Feature Article - March 2008
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Fit to Be Hip

A Look at the Latest Fitness Trends

By Dana Carman



Tech-Savvy Kids Get Fit

Used in schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, family-oriented fitness centers and parks and recreation facilities across the nation, in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as in state-wide initiatives in North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana and Virginia, the HOPSports Training System marries physical fitness for kids with technology that suits their love of "screen time."

A multimedia, technology-driven physical education program, the HOPSports system is designed to entertain and engage both teachers and students, while encouraging them to get active and healthy. The system involves multiple screens and music, with presentations delivered via a projection system. Participants can get off their duff and exercise along with the presentation in sports-specific activities like baseball, tennis, swimming and more, while getting a dose of education on topics from anatomy to nutrition and more. And with the recent addition to the system of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), kids will be learning about heart health as well.

The American Heart Association estimates that 40,000 lives could be saved annually in the United States alone if AEDs were more widely available and could reach victims more quickly. While the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has analyzed the research and concluded there is not a legal standard of care requiring AEDs to be present in all fitness centers, the association does encourage health club operators to consider the advantages of installing AEDs. What's more, some states—including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Oregon, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New York, Arkansas and Illinois—have passed legislation mandating placement of AEDs in health clubs, though the rules vary from state to state.

It isn't just baby boomers working out at the gym who are affected by cardiac issues necessitating the use of an AED, either. In the United States, an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 children die due to sudden cardiac arrest each year.

By including a defibrillator in each of its training systems and providing additional training content, HOPSports is helping kids learn about the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as training them in CPR and defibrillator use.

"Including these defibrillators in our training system will help prepare students from across the country to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest emergency," said Cindy Sisson Hensley, CMO of HOPSports Inc.

For more information on the HOPSports Training System, visit www.hopsports.com.

To learn more about AEDs in health clubs and the laws that apply in your state, visit IHRSA at www.ihrsa.org.

—Emily Tipping