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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
January 8, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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January 8, 2014

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 9A Samantha P. Hawthorne Staff Writer According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, only 1 in 3 children is physically active every daY. At the same time, the average child spends more than 7-1/2 hours per day in front 9f television screens, video games and computers. Furthermore, youths who rely heavily on media usage suffer lower grades and self-contentment than those who are less media-centric. The onset of a new millennium, the year 2000, paved the way for a variety of never-leave-home entertainment such as wider usage of the World Wide Web, peer-to-peer file sharing services, video games, online social media, online shopping and more. A variety of video game consoles floods the market, including the Nintendo Wii, which utilizes motion sensors to take an edge off the lazy factor and give players the chance to exercise without ever leaving their living room. Online blogging picked up in 2002, as did Google's increased efforts in making communication easier through use of the Internet. Social media sites like MySpace, BeBo and Facebook became prevalent in 2006, and have since become the typical way young people, as well as adults, communicate. The year 2007 was an especially big year for at-home entertainment and online media, and that corresponds with the reported increase in obesity. The Apple iPhone hit the market, selling tens of thousands of devices. It is known as the device that changed the mobile industry and also the way people interact with each Virtual worlds aimed at children saw huge growth, according to, making it more common for youths to interact online rather than in person. Pushing most other social media sites out of the playing field, Facebook started gathering momentum in 2007. It grew from a user base of 1 million at its launch in 2004 to more than 50 million active users. As of May 2, Facebook had 1.11 billion users. While all of the advances have made life eaSier, and certainly more entertaining, they have posed a problem for the developing minds and bodies of the younger generation. While activities like bicycle riding, fort building and sports are still alive, they are quickly being phased out by less physical activities such as Internet browsing, movie watching and video game playing. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in its 2010 study "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds," that "Eight- to 18-year-olds spend more time with media than in any other activity besides (maybe) sleeping." The study documented changes in media use between 2004 and 2009, showing a huge increase among young people. "An explosion in mobile and online media has fueled the increase in media use among young people .... Youth who spend more time with media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment," the study stated. The study showed that almost half of the heavy media users evaluated said they usually get fair or poor grades, got in trouble a lot and are often sad or unhappy and bored. An article written by the Huffin on Post commented, "Children's developing sensory, motor, and attachment systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today's technology .... Four critical factors necessary to achieve healthy child development are movement, touch, human connection, and exposure to nature" -- all of which are displaced with the increased usage of cellphones, Internet, television and video games. Robert Montavon, who teaches several forms of martial arts across Plumas County, said he made a decision long ago not to let the advances of technology interfere with his goal of a healthy life. "Everything is so technology-based right now that most people are lost without their devices (smartphones, computers, etc.). The problem is, the skills they really need -- taking care of themselves and interacting with others those skills have gone by the wayside. "Technology is a tool and just like any tool, if you use it correctly it is a good thing, but when used incorrectly or out of balance, it can become detrimental." He commented on how very little coordination, conditioning and self-control young people have today. "Like anything, the mind is like a muscle that needs to be worked and exercised if it just sits around it becomes stagnant." He said martial arts can help teach children that they are capable and their mind and body is worthy of respect. It empowers them and gives them confidence to deal with others and interact with them. "We train to unite mind, body and spirit it is just a matter of getting our children off their butts and into the world." Kristina Hardin, Indian Valley gymnastics coach and former competitive gymnast, said that her involvement in sports taught her life-long skills such as teamwork, fitness, self-di sc Pii e a d Jthei: .... values that help her sustain a healthy and successful approach to life. She became a gymnast when she was only 6 years old and started competing when she was 7 or 8. "Gymnastics taught me that hard work pays off. I worked hard for my skills, training four hours a day, five days a week. It taught me not to give up, to be confident and brave. "It taught me responsibility' I had to manage my time with sports and school in order to keep my grades up. It also taught me to be there for others, pushing my teammates not to give up when they were struggling." Now, at the age of 26, Hardin runs her own gymnastics program, Kristina's Gymnastics, and is teaching children the same skills she was taught as a child. "When starting my gymnastics business I wanted to bring the joy and love of gymnastics that I have to the kids in the Plumas County area. "In my classes I implement great life-long skills, including teamwork, fitness, self-discipline and other important values which sustain a healthy and Successful approach to life. Gymnasts will. learn to be strong, flexible, determined, coordinated and focused." The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents aged 6 - 17 years should have at least one hour of physical activity per day. A variety of programs that exercise both mind and body are available to children throughout Plumas County that work to help accomplish the daily recommended target. Following is a sampling of opportunities available. In Chester, the Lake Almanor Fitness Center offers Zumba for Kids and several forms of dance through the "House of Dance." The Almanor Recreation and Park District offers soccer and basketball programs for youth. Fencing classes taught by Montavon are available at St. Andrew's Academy in Chester. The Indian Valley Recreation and Parks District offers youth gymnastics, taught by Hardin, as well cheer club, youth wrestling, kids dance class and Tang Soo Do, taught by Montavon. The Sierra Institute for Community and Development co-sponsors the district's Friday Night for Teens program, where teenagers come together for a variety of sports and other activities. The Sierra Institute also provides monthly outdoor education and recreation trips for local teens through its Greenville Outdoor Adventure Learning program. In addition to his aforementioned classes in Chester and Greenville, Montavon also offers private and group lessons in martial arts. The Central Plumas Recreation and Park District hosts the Plumas Swim Team and youth basketball and softball. The Quincy Yoga & Wellness Center offers kids' classes in both Zumba and gymnastics. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship's "Trail Kids" are taken outdoors to hike the trails while learning about trail stewardship, watersheds, tree identification and native wildlife. The Feather River College Fitness Center in Quincy is open to everyone, and offers a variety of classes. In addition to the array of classes available throughout the county, the area is surrounded by hiking and biking trails, mountains, golf courses and other outdoor recreation oppQ~unities Year-Tou~. d. help or REPAIRING: DOORS TRIM .WINDOWS PLUMBING ROOFING ELECTRICAL Emergencies 24/7! CONSTRUCTION SINCE 1984 General Building Contractor C~if. Lic. #453927 (530) 283-2035 A group of submitted Indian Valley girls stretches during one of Kristina Hardin's gymnastics classes. 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