of their body’s ability to detoxify.

» Active children breathe better and sweat more. Breathing and sweating are great ways to detoxify the body and help it keep itself “clean.”

» Children increase their over-all fitness through exercise.

Exercise Improves Mental Health

» Exercise enhances the brain’s metabolism. Studies show that active children have improved memory as a result of better brain function!

» Moderate, fun-oriented exercise literally burns off excess harmful hormones and, at the same time, increases the release of beneficial ones. One of the beneficial hormones acts as neurotransmitter for establishing new memories.

» Active children have the ability to concentrate much better, even at the end of a long school day.

» Studies report that exercise decreases anxiety, reduces depression, and improves mood and outlook in children. In addition, their quality of sleep is improved.

Perhaps most importantly, physical activity develops children’s self-esteem and confidence. Their ability to overcome difficult situations improves and they simply enjoy a better, sunnier outlook on life.

So Get Up, Get Out and Play with your kids! And remember, they don’t just have to be little to play with, teens still like to play too!

Life’s a Game. Press Play!!
In health and happiness,

Todd G. Dattoli, M.S.

ACE Certified Fitness Professional
IYCA Certified Youth Conditioning Specialist

Yes, you read the title right…

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 50% OF AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL BE OBESE BY 2010!!

That both disgusts me and saddens me at the same time…

So…How many of you are aware of one of the most saddest facts of our lifetime? How many of you are moved so deeply in one way or another deep within your soul, that you just can’t stand around and wait anymore for someone else to correct the problem and make it right again? I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep my voice unheard anymore and I for one want to do everything I can to try and make some kind of difference in stopping this from happening and maybe our kids might live long enough to lead healthy lives!

What do I mean by our kids living long enough to lead healthy lives? Well, here is another absolutely frightening fact, as researched by our own government lead by the Surgeon General’s office:

Our kids, your kids, my kids, the children of this generation, may just be the FIRST generation to NOT outlive their parents due to the complications of childhood obesity that has officially been classified as an epidemic.Check out this movie trailer for some absolutely shocking information on just how severe the obesity epidemic has become in our nation.

“Killer At Large” Trailer

So, have I got your attention now? I hope you took the time to watch this trailer, because if you didn’t watch it, you NEED to watch it. I want you to feel something happen inside of you when you hear what the Surgeon General has to say about the obesity epidemic…I want you to be moved in one way or the other when you see a 12 year old girl getting liposuction done, and I want your reaction when you hear that 60% of our military is overweight as soldiers stand in line at a Burger King stand….Are we going to keep our heads buried in the sand people or are we going to stand up individually, yet collectively and do something about it? Are you prepared to watch our country continue to degrade to the point that someday…SOON…if we don’t change our ways….that someday we will not even be able to defend our country because our military will not have enough healthy men and women to keep us safe? Do we really want to bury our children because they are suffering from a whole host of diseases due to being overweight or obese? C’mon, folks, what are we thinking!! We have to stop feeding our children so much processed sugar and junk food and get them outside playing like we did when we were kids!It’s not that hard, it really isn’t. But, if you’d rather contribute to these numbers:

33.3% of youth today ages 6-19 are overweight!
More than 34% of our TOTAL population are either overweight or obese…
Lets do some quick math…um, lets see, September 2008 the U.S. went over the 300million population mark…so, 34% of 300 mil = 102 million people in the U.S. alone who are overweight!
Thats totally whacked! People, wake up, you’re killing yourself, your children, your country!

Band-aid solutions are not enough…we need to be pro-active, do something about this epidemic before it kills our kids. What can you do? Lead.

Yes, thats right. Lead. Lead by your actions.
 Eat right, eat healthy and show your kids how to eat right and eat healthy. Get up off the couch and lead your kids with some exercise.
Only, don’t call it exercise, because as adults, we’ve grown to think of exercise as either a chore or boring….if you’re kids think you think exercise is boring or a chore, then why should they do it?
Our schools surely don’t give them enough exercise, so it’s up to US to lead them. It all starts at home, not with the school system or sports or youth centers…it starts at home.
Remember when you were a kid? You played…you didn’t exercise….we played in gym at school, had recess and played some more and then we played when we got home.
So, don’t “exercise” with your kids, PLAY with them….Playing is the best form of exercise there is and guess what, when you’re playing, you’re having FUN!!
That’s what kids want and need…FUN.
And we as adults, with our busy, hectic, stressed out lives, we need to have FUN too. So, by playing with them, not only do your children get the exercise they sorely need, but you get your body moving too and you are now leading them by design, instead of passing the buck to our school systems who think that academics are more important than exercise.

It has to start somewhere people. If it doesn’t, we are going to be a very sad, sad nation. And who will we have to blame?

Get involved. Do something for your kids. Don’t just think that by enrolling them in some sporting activity your job is done. It takes way more than that to keep them healthy and happy. For instance, did you know that over 3.5 million children annually get injured in youth sports…I’m not talking about bumps and bruises people. I’m talking about injuries that take their toll on a young kids body, like torn ACL’s, shoulder injuries, broken bones, head trauma, ect. And that’s just the stuff that is reported…how ’bout all the injuries that AREN’T reported? So, get your kids involved in sports, but don’t rely on sports to be the end-all-be-all to keeping your kids healthy. Get involved and then help your child to be the best athlete he/she can be by guiding them, loving them and teaching them some basic principles that will help them become better athletes and someday better adults.

What basic principles am I talking about? First, teach them the power of proper nutrition and how a properly fueled body will not only keep them healthy but perform to the best of their ability. Nutrition is the key to playing….whether it’s playing in the back yard or on the diamond or football field, ect. Your kids need proper hydration and nutrition. Learn the basics of this because you can not assume the coaches are going to know or follow any type of regimen of proper nutrition guidelines.

Second, teach them RESPECT…for themselves, for each other, for their coaches, their opponents, and other parents. You can teach them RESPECT, by leading by example. And don’t forget to give your kids some just due RESPECT as well. It goes both ways.

Third, teach them to better understand the meaning of the word FUN…if you’re child is not having FUN, then this could lead to a whole host of problems, not the least of which is potential injury. Because if your child’s not having FUN, then when they are competing, their not truly paying attention to the game, and when their attention is drawn elsewhere as they drift in thought when they should be paying attention to the girl running full steam to set up a pick on the basketball court or your son is too busy thinking how much more fun he could be having playing ‘guitar hero’ as an offensive lineman is about to block him into next week, then not only will they end up injured, but then their drive to play sports will really wane. So, make sure they are having FUN. They should not be out there because YOU want them to be, they should be out there playing sports because they want to have FUN. When it’s no longer FUN, it’s time to stop, before it’s too late. Organized sports is NOT the only way to get your kids moving. If they don’t want to play sports, doesn’t mean they still don’t like to PLAY. Go PLAY with them. Have some FUN and reap the benefits of moving both your kids bodies and yours.

And Fourth…Teach them that it’s not all about the X’s and the O’s. You must coach your child just as the coach of the team is instructing them about the game. Teach them that’s it’s not just all about the W, but it’s about learning to achieve their own personal freedom and inner championship. Winning a plastic trophy is not what life is all about, and when we as parents get too caught up in that, so often times our children never learn to develop not just as a complete athlete but as a consumate human being. Teach with a holistic approach that slow, continuous development day by day is far more important for long term growth and will ultimately help them grow as both an athlete and a well-rounded, well-adjusted human being. If we all taught these principles with the same fervor we shout and scream at the coaches, refs and our children to WIN at all costs, we just might produce more W’s and less injuries while turning out some incredibly admirable, productive and healthy human beings.

The more health concious we are, the more we lead by our actions, the more we help our children to lead healthier lives, the more concientious we are about the nature of sports and how it impacts our childrens lives, the better our chances are as a nation of reversing this horrible epidemic that could very well end up as one of the most tragic events to ever unfold in human history.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu
Life’s a Game. Press Play!!
In health and happiness,

Todd G. Dattoli, M.S.

ACE Certified Fitness Professional
IYCA Certified Youth Conditioning Specialist

Here is a little interesting tidbit I thought you might find interesting, especially if either you or your child, especially girls, think they can’t play sports. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, I HIGHLY encourage ALL kids to get involved in some type of youth sport program. The benefits are tremendous! I could write an entire blog post, maybe even a book, on why and what the benefits are to exercise, youth sports and healthy eating habits. Maybe I will someday, but for now, I’m going to leave you with a few interesting facts on youth sports and girls, which makes for an extremely healthy combination in so many ways.

Did you know, that for the most part, research has been done that shows that both boys and girls between the ages of 6 & 9 years old are equally interested in playing sports? Maybe you already know this. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re still thinking that youth sports are something primarily for boys and you’re surprised to read this. The simple fact is, sports are for BOTH boys and girls and they both are equally excited in playing sports at an early age. However, it’s all how we as parents go about encouraging our kids, particularly girls, to get involved and play what they show an interest in.

And why is this so important? How ‘bout this for a quick but powerful reason: Not only will girls get the exercise they so sorely need to keep them healthy, but the benefits of youth sports include an array of talents girls need to succeed in life, such as learning teamwork, goal-setting and overcoming challenges. Learning these types of life lessons is just as important to young girls as it is to young boys, and the earlier they get a jump on things, the better prepared they are for LIFE and whatever comes their way. Nurture their spirit now as it will pay HUGE dividends for them later.

Ok, so maybe you’re still a little hesitant to let your little girl play sports or maybe you don’t believe me. ‘Cause who am I anyway, right? I’m just some exercise fitness guy who you think is supposed to say things like this right? No problem, fair enough. Don’t believe me. Believe in the research recently conducted by the prestigious Women’s Sports Foundation, led by Dr. Don Sabo, PhD., Director of Research, ( in a report where they highlight many more reasons, both mental and physical, as to the benefits of girls participating in youth sports. In there report, they provide what I feel are 10 AWESOME REASONS why girls should play sports.

  1. High school girls who play sports are more likely to get good grades and to graduate.
  2. Girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem and confidence and lower levels of depression.
  3. High school girls who play sports are less likely to become pregnant and to engage in sex.
  4. Girls and women who play sports or are physically active are less likely to get breast cancer.
  5. Girls and women who play sports may have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease that affects 40% of women age 50 and older.
  6. Girls who play sports have a more positive body image and higher states of psychological well-being.
  7. Girls who play sports are less likely to smoke or use illegal drugs.
  8. Girls who play sports are more likely to engage in healthy activities like fastening seat belts when in a car.
  9. Girls and women who play sports eat and sleep better.
  10. Girls and women who play sports are less likely to be suicidal.

How ‘bout those reasons for some inspiration, as well as staggering facts on the power of youth sports for girls?

Now, if someone says to you, “You’re going to let your daughter play sports? Aren’t you afraid she will get hurt?”, or anything remotely like that, give ‘em some of these reasons! Ask them to refute these facts rationally and logically…I’m willing to bet you won’t get much of an argument, and if you do, it will be either weak or just for the sake of arguments sake. ‘Cause you know, some people just love to argue because that is their nature. In fact, you know what, send me your feedback on this. I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I DARE YOU.

For more information on this, I encourage you to check out
as they have some wonderful and inspiring information on youth sports for girls and women. The organization was founded in 1974 by Billie Jean King and their whole mission is to “To advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity.” Check it out, seriously.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful, as my whole mission in life is help people, especially kids, adopt a healthy lifestyle and play the game of life like it’s a sport. See ya next time.

Life’s a Game. Press Play!

Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been erected to a critic.”
–Jean Sibelius

In health and happiness,

Todd G. Dattoli, ACE Certified Professional Fitness Expert
IYCA Certified Youth Fitness Specialist

Check out this video to see me in action with a young man who has been training with me since he was 9 years old. This boy is absolutely a remarkable boy. I have grown very fond of him and I just thought anyone reading my posts might be interested at a glimpse in on how I incorporate both coaching and fun with training. Kids don’t need regimented training that is boring and consists of the same old routines…they need to have fun while they learn. Scott has become an excellent athlete as well as a fine young man that I am extremely proud of. I hope to always be a part of his life and watch his successes in life mount. I hope you enjoy the video. Have a great day.

-Yours in health,

Todd G. Dattoli