Fitness: Did you hear?...

House votes for significant PEP funding, Jo Ann Seager says goodbye to Life Fitness, is CorePower Yoga the yoga Curves of tomorrow? California's Govinator wants to pump you up!, plus much more...
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For the week of June 7-13

>> After seven years at Life Fitness, Jo Ann Seager has left the Brunswick company. She has taken a job as the director of marketing and communications at DeVry University in the Chicago area. "I will be moving on," Seager told SNEWS®. "New industry, pretty much new everything. I do get to stay in the Chicago area though." Most recently she was senior director of marketing communications at Life, including responsibilities for trade show and events, public relations and other creative services. Her last day was June 10.

>> Is barefoot better? Nike would have you think so…to a point. The shoe giant wants athletes to educate athletes on the benefits of training barefoot … but wearing its new Nike FREE shoes. Nike said it learned from legendary coach Vin Lananna and the Stanford Track Team that barefoot training was being used more commonly to strengthen and "reawaken" athletes' feet. It was through this insight that Nike's Sport Research Lab initiated the design for the company's first shoe with Nike FREE technology. The new lightweight and flexible design of Nike FREE combines nature with technology to simulate the act of running barefoot on grass helping to strengthen muscles, prevent injury and improve overall athletic performance for a multitude of sports. The new line includes four new shoes for running and cross training: The Nike Free Women's Runner 5.0, Nike Free Men's Runner 5.0, Nike Free Freedom Mid 5.0 and Nike Free Trainer 5.0. The Nike FREE line will continue to develop into other areas of sport during the next six months, including trail, walking and kids. In one of the company's largest spring marketing campaigns, Nike recently launched 30-second and 60-second TV ad spots to promote the new footwear. Leave it to Nike to find a way to not only promote barefoot running but sell a shoe too.

>> The Denver Business Journal reported that CorePower Yoga of Denver wants to be a national player in yoga instruction -- but in a focused, balanced, integrated way. In a June 3 article, it said the chain of yoga studios has a Portland, Ore., studio in the works for this year, and hopes to open another couple of locations in undisclosed markets in 2005 as well. CorePower opened its first studio outside Colorado in Minneapolis in January, after exploring opportunities in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. The company said it likes cities with a strong interest in culture and that are relatively affluent. It also seems to prefer weather that steers people indoors for exercise, the article noted. CorePower operates eight Colorado studios, plus the one out-of-state location, after being in business only since February 2002. The company employs about 100 people, including 90 instructors who are contractors. CorePower offers three basic types of classes: CorePower's own yoga style, yoga sculpting (yoga plus light weights) and hot yoga. Who knows? It could become the ohhmmm equivalent of Curves in the future.

>> SGMA said its organized lobby efforts at National P.E. Day in May (see SNEWS® story, May 9, 2005, "PE Day lobbying event pushes to keep federal funding for youth fitness") hit a major homerun in Congress for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). The House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education voted to include $73.408 million for PEP in FY 2006, just weeks after SGMA members descended on Capitol Hill to rally around the issue. This proposed funding is consistent with FY 2005 levels and indicates Congressional endorsement that physical education is vital to the health and fitness of our nation’s schoolchildren. This is the first stage in a long appropriations process that should conclude later this year. The bill now goes to the full House appropriations committee with the Senate expected to report on its bill later this summer.

>> GERMANY -- The director of the FIBO fitness show in Germany is joining the management of the MedCongress, a subsidiary of FIBO's Reed Exhibitions management. Sandra Orth, who has been with Reed since 1994, is said to have left a mark on the FIBO show by developing it into a world fair for fitness, wellness and health. Olaf Tomscheit will take over the management reins at FIBO. He has worked with the German government to organize German representation at events in New York, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Moscow.

>> California's Govinator wants to pump up his constituents and turn the Golden State into the first "Fitness State." Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has launched the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that will promote the health benefits of physical fitness, exercise and sports for all Californians. The council's mission is to encourage all Californians to set -- and commit to achieve -- their personal exercise and fitness goals. As a first step, the council is creating "ActiveCA," which challenges Californians to be physically active at least three days a week. Californians can join "ActiveCA" on the Web at www.ActiveCA.org, or by picking up applications at retail outlets, parks and schools throughout the state. When they register for the program, Californians can set their activity goals, track their progress and find fitness tips and challenges. Individuals who succeed in meeting a four-week activity challenge will be eligible to receive rewards from the Governor's Council. California celebrity athletes who have agreed to donate their time to serve on the Council, include U.S. Open champion Lindsay Davenport, baseball legend Reggie Jackson, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, World Champion and Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan, Julie Foudy of the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal women's soccer team, exercise and fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne and U.S. Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Peter Vidmar. Schwarzenegger has a long history in fitness politics, including the chair of the former California council in the '90s before it was disbanded. For more information, visit www.ActiveCA.org.

>> And if you can't find the activity of your liking to help along Arnold on his mission, how about ballroom dancing? That's what the ballroom dancing advocates suggest, and they say they have the data to prove it's good for you. Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City studied 469 people over age 75 and found that ballroom dancing was associated with a lowered risk of dementia. The mentally challenging aspects of dancing -- following complex dance steps, moving in time and staying with the rhythm of music -- is believed to be responsible. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Studies on the benefits of ballroom dance have also been conducted by California State University, Long Beach, showing that even beginning students can get their heart rates up to near-maximum training rates with a five-minute warm-up and a 20-minute Cha Cha, Polka or Swing. So next time you're feeling a bit demented, how about a cha-cha break?

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