What Can the Non-Sports Athletes Do to Stay Fit?

Check out my article in Parenting on the Peninsula in the January 2011 edition. I now have a monthly column called Coaches Corner.

What Can the Non-Sports Athletes Do to Stay Fit?

By Coach Brien Shamp

I am approached by parents all the time who are concerned that their kids are not getting enough activity. It seems as though there are two extremes for kids’ activity these days’ the non-athlete and the over-trained athlete. Actually, this hasn’t changed too much from when I was a kid; however, I do believe it is more extreme these days.

The athletes in today’s world are either playing multiple sports or have specialized in one sport. They often play year’ round and have special coaches and travel teams that can at times be more demanding than a professional athlete’s schedule. At least the pros don’t have homework.

Many parents are concerned that their children, if not athletically gifted, are not getting enough exercise. Juxtapose this to the kids who are being over-trained and exposed to long term injuries and I think you’ll agree that neither extreme is good. I generally do not recommend personal training for kids, and especially non-sports athletes, because most kids do not like structured exercise programs and gym settings. Typically, non-sports athletes do not want to do traditional sports like football, baseball, and basketball, given that they lack motor skills, strength, speed, experience, and self-esteem. The key is to find activities that are out of the box. Any movement is good movement as long as it doesn’t cause pain.

Here are some activities to consider for your non-sports athlete: walking, running, martial arts, fencing, dance, gymnastics, weightlifting, racquetball, ice skating, roller-blading, group exercise classes, home exercise training, hiking, swimming, golf, badminton, horseback riding, climbing, and many others not mentioned here. You don’t have to be a star to get good healthy exercise.

I do believe that there is a movement activity for everyone out there. Don’t give up. Explore what is available at your school as well as the local YMCA and San Mateo County Recreation Department. The right activity is just waiting to be discovered.

If you would like to discuss the right activity for you or your child contact me for a free coaching or personal training session.

Brien Shamp, BS, CSCS, CMT, CHEK, NLC II, is a Personal Trainer, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach. You can reach him at www.BrienShamp.com, www.SFBayAreaBootCamp.com, or www.MenloFit.com (650) 654-4604