|Emily Colthart and Jeff Moody II of the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst talk to students involved with a cross-country club at West Pine Middle School about how to incorporate fitness and nutrition into their running program.|
PINEHURST – In many ways, the human body is like a machine. To operate properly, it needs good fuel and frequent tune-ups.
Those needs become even more critical as the body engages in athletics.
That’s the message that two representatives from the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst had for members of the Cross Country Club at West Pine Middle School. Performance enhancement specialist Jeff Moody II shared information on proper running technique during a recent club meeting. The following week, he was joined by registered dietitian Emily Colthart who talked about the importance of fueling workouts and exercise recovery.
According to the school’s assistant principal, Dr. Eric Torres, the visits by the FirstHealth professionals were part of an ongoing effort to encourage West Pine students, especially sixth-graders, to engage in physical activity as they develop an understanding of their sport and of their development as healthy individuals.
“Realizing we can’t do it alone,” Dr. Torres said, “we have started this new school year determined to engage community members in very concrete efforts to reduce even more our achievement gap and a shared responsibility for every student and school success. When I learned that Mr. Moody and Ms. Colthart could share their expertise with us, I didn’t hesitate to make the request. This was a great opportunity.”
The message shared by Moody and Colthart combined with the role models set by cross-country coaches Karen Lewis, Adam Matthews and Scott Madej “allowed us to bring more diverse and highly specialized knowledge that greatly enriched what we could offer our students and parents,” Dr. Torres said.
In his presentation on proper running technique, Moody discussed head placement, arm angle and foot strike before demonstrating the techniques and then having the students follow up with drills.
He also introduced the students to a pre-workout routine, complete with running strides, and a post-routine that emphasized the same strides and the importance of stretching.
“The reason for doing this is to give the mind and body positive reinforcement with the correct running technique before you start and finish your run,” Moody said.
After discussing running shoes and telling the students how a simple flexibility test can help determine whether a shoe is a good shoe even before it’s put on, he told the group that it was great to see so much student interest in cross-country.
“I was honored to be able to help out,” he said.
During her presentation, Colthart had the students define and give examples of carbohydrates, which provide energy; and proteins, which help muscles recover and rebuild after exercise. She also discussed how to avoid stomach upset during workouts by choosing low-fiber foods immediately before a run.
“We finished with a short session on hydration – the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day in addition to during and after workouts,” she said. “Kids and adults should aim for eight cups of clear liquids – preferably water – each day to maintain proper hydration.”
Colthart, who is a recent addition to the FirstHealth staff, has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Moody has an M.A. in exercise and fitness from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
According to Dr. Torres, the West Pine students and staff will continue to work with the community to support the school’s 21st century learning improvement agenda.
“We are very grateful to FirstHealth for so graciously responding to our advocacy efforts,” he said.