[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/ddr.jpg]Following last year's decision to bring Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) to schools in West Virginia, Konami enlisted the help of West Virginia University and the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency to conduct a study on the benefits of playing DDR. Businessweek recently reported that the research, which primarily involved the children of PEIA policy holders, revealed that "consistent use" of the dancing game "improved the health, attitudes and behaviors of participating children."
The at-home clinical study looked at a 24-week period and required that participants play DDR five days per week for at least 30 minutes and record their activity. At the same time, WVU monitored health indicators throughout the period, including weight, blood pressure, body mass index, arterial function, fitness levels and attitudes towards exercise.
According to the National Council on Youth Sports, almost 30 million boys and girls under 18 play some kind of organized sport like Little League or soccer. For many of them, it's a way to make new friends and play a game they enjoy.
But over the last decade, more otherwise well-meaning parents have been pushing their budding stars to excel at almost any cost. Children as young as 3 can sign up for swimming and gymnastics programs. Soccer often starts at 4 and baseball at 5. From there it's become increasingly common for parents to rush the kids into highly competitive situations when they're barely out of diapers.
Parents should take note: A 2001 study by the National Alliance for
Youth Sports found that 70 percent of American kids who sign up for
sports quit by the time they were 13. The reason? They said it wasn't
Sepak Takraw, which literally translates to Kick Volleyball, is a cross between soccer and volleyball. This fast-growing and popular sport in Asia is called Takraw for short and is played on a badminton doubles-sized court. The Takraw ball is traditionally hand-woven and made of rattan stems or very hard plastic weighing approximately 250 grams.
Two teams compete for higher scores by spiking a ball into the opponent���s court. Each team gets three chances to kick, knee, shoulder or head the ball back to the opposing team. Like in volleyball, there are passes, sets and spikes���but the strokes must be made soccer-style: no hands or arms allowed.
The most prestigious tournament of this sport is the King's Cup World Championships, the most recent of which was held in Bangkok, Thailand. As of 2006, there have been 21 King's Cup tournaments.
(Photo provided by Getty Images, taken by Ian Walton)