Archive for Ask An Expert

Why Recess Matters – Kids In Pursuit of Play

Kids are built to move! Growing bodies are pushing their boundaries as they learn both how to move and how to build lifetime habits of being active.

Unfortunately, many kids are deprived of the opportunity for recess and physical education as schools focus on standardized testing emphasizing academic subjects. The most frustrating part of this is that kids who move more do better on those tests!1,2

Kids in Pursuit of Play with LuckyDog Recreation

Kids In Pursuit of Play

Regular physical activity is key to the growth and overall success of children as they grow into maturity. Current recommendations for children under 18 years of age:

  • Kids need at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, and including at least three days of vigorous physical activity.
  • Include muscle strengthening activities such as climbing trees, using playground equipment, etc. on at least three days of the week.
  • Also, bone strengthening activities like running or jumping rope should be done at least three days of the week as well.3

That’s a lot of activity for a child who is essentially confined to a desk for most of the day.

It comes as no surprise that teachers commonly complain about behavioral disturbances, when research clearly shows that even one period of recess time of at least 15 minutes has significant positive improvement on classroom behavior.4

Recess Matters Because Children Matter

If we really care about children and their ability to succeed in today’s world, we need to prepare them for success by building strong habits early on.

If we really want to see school test scores improve, we need to provide opportunities for growing minds to succeed with built in physical activity.

Kids are meant to move; let’s show how much we care by giving them that chance.

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association between school based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
  2. Physical activity and sedentary time in relation to academic achievement in children. Haapala, Eero A. et al. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport , Volume 20, Issue 6, 583 – 589.
  3. US Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. 2008. http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines.
  4. 4. School recess and group classroom behavior. Barros RM, Silver EJ, Stein RE. Pediatrics. 2009 Feb; 123(2):431-6. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825.

LuckyDog Recreation at URPA 2018 Tradeshow in Provo, Utah

Thank you! We enjoyed meeting everyone that stopped by our booth at the URPA 2018 tradeshow in Provo, Utah.

As you know, every year we like to do a drawing for a big prize. This year the drawing was for a Freenotes Harmony Park™ outdoor musical instrument. Karen Yocum of Park City Recreation was the winner!

“Thanks for the great addition to our play! We are going to place it at our bus stop next to another sound toy for our community enjoyment.” Karen Yocum, Park City Recreation

Congratulations Karen. We are excited for your community.

A BIG thank you to our education breakout session presenters – Kate Morrison of Freenotes Harmony Park and Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.

In Pursuit of Play,
Nicole Stoddard and the LuckyDog Recreation Team

LuckyDog Recreation team at URPA 2018

Don’t Get SAD, Get Moving!

Winter can be challenging for anyone trying to be active. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves through New Year’s Resolutions even though the weather could make it the hardest time of year to start being active. Add to that a shorter amount of daylight hours, cloudy days (and poor air quality in some areas), and having to be indoors due to the cold and you have created the perfect conditions for being SAD.

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is often called the Winter Blues, a type of depression that occurs based on changes in the seasons.

Beat the Winter Blues

There are many ways to beat the winter blues, but one of the best approaches is to get more exposure to sunlight. You can do this with special lights that mimic the full spectrum lighting similar to what you would get from the sun, or just get outside when possible. Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms, especially in children and older adults.

Current physical activity recommendations for adults are to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Here are some tips to beat the blahs this winter:

    • Soak up the sunshine in the early morning to feel better throughout the day. If you can do that outside, great. If not, find an indoor location where you can enjoy a sunbeam for a bit
    • Be active every day. If you are in decent shape, don’t be afraid to go for higher intensity activity for the greatest reward. Physical activity is best when it is a habit, and habits come from regular participation
    • Explore your community. Getting in a rut makes your day frustrating even when you aren’t feeling down. Find your nearest park and see what is happening while everyone else is huddling under blankets at home
  • Can’t find sunshine? Book a trip to a place where you can find plenty!

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. 

Resources:

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

How To Be Active When The Air Hurts

New Year’s Resolution to be healthier? 
New running shoes?
Air polluted so badly that you end up coughing and feeling lousy all day? 

The winter air in many places is less than ideal due to an increase in pollutants from increased driving and heating of homes.

If you live in a place that has inversions, a condition where a dense layer of cold air is trapped beneath warm air like a lid, that air pollution can concentrate and make breathing difficult.  Those fine particles that make up the majority of air pollution can get past the usual defensive mechanisms in the body, irritating the full length of the respiratory tract. If you have breathing difficulties from conditions such as asthma or from smoking, you can really get hit hard.

Here are some things to make your exercise easier on your lungs during bad air days:

  • Be active when cars aren’t.
  • Avoid walking or running during rush hour times when pollution is highest.
  • You aren’t a car, so find a trail or other path in a park that is away from cars in order to lower your exposure.  Car exhaust is extremely irritating, stay away from places where it concentrates such as intersections.
  • If you can, be active indoors.
  • Check the air quality index each day and if it is a poor air day, stay inside.
  • However, indoor air can also be full of irritants as well, so avoid exercise after vacuuming or dusting to minimize impact.

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. 

Resources:

What is an inversion?
http://www.ci.slc.ut.us/winter-inversions-what-are-they-and-what-we-can-all-do-help

What causes poor air quality?
http://www.slcdocs.com/mayor/Air.Quality.Infographic.pdf

Exercise and air quality
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666455/

Utah air pollution and public health
http://health.utah.gov/utahair/

Calling all Landscape Architects and Park Planners

Rope-based Play from Dynamo - LuckyDog RecreationFor all Landscape Architects and Park Planners…

Schedule a 2016 “Lunch and Learn” at Your Facility

Select from 3 timely topics:

  • Playground Drainage
  • Rope-based Playgrounds
  • Unitary Surfacing Primer

Download:  Playground Drainage and Rope-based Playgrounds Infomation

Download:  2016 Unitary Surfacing and Rope-based Plagrounds

 

Spark Imaginations With Musical Playground Equipment

For over 20 years Freenotes Harmony Park™ Outdoor Musical Instruments has been sparking imaginations. Their innovative playground equipment is sure to bring a song to your neighborhood.

To say we are thrilled to add Freenotes to our repertoire of Idaho and Utah playground equipment is putting it mildly.

Take a look at this video and you can see why!

Fun for kids of all ages, anyone can play and no one makes a mistake.

Just imagine all of the places you would like to see Freenotes!

  • City Parks – Wouldn’t you love to create music with your family and friends?
  • School Playgrounds – Kids would go wild with music at their finger tips.
  • Hospitals – The soothing harmonies of healing are magic.
  • Museums – Everyone can experience making music.
  • Day Cares – Imagination with no limits.

What Music Does For You and Yours

We all know the pleasure we get from music. But did you know these facts?

Cognitive Function

Music helps to build reasoning skills and cognitive development. It can increase the capacity of your memory, refine time management and organizational skills, and teach perseverance.

Emotional

Playing music is fun! It builds confidence, encourages creativity and self-expression. It can reduce anxiety, relieve symptoms of depression, and elevate your mood. It just makes people healthier and happier!

Physical

Playing and listening to music can reduce stress, ease pain, lower your blood pressure, increase workout endurance, improve sleep, enhance blood vessel function and help you eat less!

Community

As we co-create music we grasp a sense of joy, our focus and social engagement align without effort. Playing music with others fosters deep listening, respect, a sense of belonging and builds community.

Prepared by: FreenotesHarmonyPark.com  – The Leader in Outdoor Musical Instruments

I would love to show Freenotes and design your perfect Harmony Park. Call me!

Nicole Stoddard – Idaho and Utah Playground Equipment

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button

P.S. Congratulations to Leo Alvarez, Lauren Fraley and Chelsi Rome from Perkins+Will Design Firm for winning Freenotes 2016 Musical Park Design Challenge.

Musical Playground

Design-Challenge-Winner-2016-Announcement

(Design Photo from  – freenotesharmonypark.com)

 

2016 LuckyDog Education Session at URPA and UCPA Events

LuckyDog makes plans to present to Park Professionals at URPA and UCPA events coming in March and LuckyDog is preparing this year’s education session on the ASTM-F1292-13.

As you know, every park professional should know the ins-and-outs of this technical document. And because the ASTM is not your typical leisure reading material, LuckyDog is making is simple, compelling, and interesting. See presentation description here: Ins and Outs ASTM-1292

2016 schedule is as follows:

Utah Cemetery and Parks Conference, UCPA March 7th

Utah Recreation and Parks Conference, URPA March 8th

Stay turned for locations and times.

Dog Park Expertise From Dog-ON-It Parks Systems

Dog Parks Utah and Idaho, LuckyDog Recreation.

PawsGrip patented coating on every surface, a Dog-ON-It
exclusive

Did you know that dog parks generate more outdoor recreation for the investment than almost any other activity in your parks?

Dog-ON-It-Parks offers the first full line of products engineered specifically for off-leash areas in public parks. Incorporating more than two dozen play activities including ramps, jumps, tunnels, hoops and hurdles, a Dog-ON-It-Parks system fills the need for more interaction between dogs and owners at the park.

All components were designed for durability and low maintenance, using stainless steel hardware, rust proof heavy gauge aluminum and PawsGrip™; their patented coating which provides heavy duty, slip resistant traction.

While safety should always be a top priority when evaluating dog park equipment, it’s an especially important consideration in regions with inclement weather.  PawsGrip™ helps to provide a safe walking surface in all weather conditions including rain, snow,
mud and ice.

Dog Park - PawsGrip - LuckyDog Recreation Utah and Idaho

Safe walking surface in all weather conditions

Similar to the coatings used in truck bed liners, PawsGrip™ is highly textured, incredibly durable yet still comfortable under dogs’ paws.  The coating is also UV protected, so your equipment will stay bright looking and attractive, minus the muddy paw prints, of course!

This Ask An Expert message is brought to you by Nora VandenBerghe and the Dog Park experts at Dog-ON-It Park Systems. You can learn more by contacting LuckyDog Recreation, your trusted full-service source for outdoor recreational equipment and dog park construction in Utah and Idaho. 

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