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Fast Break - February 2006

Exercise Your Mind; Veterans' Affairs

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February 2006
Fast News
Exercise Your Mind For many exercisers, it's satisfying to see physical changes -- whether that means bigger and better defined pecs or a slimmer waistline -- resulting from their consistent efforts at the gym. Such results may keep people motivated, but brain researchers say that exercisers -- especially those in their older years - should also be inspired by the mental benefits of working out.

Following up research indicating that people who exercise score better on mental tests than those who don't, a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that the new neurons in older mice who began exercising were twice those of young, sedentary mice. The older, exercising mice were also better able to learn new tasks.

Neuroscientists point to data suggesting that structural changes in the brain take place following physical activity, including spurred growth of new nerve cells and connections between those cells. Among other things, movement appears to enhance memory, learning, attention, decision-making and multitasking, as well as slow or even reverse age-related decline.

That new neurons can be formed later in life -- called neurogenesis -- is news to the scientific community. Scientists had long assumed that at birth, humans have all the nerve cells they will ever have and lose them as they age.

"Neurogenesis is probably a very important contributor to the effects of exercise on learning and memory," Henriette van Praag, a co-author of the study and a staff scientist at San Diego's Salk Institute for Biological Studies, told Shari Roan of the Los Angeles Times. "I would absolutely recommend people exercise for the mental benefits -- especially the elderly. People don't care about whether they're a size 4 or a size 6 as they get older. But they do care where their car keys are and whether they'll have the ability to play their card games and enjoy life."

Veterans' Affairs In February, accomplished Paralympic athlete Cheri Blauwet and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis were chosen to head a new Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) campaign intended to call attention to the rights of disabled and disadvantaged individuals around the world. The foundation's Sports for Life program will use sports as a means of rehabilitating and empowering land mine survivors and victims of conflict in war-torn regions of the world.

Having already conducted activities in Cambodia, Kosovo and Angola, the Sports for Life group has imminent plans to launch a new program in Ethiopia, which will receive a visit from Blauwet and Lewis next month. There, they will work with the VVAF to educate individuals and societies about the concerns and rights of persons with disabilities and other disenfranchised people, as well as help establish sustainable sports programs.

In the Field
Company News
  • Stott Pilates, producer of Pilates home exercise videos, announced that multimedia lifestyle brand LIME has added "Stott Pilates with Moira" to its "Healthy Living With a Twist" schedule.
  • Using technology from Active Community Solutions, a software and marketing solutions provider, Raleigh (N.C.) Parks and Recreation Department was recently recognized with a 2006 Digital Government Achievement Award.
  • The Medical Fitness Association will collaborate with the Health Promotion Operations department of the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General's office to participate in the Second Annual Medical Fitness Week, to be held April 24-30.
  • Last month Seattle University announced a new two-year program -- a master's degree in Sport Administration and Leadership -- under the direction of Dr. Dan Tripps.
  • In January, More Than Victories: A Handbook for My Student-Athlete by Nancy K. Samuel received the 2005 Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Award.

Want to see your name in lights? Send press releases and news to our Web Editor for consideration: webeditor@athleticbusiness.com

It's Show Time
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Fast Job
The City of Aurora (Colo). is seeking a Recreation Administrator to coordinate, administer and supervise the development, implementation and operation of a comprehensive sports program and related facilities, in addition to general recreation programs and facilities. Applicants must have five years of experience in recreation administration, including at least three years of supervisory experience.

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Product Spotlight
As the architects of a new field house at Buffalo (Minn.) High School, ARY Inc. needed a solution to a common problem: finding flexibility and ease-of-use in a control system. The field house at Buffalo High consists of 18 basketball courts divided by five fold-up curtains -- 12 of the courts have electric height adjusters for lowering the backboards and rims -- and two electrically operated baseball/batting cages.

School officials needed a system that could operate multiple backstops, curtains, batting cages and/or height adjusters with the touch of one button. And they wanted a system that could easily configure the field house for multiple team practices, physical education classes, interscholastic games, and community adult and youth leagues.

Jaypro Sports provided the solution.

Jaypro's Easy Touch Equipment Controller (ETEC) uses a state-of-the-art touch screen operator interface. Each touch screen has customized graphics depicting the actual layout of equipment. Buffalo's field house was divided into three zones each containing a 10.4-inch color touch screen. The touch screens were networked together to maximize flexibility and communication.

The ETEC allows simultaneous raising and lowering of any number of backstops. To save even more time, the operator can easily program in common equipment configurations, such as "Game Day," and with the press of one button the practice backstops will go up as the competition backstops come down.

The ETEC receives electronic feedback from the electric height adjusters, allowing rim heights to be preset to any height between 8 and 10 feet. This one-step operation has proved to be a huge benefit to the community director at Buffalo, especially when setting up for Saturday morning community park and recreation leagues.

The ETEC touch screen also provides on-screen help, instructions and service notices, and can display daily and weekly activity schedules.

Visit Jaypro.com.

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