The Sport approach
All the partner countries feel the necessity to stimulate the changing of the children attitude raising their awareness on HEPA and promoting their active participation in grassroots sports.
The Oblomov project offers a new scientific methodology aimed at preventing unhealthy lifestyle, combining:
- HEPA, Health Enhancing Physical Activity
- HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training
- HIIE, High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise
Secondly, HEPA experts will transfer their scientific knowledge to theatre experts, who decode HEPA contents through new artistic training strategies and transfer them to a new professional figure: the HEPA-and-Theatre Trainer (henceforth: HEPA&TT).
The new method acts as a junction link between students and the grassroots sport world as it aims at including at least 30% of them within local grassroots sport associations.
The scientific basis of this innovative sport approach to PA are the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and the High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) based on physical short shocks. So far both methods have been used by the competent literature mainly for adults and very recently also for the adolescence age: “Despite the promising evidence supporting HIIT in adults, there is limited research targeting youth, specifically in the key age group of adolescence. Adolescents may find short bouts of high-intensity exercise more natural, appealing and easier to adhere to than traditionally recommended moderate-intensity exercise. (…) There is meaningful evidence supporting HIIT as a potentially efficacious exercise modality for use in the adolescent cohort”.
HIIT and HIIE implies intense sprint bouts of short duration with recovery intervals at low-to-moderate intensity; “Oblomov Guidelines” want to drive out preadolescents from their laziness and educate them to HEPA.
The exercise has to be: Short, High Intense, Enjoyable, Flexible, Time Efficient and Shared (SHIEFTS).
- Short: A short intense exercise is greatly attractive for an inactive young athlete as he doesn’t get too much tired and he cannot think “this exercise is not apt for my body” etc. A short sprint exercise gives an unexpected yet immediately rewarding self-esteem when it is accomplished: an inactive preteen who, for example, places first in a 20 seconds race, immediately recognizes that in a very short time, he can easily achieve greatly satisfying results and, if the preteen is even overweight or obese or coming from a disadvantaged situation, the satisfaction is certainly even greater.
- Highly Intense: intensity has to be high to break through physical and psychological blocks (think at the lower impact of a Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT) for inactive youth). That is why is important to define the minimum duration and frequency of a HIIT bout or HIIE exercise (see below time efficiency).
- Enjoyable: HIIT/HIIE enjoyment is by far the most important element as it represents a reason why preteens would have to be tempted in trying intense physical activity: “Adolescents are likely to be hedonistically motivated to participate in exercise; thus, increasing the perception of exercise enjoyment through the use of HIIT may target intrinsic motivation.”
- Flexible: the impact of HIIT/HIIE on the full age spectrum of adolescents must be studied and tested more and more. Future studies and practitioners may choose to adapt these effective protocols or create new training programmes for youth.
- Time Efficiency: in a HIIT/HIIE exercise it is very important to balance both the duration of exercise and rest bouts as well as total session duration. As time efficiency is of key interest regarding HIIT, it is of great importance to determine the duration in which health benefits occur with HIIT, especially when compared with longer-duration SSE (see also above, training has to be Short).
- Shared: Intensity and bout duration cut-offs must also be agreed upon to develop a clear definition as to what constitutes HIIT/HIIE and which advantages entail; that is why training measures must also be stated and easily translated to practice by the subjects.
Through an ad hoc training led by HEPA&TTs, the selected trainers acquire new knowledge and skills on the HIIT-HIIE scientific messages as decoded by the project theatrical strategies and thus involving not only physical action but also the emotion of body language, to induce inactive preteens to become aware of their own body, limits and action-potentials.
The competences acquired by the selected trainer transform him in a new professional figure, the High Intensive Trainer, HEPA-IT, whose challenge is to use on the field high intensive trainings inserted in an innovative methodology to drive out and stir those unaware young victims’ physically and psychologically paralyzed by their inactivity. Preteens, especially overweight ones, often don’t have a correct perception of their own body and are afraid of practicing easy PA exercises. Common gestures and movements may seem impossible for them who, therefore, give up progressively to any movement and risk extreme forms of self-exclusion and marginalization. For inactive youth, smart phones and digital games, for example, may be then the only race of their lives for not getting sick of sedentary behaviour as well as losing weight is the only way for obese people for not getting sick of obesity. By a HEPA-IT’s focused intervention, HEPA becomes for them an indispensable life line to grasp at if they want to reach a holistic healthy lifestyle.