• Pauline Cound

Full Circle Driven By Passion

My Teaching, Coaching Evolution Driven by Passion

How my teaching and coaching focus has shifted over my career!

From early on in life majority of us have innate desires or maybe just dreams about what we want to do when we grow up. Some of us are self driven and have a very directed focus and some of us have many desires but not much direction on how or what exactly it is we want to focus on.

I never had the desire to become a teacher but I was directed down that path by my high school English Teacher who recognized my lack of direction but not my lack of passion, thereby guiding me down the path of teaching, majoring in Physical Education.

Thirty-five years as a teacher, being guided by amazing colleagues, mentors, and leaders directing that career path evolution.

Secondary school teaching evolved into Primary school. Why the change. My personal passion was being thwarted by the lethargy of the teenage scholar and their hormonal changes coupled with the frustration of trying to rebuild the lost or incomplete foundation of the physical developmental stages.

Teaching classes in both the secondary and primary phases reinforced this recognition and the realization that through my own methodologies and personal experience I could not only recapture and my own passion whilst been driven by the passions of the younger generation.

My career evolution shifted from Teacher to Director to Coach. The focus has shifted but, is constantly directed by my own passion or the passion of the people that I coach or who I have influence over.

Young children are excited and passionate about everything. The teenager and the general population not so passionate and need constant reminding that they should be focusing on health and well being but they have much more going on in their career pathways so very often the health or fitness is an add on or a struggle to manage on a consistent basis. The older adult retired with time on their hands and the need to maintain health a priority as well as a health insurance.

My focus now is the Older Adult. The why? This is the phase of life that I am now experiencing therefore I can coach with empathy, experience, understanding but more importantly with the Education and Scientific backing through certifications from FAI (Functional Aging Institute) and AFLCA (Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association) Older Adults.

The past five years have been devoted to the 60+ age group in the small group environment. What key factors are driving this demographic?

Their recognition for the need to develop, maintain or improve their personal health and well being to function on a higher level in everyday life activities. The time of their lives that they have spent a life time working for, the chance to live life to the fullest, accomplish all their dreams , undertake all their adventures with energy, ability and enjoyment.

Staying active is important at every stage of life, particularly as individuals’ age. Regular exercise can help prevent metabolic issues and certain forms of cancer, reduce pain, and improve health components, skills, and activities of daily living (ADLs). In addition to physical health, exercise has been proven to benefit mental and emotional health. Having fun and being part of a social network has also been shown to have a positive effect on successful aging. Group exercise provides an opportunity to meet new individuals and build a network of like-minded people. Research conducted by Umberson D. and Montez J.K. in 2010 shows that socialization offers both physical and mental health benefits.

Training the older adult has not been dissimilar in many ways to training the young child. How often do we refer to the evolution of human movement?

Human movement primitive patterns involve the Squat. A complete knee flexion with the backside close to the floor and the heels on the floor, in a complete stretching position. Bend pattern. Bending, with trunk inclination is another primitive pattern of human movement. Walking pattern.

Natural movements include basic locomotion, such as walking, running, climbing, or crawling, as well as manipulative movements such as lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching. Many natural movements incorporate multiple elements of fitness.

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time. Functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

Balance skills - Movements where the body remains in place but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes. Movement and Body Awareness are critical for fall prevention.

What we are really doing is reprogramming our early development, just like reprogramming our computers.

More recently the concept of active aging has been proposed to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle for increasing longevity and quality of life. Active aging recognizes the importance of active engagement in life in multiple dimensions of wellness such as physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental. The work that I do with older adults integrates these multiple dimensions of wellness into their programs.

What is the underlying theme? These older adults, most of them, plus minus 70, understand the struggle but recognize the need. Everyday or every other day they arrive for class with nothing more than passion. A passion to feel better, move better, function better emotionally and psychologically. What drives this passion is they are with like minded friends all living the same challenges, recognizing, and respecting one another’s limitations or not but thriving on the social, fun, and meaningful benefits they derive from the experience. Not a day goes by where I am not in awe of their amazing capabilities, newfound abilities, and ongoing accomplishments and that is what now continues to drive my passion.

I am continuing the full circle of life all driven by passion.

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