Fun Sports Games for Children

Fun sports games keep your children physically active as well as entertained. While many sports games such as baseball, soccer and golf can be played at high levels of competition, many other fun sports games emphasize fun and socializing over winning.
This variation on traditional bowling will improve your child’s accuracy and coordination. Grab items that can be used as bowling pins. They can range from milk cartons to empty cans, as long as they can stand up on their own. Place 10 selected items in a triangle formation on a flat surface. From here, walk several feet away and draw a starting line. Volleyballs, basketballs and any other athletic ball can be used as a substitute for a real bowling ball. Allow the children to bowl from the start line and do their best to knock all the pins down.
This traditional basketball game is a simplification of the shooting game H.O.R.S.E. Grab a few friends and move to one-half of the basketball court. Choose one child to shoot first. If he makes his shot, the second player in line must shoot the identical shot. If the first player misses, the second player is allowed to shoot from anywhere on the court. If player one makes his shot and player two misses, player two gets the letter “P.” The game continues in this pattern until one player is left without all three letters.
This sports game is designed to get your child to think fast as well as improve her coordination. Get a group of children into a large circle and give one of them a ball. Have the child select a category such as “TV shows.” On your mark, have the child bounce the ball to another child in the circle. That child must catch the ball and name out any TV show that comes to mind. If the child drops the ball, fails to name a TV show or names a show that has already been named, she is eliminated from the game.
This game will improve your child’s accuracy with a football. Grab an old tire and hang it from a tree using a piece of rope. You can also construct a wood frame to support the tire if you do not have a tree to use. From here, draw a line on the ground to indicate where the children will throw from. Give each child three tries to get the ball through the hole. If a child throws it through the tire two out of three times or more, give him a prize.

Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

The word ¡°integrative¡± in the last decade or so has replaced the word ¡°alternative¡± in the terms ¡°alternative medicine¡± or ¡°alternative therapies,¡± and with good reason. ¡°Alternative¡± used to carry a stigma that methods not using traditional medicine or medical practices were somehow rooted in ¡°woo-woo¡± magical thinking. But more and more, homeopathy and alternative healing have been accepted and studied widely in the world of traditional science, to the point that some medical schools have added integrative medicine as a field of study. Below are a few integrative treatments for pain relief that I feel are worthy of mention for back pain.
From the Greek ¡°kheiro,¡± meaning ¡°hand,¡± the field of chiropractic traces its origins to the 19th century and a practitioner in Iowa named D.D. Palmer. It has had a history of emphasizing the relationship between structure and function. It distinguished itself from orthodox medicine by espousing the restoration of health rather than the approach of disease eradication that had been the focus of orthodox medicine. Chiropractic uses spinal manipulation and adjustments in conjunction with the body¡¯s natural healing capacity to affect change.
Chiropractic has diverged from orthodox medicine also in part due to litigation with the American Medical Association that went on for more than 50 years. This history of litigation and some ¡°extremist¡± practices within the field has tarnished its reputation and obscured its philosophical and holistic underlying tenets. Chiropractic should be considered separately from these tarnishing factors.
¡°Prolo¡± is short for proliferation, because the treatment proliferates (grows) new ligament tissue in areas where it has become weak. Prolotherapy involves the use of an injectable agent of dextrose (sugar water) into the spine. Dextrose is thought to trigger the body¡¯s natural inflammatory response that causes subsequent stiffening of the supporting structures, thereby helping heal the weakened structures.
This therapy derived from the Latin word for ¡°bath,¡± involves soaking of the body in water supplemented with minerals like sulfur. It has been shown to be superior as a pain reliever when compared with a regular bath of tap water.
The bark of the white willow tree (salix alba) has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin. It has an ingredient that is converted into salicylic acid. Capsaicin cream is derived from chili peppers. When applied topically, it creates heat and pain relief. Both may be applied topically.
Yoga has long been considered an effective treatment for back pain. I have heard colleagues say that patients with back pain never practice yoga and those who practice yoga never have back pain. My own review of the literature is less convincing, however.
One of the problems with discussing the benefits of yoga regarding back pain is that yoga comes in many forms and difficulty levels, therefore ¡°yoga¡± is not one single thing. That being said, there are elements of yoga ¡ª including flexibility, core strengthening, relaxation techniques, mood elevation and self-efficacy ¡ª that undoubtedly will contribute to improvement in back pain.
¡°Hands-on¡± therapy is a good option for pain that arises from the soft tissue or connective tissue. This is a difficult area to navigate because there are many specialists (including chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists and physical therapists) and many different techniques (such as Rolfing and active release therapy) that make up this type of treatment. There is no perfect way to determine which specialty or technique is best suited for your specific needs. Once you have selected a specialty, there is, similarly, no perfect way to select among providers short of a recommendation followed by trial and error.
Therapy on the muscles and connective tissues comes in many forms, including Rolfing, structural integration, Hellerwork, neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release and active release techniques. These therapies are done by therapists trained in each particular technique. The training varies in terms of rigor and consistency.
As a pain management option, these treatments often work, particularly if the muscle or fascia is the primary cause of pain. Muscles can cause pain when injured and can also cause pain when not used. In the latter case, the pain may arise from an ensuing stiffness, from an alteration of the closely related function of the joints or from a change in posture or form.
Manual or other variants of applying pressure to muscles have been shown to have the following beneficial effects:
? Pain relief
? Immune system boosting
? Vasodilatation from mast cell activation (more blood supply)
? Recruitment of blood supply to the muscles
? Reduction of muscle spasm
? Facilitation of healing
? Stimulation of local metabolism
? Increased lymphatic drainage (decreased swelling)
In addition, the application of pressure to the connective tissue can alter the local electric environment of the intracellular and extracellular spaces that, in turn, serve to align the collagen fibrils and promote growth of capillaries and the synthesis of collagen. Put simply, this type of therapy makes the tissue stronger and healthier and can modify scar tissue as well as structural tissues. Collagen fibers connect to each other with hydrogen bonds, and when tension is applied the bonds become more aligned and stronger. This, too, will strengthen the connective tissue. Exercise will aid manual therapy with this strengthening.
Finally, the connective tissue that surrounds and permeates the muscles can be heated through a process called thixotrophy. When heated with hands-on therapy via massage or Rolfing, for instance, the connective tissue becomes more like a liquid and less like a gel. This allows for a reorientation of the connective tissue, which results in improved flexibility and strength and less pain.
Acupuncture is frequently requested by patients as a potential ¡°noninvasive¡± treatment for back pain. Western medicine attempts to provide a pathologic basis for this effect but has yet to come up with a complete and substantiated explanation for the positive effects that acupuncture often delivers. Developed in China, acupuncture alleviates an inharmonious balance between the extremes (yin and yang) of the life force (qi).
Over the past 20 years, I have seen some patient¡¯s back pain respond favorably to this treatment. Though, admittedly, I have been unable to predict who these patients will be. More importantly, improvements are nearly always temporary, and because the cost is often not covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket burden is sometimes prohibitive. Nonetheless, acupuncture is safe and a viable option for the patient with the patience to try alternative treatments that may not be permanent and with the financial means to pay for them.

Use a Dynamic Warm-Up to Boost Your Workout

Warming up should be a given in anyone’s pre-workout routine. Typically, you may hop on the treadmill, bike or elliptical for a few minutes to increase your heart rate and get blood flowing to your muscles. You might even perform a few static stretches for those muscles that seem extra tight.
Sure, that’s better than not doing any warm-up at all, but there’s a much more effective way to prepare for your workout and see better results.
Read More: 5 Ways to Supercharge Your HIIT Workout
Athletes have used dynamic warm-ups for decades. If you’ve ever attended a football, basketball or baseball game and arrived a little early, you might have seen the players hopping, skipping and jumping across the court or field. They do this because the movement patterns and exercises performed in a dynamic warm-up are drastically better than just going for a jog.
The goal of a warm-up is not just to get the body warm, but also to invigorate your mind and fire up and activate all of the muscles and joints in your body to reduce the risk of injury and to allow you to perform at peak efficiency during your workout.
When your body has a chance to recruit more muscle, muscle fibers and joint flexibility for any workout, you’re better able to generate maximal power, in turn increasing performance. Performing specific mobility drills allows your mind to tell your muscles to get ready for the movements in your workout.
Performing mobility and flexibility drills through sport-movement patterns in a dynamic warm-up will allow your body to overcome muscular imbalances and maintain overall fitness. You’ll not only increase your core temperature and improve muscle activation, but you’ll also improve your range of motion. This helps you perform better and prevent injury during your workout.
Read More: #1 Reason Why Your Workout Isn¡¯t Working
Exercise selection is key: Each exercise you do affects a specific muscle. Neglecting any critical muscles in your dynamic warm-up can hinder your performance. Every dynamic warm-up should have at least one exercise for each part of your body, including movement patterns needed for your sport or activity.
Perform each exercise for 20 yards each:
Light skip: Get skipping like you’re a kid. Quick skip: Just like an old-fashioned skip, but accelerate the speed and foot quickness. High-knee run: Just like it sounds — pull those knees up and get running.
Butt kicks: Kick your heels to your butt with quick repetitive movement as you move forward. Frankenstein walk to hip swing: As you move forward, swing each leg up high, keeping it straight, as you step.
Cariocas: Move laterally by stepping to the side as you twist your hips front to back. Knee hugs: Grab your leg under the knee and pull it up as you move forward. Lunge reach to plank-lunge reach: Get into a forward-lunge position and place your hands on the inside of your foot, resist shoulder to knee to open up the hip, take the outside hand and reach up and look. Hold two seconds, place your hand back down to rock the hips back to a hamstring stretch. Repeat with other leg.
Side lunges: Step to the side into a lunge, come back to original position, repeat on other side. Inchworm with push-up: Walk your hands out with your legs straight, perform a push-up, step up with your feet to meet your hands and repeat. Arm-circle skips: Do a basic skip with arm circles forward and backward. Ankle flips: One foot is on the heel and one foot on is the ball of the foot; move forward alternating heal to ball of foot in a quick fashion.
Stationary Moves:
Glute bridges: Lying on your back, lift your hips off the ground with your arms across your chest to full extension using glutes and hamstrings. Hard-style plank: This version requires enough tension that it is only possible to hold it for brief periods (10 to 30 seconds). A standard plank lacks this tension and can be held indefinitely. Nothing below the shoulders should be relaxed. Y’s: Lie on your stomach in the prone position, thumbs up, arms straight out in a ¡°Y¡± formation and lift your arms from your shoulder blades.
A dynamic warm-up is a small investment that will get your muscles fired up to help you make the most of your workout.
Readers — Do you do a dynamic warm-up before your workouts? Do you feel like it helps you have a better workout? Do you do any of the moves mentioned above? What are some of your go-to warm-up moves? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Lisa Reed, M.S., CSCS, is a USA Fitness Champion, IFBB Pro, personal trainer, educator and motivator. She is also the owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, LLC, where she leads a team of in-home personal trainers in the Washington, D.C., area. Lisa and her team design online fitness and nutrition programs for clients around the world. She has trained hundreds of elite and professional athletes, including tennis player Monica Seles. She was the first female strength coach at the United States Naval Academy and trained top athletes as a strength coach at the University of Florida.
For more information on Lisa, visit and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Replace Irons With Hybrids

Many golfers face a challenge when they hit their long and medium irons from the fairway or light rough. Traditional irons have a small sweet spot and that means that if you don’t center the ball on the blade of the club when you swing, you are likely to have a poor result. That knowledge adds to the tension that many golfers feel when they are playing competitively. Hybrid irons have a bigger sweet spot and are easier for most golfers–not just medium- and high-handicappers–to hit consistently.
Replace your 2-iron and your 3-iron with a 3-hybrid for longer fairway shots. The 2-irons your hybrid is replacing are two of the most difficult clubs to hit because neither one gives you much loft and the clubs are not forgiving. The 3-hybrid gives you much greater loft and helps keep the ball straight. A well-struck 3-hybrid shot will fly higher and at least 10 yards straighter than the 2- or 3-iron. Take the hybrid to the range and practice with it twice a week in addition to using it when you play a round of golf.
Try the 4-hybrid to replace your 4-iron. The 4-iron is somewhat easier to hit than the 2- or 3-iron because it has more loft and that will help you get the ball up in the air. However, it still requires an accurate shot and it is not recommended when hitting the ball from the rough. A 4-hybrid will get the ball up in the air significantly higher and can also cut through the rough and allow you to hit a productive shot. The ability to hit the ball up in the air from a poor lie gives the 4-hybrid a big advantage.
Use a 5-hybrid to replace your 5- and 6-iron. Many golfers go right from the 5-iron to the 7-iron in their bag and ignore the 6-iron. That’s a mistake because a 6-iron is versatile and can handle the trouble shots you may face during your round. The 5-hybrid is an outstanding rescue club. If you are in the medium or even deep rough, the hybrid allows you to get the ball out of trouble, get it on track and do it on a consistent basis.
Use hybrid clubs to replace long and medium irons. They can also be used to replace the 3-wood and 5-wood, but that’s only for golfers who reject their fairway woods. The hybrid woods will not give you greater distance if that is what you are looking for. If you want accuracy, try hybrids to replace the clubs that are giving you the most trouble.

History of Football Cleats

Cleats have long given versatility and protection from muscle injuries to football players of all stripes. Their main function is to give a player’s footwear better grip on turf, especially in wet or muddy conditions. Advances in the development of the cleat have tracked the game of American football from its inception in the 1860s.
Cleats date back to the 16th century, when England¡¯s Henry the VIII ordered what may have been the first pair of specialized cleats for his “The Great Wardrobe.” Cleats first appeared on the opposite side of the Atlantic as footwear for soccer players in the early 19th century. American football followed with early models that had leather, metal or even wooden studs. That in turn led to multiple injuries.
As football evolved, some innovators saw the need for new and better cleats. In 1925, German brothers Rudolf and Adi Dassler, who would go to start Puma and Adidas, developed cleats with removable studs. Players were able to drill in their athletic shoes, then take off the studs and walk home. Rubber cleats, once considered too heavy for the game, came along in the 1920s as well thanks to the emergence of vulcanized rubber.
While coaching at Oregon Agriculture College, which became Oregon State, football innovator Joseph Pipal developed what came to be known as ¡°mud cleats.¡± These longer, sharper cleats were designed to improve performance in muddy conditions. They stand alongside the lateral pass as Pipal’s contributions to the game of football.
As cleats continued to evolve, most companies took a lighter is better approach. Adidas’ 2011 offering, the 6.9 ounce “5 star” was at the time the lightest football cleat ever invented. Nike topped it two years later with the 5.6 oz Vapor Laser Talon. The VLT was also the first football cleat produced using 3D printing technology.

Strength & Conditioning Workouts

Strength and conditioning workout programs play a vital role in the development of athletes in various sports. A structured strength and conditioning workout is designed to develop muscular endurance, strength, power, speed and aerobic and anaerobic conditioning for the specific demands of the sport. By improving these physical skills through a sport-specific workout program, the athlete increases sports performance while reducing the potential for injuries.
Periodized workouts are designed to improve overall strength and conditioning throughout the year for athletes playing one or two sports, such as football or basketball. Each phase of the periodized workouts — lasting two weeks to three months — focuses on a specific set of physical skills, with a variation of training volume, intensity, exercise type and the overall speed of the workouts. For example, a football strength and conditioning workout will consist of a preparation phase from January to June focusing on the fundamental physical skills of increasing maximal strength. The second phase takes place from June to August and builds maximal force and velocity of contraction through a high-volume, low-intensity workout schedule. During the season, a competition phase is used to maintain strength and conditioning.
Off-season strength and conditioning workouts are some of the most important workouts for athletes because they prepare the athlete for the upcoming season. Football off-season strength and conditioning workouts, for example, take place during the summer and typically rotate through a series of four workouts per week for a total of six weeks. Workouts on Day 1 and Day 3 focus on lower body strength and power, with a series of squats including bodyweight squats, front squats, leg curls and calf raises, along with functional upper-body exercises such as pushups and an incline bench press. The second and fourth workouts of the week focuses on upper-body strength with pullups, barbell curls and cleans and pulls.
CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning workout that incorporates weightlifting, bodyweight exercises and running for a total-body workout. Weightlifting exercises focus on multijoint movements such as the deadlift, squat and lunge, with common bodyweight exercises consisting of pushups, pullups, sit-ups and bodyweight squats. Running exercises are commonly performed through intervals — alternating between work and rest cycles. The combination of these exercises is designed to improve endurance, strength and conditioning while improving overall athleticism by improving balance, coordination and agility.

Description of the Parts of a Football Helmet

A football helmet has one main job: to keep the player from getting a head injury in a high-impact sport. Several key elements work together to ensure the helmet performs its job successfully. Each element serves a specific purpose, although the material and size of each element can differ between football positions and manufacturer — a kicker might have a smaller face mask than a linebacker, for example.
Most football helmets use a polycarbonate shell, which is a type of hard, durable plastic. This helps deflect the force of blows to the head to help prevent skull fractures and other serious head injuries. The plastic is light enough to keep the player from adding too much weight to his head while still providing the necessary protection.
Inside the hard shell, football helmets offer a variety of softer protection around your head. The front of the helmet protects your forehead with a firm foam designed to deflect direct forward hits. The foam around the jaw area is a bit softer for comfort, while still providing firm support. The rest of the helmet provides several layers of foam, including a spongy layer that rests against your head to make the helmet more comfortable. Some also offer inflatable air pockets to help you custom fit the helmet to your head.
When you look at vintage football helmets, you’ll notice the strap at the bottom is longer than modern versions. It was designed to sit lower on the neck, about even with the Adam’s apple. Newer helmets use chin straps instead, holding the helmet more securely while helping prevent potential neck injuries caused by the straps. Most straps are adjustable to help keep the helmet securely on your head, and many have padding where the strap rests on your chin for comfort.
The face mask of a helmet is a balance between protecting your face while allowing you to see and providing adequate ventilation to the helmet. The birdcage-style face mask should protect your face from coming in direct contact with other players, the ball or the ground. Some masks are smaller than others; if you play a position likely to be tackled hard and often, you’ll likely have a face mask with more coverage than players less likely to sustain direct hits. If you have an eye injury, you might wear a tinted visor above the face mask for additional protection.

Calories and Alcohol Content of Stout Beer

Stout is a type of beer that has been around commercially since 1820 and consists of many types, including dry stout, cream stout and and oatmeal stout. Stout beers are much thicker than most beers, and tend to contain more calories than other beers.
The popular Irish brewing company Guinness is well known for its stouts, which compared with other stout beers, contain a relatively low amount of calories per pint. A 12 oz. pint of Guinness Extra Stout contains 153 calories and has an alcohol percentage of 4.27 percent.
Dragon Stout, a Jamaican beer brewed by Desnoes – Goeddes, is where you see a sudden drastic increase in caloric and alcohol content. One 12 oz. pint contains 220 calories and is 6.8 percent alcohol.
All good stouts don’t necessarily come from overseas, as California-based brewing company Sierra Nevada has shown with its version of a stout beer. One bottle of Sierra Nevada Stout contains 225 calories and boasts a respectable 5.8 percent alcohol content.

Gyro Ball Exercises

The gyro ball is a gyroscope-based workout tool, which helps the fingers, wrists, forearms, upper arms and even the shoulders gain strength. Small movement in the forearm and wrist make the ball spin faster inside the shell. The gyro ball can develop up to 35 pounds of resistance force as the ball increases in speed. You can perform a variety of exercises using the gyro ball to target different muscles in the arm and hand.
Grip the ball with your fingers, with your palm lightly touching the back of the gyro ball. Make sure you have a strong grip on the ball, as it will be tough to hang on to once the ball starts revolving at a faster rate. Rock your wrist back and forth to increase the speed of the gyro ball. You will notice it takes more effort to hold the ball steady in your hand as the revolutions of the ball increase. Pass the ball to the opposite hand and try the same thing. Keep your grip strong, and work on getting a gentle rocking motion going with your wrist. Once you get a rhythm with the gyro ball, it will become easier to maintain your grip on the ball, and slowly increase the revolutions.
Hold the spinning gyro ball in your hand, arm outstretched directly in front of you, with your palm facing down. Rock your wrist up and down to get a rhythm going, and to increase the revolutions of the gyro ball. You will notice your forearm and wrist getting tired as the gyro ball speeds up, providing more resistance to those muscles. This exercise will focus on your wrist extensor muscles. Rotate your arm so your palm faces up and continue the same rocking, rhythmic motion. This will focus the workout more on your wrist flexors. In order to fully work out the forearm and wrist, rotate your arm so your palm is facing your other hand, and your thumb is pointed upward. Continue the rhythmic motion, but change the direction so you are rocking the gyro ball back and forth going toward your thumb, then back toward your pinky finger. You may also alternate the exercise by rotating your hand so your palm is again facing upward, but keep the motion going side to side.
Use the gyro ball to exercise the biceps by holding the ball in one hand and holding your arm out straight, away from your body. Bend your elbow to form a 90-degree angle, with your hand up in the air. Face your palm toward your head and gently rock your wrist back and forth toward and away from your head. This will cause a pulse in your bicep muscle, providing a gentle, yet effective, workout. Hold the gyro ball in your hand with your palm facing down. Your arm should be stretched out in front of you, at about a 45-degree angle from your body. Rock your wrist up and down to target and activate the triceps.
Hold the gyro ball upside down using only your fingers. Keep your fingers straight and gently make a stirring motion with your hand. This will keep the gyro ball spinning and provide a resistance for your finger grip. This is a great toning exercise for your hand and finger muscles, and will help increase your finger strength.

Football Basic Skills and Techniques

Football often comes down to the strategy that a team employs at the end of close games. Out-think and out-execute your opponent at crucial moments, and your team often will find a way to win. However, competing hard on a consistent basis requires focusing on the fundamentals of the game. A team must correctly execute blocking, tackling, passing accurately, catching and running with the ball.
Offensive football is predicated on strong blocking. The offensive line must open holes for the running backs and prevent pass rushers from getting to the passer. Other offensive players must block, as well. Offensive linemen must drive their shoulders into the midsection of their opponents and move them downfield to effect successful blocks, and they must hold their position and form a pocket around the quarterback to protect him when he plans to pass.
You must show toughness, strength and determination when tackling, but it also takes excellent technique to tackle consistently. It’s not enough to run hard at the ball carrier and apply your shoulder to his chest when you make the hit. That play might result in a knockout shot that gets the entire stadium rocking, but it also might result in a missed tackle. Drive your shoulder into your opponent’s hip and wrap your arms around his midsection before powering him to the ground. Never let go once you wrap up an opponent.
A quarterback needs arm strength, accuracy, a quick release and the ability to take a hit and still make the play. Quarterbacks have to work on their passing form and accuracy in practice so they can be dependable in game situations. Bring the ball back to ear level, step toward your target and throw the ball by extending your arm. Look at several spots on the field before you throw the ball. You can’t just look toward the intended receive or the defense will have a strong chance of making an interception.
Pass receivers have to avoid the jam at the line of scrimmage, run crisp pass patterns and learn to catch the ball in their hands. Receivers need to extend their hands in front of their bodies and form a target with for the quarterback with their thumbs and forefingers. Receivers can’t let the ball rebound off their chest or shoulder pads and then try to catch it because the rebound may be difficult to control.