Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, July 08, 2021

Ever since Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) first hit the scene decades ago, media-friendly sawbones from Dr. Phil (McGraw) to Dr. Drew (Pinsky) have taken to referring to themselves by their honorific titles combined with their first names. It’s a tactic to make themselves less aloof to their patients/audience, and projects a down-home personality.

Too much so, for some:

First of all, I’m an adult. I can pronounce your last name, people. And maybe I’m sick and twisted but this kind of self-referral only makes me think of some sexual predator kind of movie scene. “Having problems with your relationship? Come on in and tell your troubles to Dr. Steve. I’ll make you forget allllll about it!” *rubs hands together sinisterly*

There is something to be said for maintaining a professional demeanor. Hanging up a shingle that reads “Dr. Kenny, Psychiatrist” probably will attract a certain segment of clientele; but I sure wouldn’t be among them.

Then again, if you’re preening for the cameras and microphones, far be it from me to criticize a personal re-branding aimed toward greater public consumption. Pimp that bedside manner, doc!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/08/2021 02:29:13 PM
Category: Society
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One of the benefits of participating in organized sports is that it’s supposed to instill an innate regard for exercise, and promote a lifetime of healthfulness.

Wrong. Because they’re often more involved in the game than in the exercise that drives it, many youth athletes tend to abandon their active regimen once their athletic careers are over.

Onetime elite athletes often languish once organized competition is over and a coach isn’t hounding them, sports scientists and exercise physiologists say. Many are burned out. Others become discouraged when their lackluster fitness can’t compare to their highlight reels. Running on a treadmill in a sea of anonymous gym-goers doesn’t compare to the thrill of being an m.v.p. on campus.

“Basically, they’ve been to the mountaintop and now they’re on these little hills, and that is difficult to deal with,” said Dan Gould, the director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University in Lansing.

Extrinsic motivation is tricky business, said Dr. Gould, a professor of kinesiology. He said he has found that athletes who played for trophies or attention are more at risk of becoming sedentary as adults than people who have taught themselves to get off the sofa and exercise, those with “intrinsic motivation.”

Stephen J. Virgilio, the author of “Active Start for Healthy Kids” (Human Kinetics, 2005), agreed. People who grew up without the stress of sports often enjoy hitting the gym, he said, but those who competed in athletics at a younger age have trouble exercising merely for upkeep, especially when many coaches don’t emphasize fitness. “In high school and college, they do the sports to win games, not for personal health,” said Dr. Virgilio, a professor of physical education at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. “What happens when the sport is finished? They feel like they’re finished.”

We’ve all seen and/or experienced it: The athletic phase is over, the metabolism slows down, but the intake of fuel (calories) doesn’t change. That finely-honed body starts to balloon, and there’s no one and no endpurpose to get things back on track.

So it’s a question of motivation: If there’s no crowd cheering or trophy to win, why knock yourself out? The physiological benefits of working out are too nebulous to maintain as a fixed goal.

It goes beyond that, though:

Other players who tire of the ceaseless demands of their sport come to think of working out as punishment. “At some point they do the drudgery — the running and lifting weights — to please their coach,” Dr. Virgilio said. “They have to change their attitude about fitness.”

Really, it’s the coaches at the youth level that are screwing things up (I don’t blame high school and college coaches as much, as they’re in the business of winning, and the kids they get have already been conditioned by the time they get to that level). These Little League and pee-wee coaches are supposed to be teaching their pupils about taking care of their bodies and developing general athletic ability. Instead, they’re drilling in game concepts and treating the physical fitness part as an afterthought.

What’s more, this is another example of educators misapplying what should be a beneficial lifeskill, and thus turning it into a negative factor in the educational experience. An exercise mentality is supposed to be presented as a welcomed activity; instead, it’s made an onerous assignment. Obviously, that mental connection’s going to persist long after the game is over.

I say this is “another example” of educational misapplication. Not so coincidentally, teachers are also fond of using writing assignments as punishment, which winds up enforcing a lifelong aversion to writing in adults. Same principle at work with the exercise-as-punishment application. Seems to point to a severe deficiency in teaching skills.

However, seeing as how the damage is already done for so many, I can see these findings boosting the fortunes of one aspect of the physical fitness industry: Personal training. If so many former kid athletes are lacking that voice from above to push them, then personal trainers can offer their services as an effective way to fill that void. Promote themselves as the “adult postgame coaches” or something. I know I’ve personally considered personal training to be the preferred way to get into a consistent exercise routine; it’d probably find a very willing and wide audience.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/08/2021 01:50:57 PM
Category: Society, Sports
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