As the world turns its sporting gaze towards Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, The Physiological Society journal Experimental Physiology marks the occasion with a special issue exploring the biological and environmental challenges elite winter athletes must overcome to win gold. "When most people think about these games we conjure up glorious images of snow and high mountains", said co-editor Mike White from the University of Birmingham, "but when Physiologists think of cold and altitude most immediately think of environmental challenges including hypothermia and hypoxia." To explore these challenges the editors avoided the standard, resisted the stereotypical and rejected dated physiological methods to create an innovative and integrative new approach to study and debate the limitations to performance in elite winter sport.
Why do Winter Olympic athletes risk injury and possible death for their sport? At the upcoming games in Vancouver, gutsy athletes will be flying down the bobsled track, downhill skiers will be recording enormous speeds, and snowboarders will be flying well above the half pike. What do many of these Winter Olympians have in common? According to sports psychologist Dr. Gregg Steinberg, author of Full Throttle : 122 Strategies To Supercharge Your Performance At Work, these athletes get a charge out of risky, daredevil behaviors. In Dr. Steinberg's opinion, the athletes that live on the edge actually share a common trait with risk-taking CEOs and entrepreneurs - low serotonin in the brain.
Spanish researchers have developed a new mathematical model that permits to predict sport injuries from a series of equations. Their work has proved that sport injuries that affect the lower limbs in high-impact sport, such as football, athletics or basketball, can be predicted through the use of equations of logistic regression. This paper has been published in the journal "Apunts. Medicina de L'esport" and has had the participation of Antonio FernĂ ndez MartĂ nez (University Pablo de Olavide), Juan Carlos de la Cruz MĂ rquez, BelĂ n Cueto MartĂ n and Juan Carlos de la Cruz Campos (University of Granada, Spain) and Santiago Salazar Alonso (Institute Vicente Espinel of Malaga).
If you're going to hurl yourself down a mountain at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour you'd better have a strong core. That's why Olympians like Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and Sara Schleper work on developing strong "core" muscles all season long. Most people know that having a strong core is critical for optimal skiing performance. What exactly defines your "core"? Many think the "core" refers to only the muscles around the mid-section (commonly referred to as a "six-pack"). However, the major muscles of the core reside in the area of your belly, the mid and lower back and peripherally including the hips (some physiologists include the shoulders and even the neck).
Physical activity appears to be associated with a reduced risk or slower progression of several age-related conditions as well as improvements in overall health in older age, according to a commentary and four articles published in the January 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Exercise has previously been linked to beneficial effects on arthritis, falls and fractures, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, write Jeff Williamson, M.D., M.H.S., and Marco Pahor, M.D., of University of Florida, Gainesville, in a commentary. All of these conditions threaten older adults' ability to function independently and handle tasks of daily living.
Among women who survive to age 70 or older, those who regularly participated in physical activity during middle age appear more likely to be in better overall health. Qi Sun, M.D., Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 13, 535 participants in the Nurses' Health Study. The women reported their physical activity levels in 1986, at an average age of 60. Among those who had survived to age 70 or older as of 1995 to 2001, those who had higher levels of physical activity at the beginning of the study were less likely to have chronic diseases, heart surgery or any physical, cognitive or mental impairments.