The Jeans have it in their genes

HARARE - It runs in the genes for the Jeans family. Their involvement in sport is not by accident, but a passion that they even inherited from their parents and in-laws, Pat and Brian Warren.

 Debi Jeans, former Olympian judoka, last week returned from the Tunfest International Fitness Convention in Heidelberg, Germany.

 This comes hard on the heels of the international sport and exercise medicine symposium where her husband Austin Jeans, a top Zimbabwean sports medicine physician, attended on May 18 in the United Kingdom.

At the London symposium, Austin became first African to participate in a high-profile international conference on sports medicine.

 The judo association president Debbie is also a fitness director of Rolf Valley Sport and Health and Innovative High Performance Centre here in Harare. She is the daughter of judo stalwart and international referee Pat Warren and former Zimbabwe Olympic Committee vice- president Brian Warren.

 “I was in Germany at the invitation of Anne Proell, a leading presenter as well as a personal and professional friend of mine of over 20 years having first met at a course sponsored by the City of Frankfurt here in Harare,” Debi told the Daily News.

 “Since then, Anne has been coming out to Zimbabwe to lecture and teach other fitness professionals, her most recent visit in February this year.”

 Debbie was able to attend master classes by top international presenters over three days and has returned inspired to spread the word here at home by holding feedback workshops.

 "What we are seeing is an increasing emphasis on functional fitness where no matter what sport or exercise is being pursued. The body should be trained to be able to meet basic postural and movement pattern criteria before being loaded with higher intensity or resistance training,” she added.

“For example, an athlete with incorrect body mechanics and lacking the ability to keep the joints in a strong position throughout any exercise may well be hurting themselves and will certainly never be able to generate optimal efficiency and performance whether that is for living life fully or competing at the Olympics.”

The meeting also emphasised on the need to train on bare feet in order to restore ankle stability.

“A brand new area of interest is the increasing evidence mounting for exercising with bare feet to restore ankle stability necessary for the body to absorb forces from walking, running, sprinting and jumping,” said Debbie.

 “Exercising in shoes is progressively being seen as the same as if we were exercising in a plaster cast and studies looking at thousands of runners had shown the incidence of injuries has been shown to be 123 percent higher in people who wear expensive track shoes than in people who wear cheap options.”

 Nike, an international clothing label, are said to have carried out their own study and produced the same results.

  “As a result of this research, many group fitness classes are now done in bare feet with an emphasis on balance or stability work of the foot and mobility or flexibility of the ankle both of which are related to the way we are able to train the rest of the body and absorb the stresses of increasingly higher loads or intensity,” she said.

 “Hence the brand new ‘minimalist shoes’ we are seeing elite athletes opting for over the conventional ones. The trend in the International Fitness Industry is to advocate training smarter, not harder, and to educate our members or class participants on how best to improve health, wellness, fitness and high performance through correct movement patterns before opting to ‘go heavy and harder’. In this case, less is more.”

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