Author uses dinosaurs to promote youth fitness

Feb. 18, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

Youth fitness has officially gone the way of the dinosaurs.
In this case, though, that’s a good thing.
High Point University instructor Tony Kemerly has written a book, “Dino-Might,” in which he uses dinosaurs to encourage kids to be physically active. The book features nearly 70 conditioning exercises for kids, all modeled after different types of dinosaurs so as to make the exercises fun.
“Dino-Might” is a follow-up to Kemerly’s earlier book, “Acting Like An Animal: Playful Strengthening and Stretching Activities for Kid People.”
“In the first book, each exercise mimics an animal movement,” explains Kemerly, who is chairman of the Department of Exercise Science at HPU. “In this book, each exercise mimics a different dinosaur’s appearance.”
For example, he breaks the book down into four types of exercises:
•Upper-body exercises, represented by dinosaurs that walked on four legs, because the child’s body will have four points of contact with the ground during these exercises.
•Lower-body exercises, represented by dinosaurs that walked on two legs, because the child’s body will only have two points of contact with the ground during these exercises.
•Core exercises, represented by smaller dinosaurs, because core exercises work small muscles.
•Balancing exercises, represented by dinosaurs that flew, because the child’s body resembles a flying dinosaur during the performance of these exercises.
Each exercise description includes photos of a youth demonstrating how to perform the exercise properly. The model for the photos was Deven Snyder of High Point, whose parents own Tiger Rock Martial Arts.
“As a result of his training there from a young age, he is exceptionally fit and great at doing the exercises,” Kemerly says.
Each exercise, in addition to being named for a specific dinosaur, also includes several interesting facts about that particular creature, such as its size, shape and eating habits. The dinosaurs range from the well-known ones, such as tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and stegosaurus, to lesser-known dinosaurs such as the wannanosaurus, which stood only 2 feet tall.
“Dino-Might” is designed to make exercise fun for a generation in which childhood obesity has reached “staggering proportions,” according to Kemerly.
“While the number of overweight and obese Americans is disturbing, it’s the continuation of the trend in the nation’s children that’s even more perilous,” he writes in the book’s preface. “Not only are these children dealing with psychological and social implications of their weight, but they’re also at risk for all the diseases that adults deal with in their battles with obesity.”
According to Kemerly, adults can perform the exercises in the book, too.
“Parents can do the exercises with their kids, so it can be the impetus for family exercise,” he says. “And if parents are doing it with their kids, the kids are more likely to keep doing it.”
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579