Exercise has a VERY wide range of benefits for overall health. Weight control, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, improves mood and focus, helps keep you regular, improve your sleep quality, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, provides social benefits, etc. etc. Less talked about is the benefit on your brain and the learning process. In very brief terms, this is how it works:
Just wanted to share a quick article mentioning some of my very favourite researchers: Dr. John J. Ratey and Dr. Stephan C. Putnam. This article will give you a brief insight on why we do what we do!
Another common question:
Q- My son/daughter has limited mobility, will there be enough for them to do with in the gym?
A-Yes, of course! All physical and cognitive activities are scaled to the participant’s level. We have children attending who are working on a very wide range of skills.
As for physical activity for an individual with limited mobility, whether they are in a wheel chair, rely on a walker or supportive assistance, or a close contact to hold onto when needed, we plan activities based on their capabilities. Here is our planning procedure for ANYONE coming into the gym.
1)Free Initial Consultation. Parent/Caregiver and child come into the gym. We discuss strengths, weaknesses and goals. We observe physical and cognitive abilities.
2) Match the individual to a coach. Ignite coaches have a broad range of skills and strengths. We match the child with the coach who will be the best match.
3)Discuss strengths, weaknesses and goals observed through the Initial Consultation and brainstorm activities.
4) Research. Learn more about client’s possible difficulties and what research says has been successful in helping them thus far.
5) Start with what research has said to be successful while coach and client get comfortable with physical limits and abilities.
6) Build their repertoire of movements through progressions.
7)Watch them hit new goals and succeed!
Special Note: Parent’s are always welcome to stay and observe sessions. They can provide feedback or discuss concerns at any time. They can even participate if they wish! However, some kids are negatively impacted by parents watching. If this is the case, we can record any sessions with your permission and provide you with the recording.
Another common question!
Q- Do you offer semi-private sessions?
A- Yes! We love Semi-Private sessions. Semi-private sessions include a sibling or friend. We have also had parents request a semi-private session and we have matched them with other clients who are working on similar goals.
Semi-Private sessions have so many benefits. To name a few:
-Opportunity to work on social skills
-Practice collaborative problem solving
-Practice sharing and turn-taking
-Some activities are just more fun with more people!
Q- My son has limited verbal communication and doesn’t use many words. Would he see a benefit?
A- Of course! Absolutely!
We plan sessions based on the needs of each individual in the program. It is not a “one size fits all” program. Through physical activity and play we would work towards improving communication skills, whether it be body language, facial expressions, voice, written or from a tech device.
Engaging in exercise and games with their coach provides a natural setting to practice communication through play. Sessions would be planned based on their preferred type of communication. Physical activity creates an optimal environment in the brain for learning. It increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain which in turn releases hormones and creates a surge of brain cell growth and stimulates the creation of new connections.
So, our goal would be to provide exercise to prime the brain for learning all while practicing communication skills and creating a fun environment to work on specific goals.
Here is an example of a potential session for a child who has limited verbal communication.
- Arrive, play a game with coach.
- Go over the session plan at the white board with coach. Plan is set up using visual pictures.
- Warm up/Game
- Activity- Mirror Me -Coach, moves through different actions while saying the action, child follows the actions. If the child practices saying the words that is great, if not, listening and following is a great skill on its own!)
- Free time to play. Coach plays along, and enforces back and forth exchanges of communication.
- Obstacle Course + See and Say. Child runs through obstacle course while saying the name of the obstacle/movement or pointing to the visual image of what they are about to do before moving on.
- Free play/game before leaving.
Throughout the session, eye contact and appropriate body language is encouraged and coach models appropriate skills.
Getting active provides a great opportunity for learning for ALL abilities!
Alright, so you’ve met a couple clients this week and those interviews will continue throughout November but I wanted to also answer some commonly asked questions.
Throughout the weekend, I invite you all to direct message or email us with any questions you may have or anything you’re curious about! I’ll start answering them in depth next week. There are no silly questions. If you’re curious, ask away!
Facebook : Ignite! Enrichment Through Exercise
Today! We are catching up with one of my very first clients when I started with Ignite back in 2013.
When we first started working together he was working on “Come Here’s” and “Freeze” . Now, he is doing full workouts and following much more complicated sets of instructions!
He is such a happy guy and instantly adds such a positive energy to the gym. As soon as he walks in, he excitedly asks, “What are we going to play today?” He is open minded and up for any challenge!
We all enjoy having him here!
His parents are huge advocators for him and have supported Ignite for years. We appreciate this family and we look forward to watching Ryan grow into an intelligent, humorous young man!
We asked them a couple questions and here’s what they had to say 🙂
1. What brought you to Ignite?
– We heard good things about Ignite working with kids who struggle at different things/levels in life. Our son needed things to do outside of the house and this had the added bonus of setting goals for him to work towards.
2. What are your goals?
– To give Ryan things to do outside of the house. Also for him to learn to listen and follow instructions w the added bonus if being active
3.What has been successful?
-Ryan has learned to do various different exercises (although he doesn’t do them perfectly) he still recognizes what they are and attempts to do them. He always looks forward to going and seeing the instructor who ever it may be. Ignite provides him with a sense of being like other kids with after school activities.
– When Ryan did a group wit two other kids learning to run a 1km. Watching him do the run and finishing it was awesome to see.
5. Outside of Ignite, what are your biggest challenges?
-Finding groups for him to do things that would give him a chance to make friends or just other groups like Ignite with activities he can do after school.
Kristy is Delilah’s fierce Mama!
Delilah is almost 9 years old and she has Cerebral Palsy. Delilah has been with us for 2.5 years and has been working on standing with assistance, grip strength, communication and engaging with the coach. Kristy is such a strong advocator for Delilah. She doesn’t ever want Delilah to get left behind and she wants to help Delilah find success !
We love having her smiling face in the gym each week!
He has been with Ignite since 2012. He has an Acquired Brain Injury from a car accident in Senior Kindergarten. I have been working with him since Grade 3. He just graduated grade 8!! So, it is safe to say we have both challenged each other a time a two! Now, normally this guy is so full of stories the video would be 10 minutes long, but NOW, he is a teenager so he is far too cool for an interview :p .
Talan has been my bright spot for years and it is such a pleasure having him with IgniteGym. Keep working as hard as you do and making as many people laugh, Talan!