YOGA FOR TWEENS AND TEENS

yogaA recent study shows yoga to be of great benefit to teens. The research is published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted their study on 51 junior and senior high school students. Some of the students did a ten week yoga PE class, and some did a regular PE class. The yoga PE class included meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises, along with yoga poses. At the beginning of the ten week study, all the students took a number of psychological tests for things like mood problems, anxiety, mindfulness, resilience and anger expression. The researchers found that by the end of the study, the teens who did yoga scored higher on some of the psychological tests, while the teens who didn’t do yoga scored worse on some of the tests. For example, teens who did not do yoga during their PE classes scored higher for mood problems or anxiety, while those who did do yoga scored lower on these tests, or their scores remained the same from the beginning of the study period. In addition, the teens who didn’t do yoga reported more negative emotions during the study period, while the teens who did do yoga reported fewer negative emotions.

Why should your Tween/Teen do Yoga?
• Physical Benefits-strength, flexibility, improved posture, ability to relax, breath
awareness, balance and stability, stabilizes energy
• Mental Benefits-stress management, decision making, concentration, healthy body image, acceptance
• Spiritual Benefits-compassion, connection, presence and intuition

I personally have two kids in this category and it is hard to get them to a yoga class with adults. I believe a class with kids their own age and instruction that guides them through a yoga practice specific for their needs will provide them with these many benefits. GATC is offering a summer yoga series on Tuesdays at 11:00am, a good time-slot for sleepy teens, ages 12 to 18.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

DEVELOP SHOTS, NOT STROKES!

Has your tMonday Night Madnessennis development stalled? Do you struggle against certain types of players? Chances are that you may be looking at your strokes and tactics through the same colored glasses. There’s probably a lot more that you can do than you realize. Let’s start by understanding that tennis is an open-skilled sport. What this means is that the conditions and environment you are facing are constantly changing. Your position on the court, the height, spin and speed of the incoming ball all changes with nearly every shot. With this in mind, what’s interesting is when you watch most tennis players during practice they’re generally concerned about grooving only one or two strokes and are basically practicing in a controlled environment. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the baseline or service line or receiving a fast ball or slow ball, it’s all the same! It’s important to understand that with this approach you are severely limiting your potential for improvement. You must recognize that one size does not fit all in tennis. Thinking about golf, most of you probably know that you have an entire bag full of clubs, each club serving a different purpose. The driver for example is designed to provide power and distance and basically just get the ball a long ways down the fairway. This is the complete opposite of a wedge which is designed to provide control on shorter shots around the green where distance is not a concern and control is at a premium. We have this in tennis as well; there are at least seven different topspin variations on the forehand alone, each is designed to answer a specific situation that you may encounter. You have your power and control shots but the where, when and how can vary considerably. So instead of practicing how you send a ball with that same old repetitive forehand, try to pay more attention to the type of ball you’re receiving. Then ask yourself, what would be the best answer or method for returning that ball? There is likely more than one answer. This is how you begin to develop your style and you begin to think about various spins, placements and the speed in which you want to play this shot. In other words, you are now developing shot types. The more shot types you possess in your arsenal, the better you will answer any challenges your opponent will send your way.
Often a student will come to me and say something along the lines of “my forehand really stinks, can you help me fix it?” My traditional answer to this is- which one? Usually, mechanics are not the problem. Typically a player has difficulties handling a certain type of ball that an opponent is giving them or they are placing the ball poorly, so I work with them on how to hit the desired location or work with them on the mechanics necessary to handle a particular shot type. Are we worried about a high ball? Short ball? Soft ball? Where are we on the court? All of this must be considered to achieve your desired results. So the next time you’re practicing on the ball machine or with a hitting partner, work on executing the most appropriate shot and pay less attention to grooving a stroke. If you need help sorting this out, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our many terrific USPTA certified Tennis Professionals that we have on staff here at Greenwood. We’re all happy to help! Good luck and I look forward to seeing you on the courts!

Ron Steege, Director of Tennis

GMO: OUR BEST HOPE TO FEED THIS PLANET? OR OUR WORST?

GMO stands for a Genetically Modified Organism. They are plants and animals produced from gene splicing; the merging of DNA from different species to make a new one. We microscopehave been eating them for over twenty years now. Food scientists first developed GMOs to increase crop production and reduce pesticide and herbicide use. However, GMO crops actually are showing to do just the opposite. A popular herbicide, glyphosate, has been found in high concentrations in genetically modified foods. In addition, sustainability farms are proving a higher yield than genetically modified production. Hopefully, the food industry will change their legislature so that a product must say whether or not it contains genetically modified ingredients.

“Without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment,” says geneticist David Suzuki. Genetically modified ingredients have been linked to cancer, depression, weight problems, Alzheimer’s and infertility. More studies are needed but for now there are a few reliable studies that are telling us the following:
• GMO DNA fragments enter our bloodstream by an unknown mechanism
• GM foods are related to gluten-related issues such as celiac disease, gluten intolerance and impaired digestion
• Glyphosate causes increase in human breast cancer cells and is linked to birth defects
The main GMO crops are:
• Cbeetorncorn
• Cottonseed
• Alfalfa (fed to dairy cows and beef cattle)
• Soybeans
• Canola oil
• Sugarbeets (main source of sugar)papaya
• Papaya

For now, what do we do? Buy organic whenever possible. A food labeled organic will never be a GMO. However, an item labeled all-natural might contain GMO ingredients. A food labeled non-GMO verified may not be organic but it does not contain any GMO ingredient. Grocers like Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage have strict standards as to what they let in their doors, but may still have products that are all-natural containing GMOs. By 2018 Whole Foods has vowed to be 100% GMO free.

Questions? Check out GATC’s Nutrition Services and give me a call!

Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.