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Why Winning Athletes Are Getting Bigger

While watching swimmers line up during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, former Olympic swimmer and NBC Sports commentator Rowdy Gaines quipped that swimmers keep getting bigger, with the shortest one in the current race towering over the average spectator. What may have been seen as an off-hand remark turns out to illustrate a trend in human development -- elite athletes are getting bigger and bigger. What Gaines did not know was that a new theory by Duke University engineers has indeed showed that not only have Olympic swimmers and sprinters gotten bigger and faster over the past 100 years, but they have grown at a much faster rate than the normal population.

Older People Benefit From Progressive Resistance Strength Training

Progressive resistance strength training not only helps older adults become stronger but also makes their everyday life easier, a Cochrane Review suggests. Muscle strength decreases naturally as people age. This reduction in muscle strength could affect older adults carrying out daily activities. Progressive resistance strength training is a type of strength training that uses free weights, exercise machines, or elastic bands to strengthen muscles. Key to this type of this exercise is adjusting the resistance, or weight, according to the person's progress. This exercise can be prescribed to help older adults gain the strength necessary to carry out everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, bathing or doing housework.

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Predicting Drinking Water Needs - Keeping Troops Healthy, Cutting Cost Of Operations; May Also Benefit Civilians

When soldiers leave base for a 3-day mission, how much water should they bring? Military planners and others have long wrestled with that question, but new research from the Journal of Applied Physiology may now provide them an accurate answer. The study substantially improves a water needs equation that the U.S. Army developed in 1982. That equation, known as the Shairo equation, overestimates water needs. The study produced formulations that are 58-65% more accurate than the Shapiro equation, at least in the laboratory. If the new formula works in the field, as expected, it could accurately predict water needs not only for soldiers, but also for civilians who work or exercise outdoors.

Questioning The Use Of Muscle Rubs

There is not enough evidence to support using gels and creams containing rubefacients for chronic and acute pain, according to a systematic review by Cochrane Researchers. Rubefacients cause irritation and reddening of the skin, due to increased blood flow. The review focused on formulations containing salicylates, which are widely prescribed or sold over the counter as topical treatments for sports injuries and muscle pain. "At present, due to a lack of high quality evidence, we can't say exactly how effective rubefacients are for acute injuries and there are certainly other more effective treatments which could be prescribed for use in chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, " says lead researcher Andrew Moore, of the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics at the University of Oxford in the UK.

Travel Increases Risk Of Deep Vein Thrombosis, Study

A new study from the US suggests that travel is linked to a higher risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as a venous thromboembolism (VTE). The study was the work of corresponding author Dr Divay Chandra, from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and other colleagues from HSPH and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, all in Boston, Massachusetts. They have published their findings in the 4 August issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers noted that although VTE linked to travel has become a public health issue, the evidence linking the two is "surprisingly contradictory", so they set out to review the research to date and find out what the travel-related risk of VTE might be, whether it depended on the length of travel, and what might explain the contradictory evidence.

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What Are The Most Effective Ways Of Promoting Physical Exercise In Adults, In Terms Of Health Benefits And Financial Cost?

A study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine has found that of six interventions promoting exercise in adults in Australia, encouraging the use of pedometers - simple step counting devices that can be used as a motivational tool - and promoting physical activity through mass media campaigns are the most cost-effective in terms of the money spent for the health benefits they result in. Considered as a package, researchers at the University of Queensland also conclude that these six interventions could reduce death and illness from heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes in Australia, with an overall cost saving for the health sector.

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