Next month, in the Norwegian town of Rena, 12, 000 elite cross-country skiers will line up for this year's Birkebeiner ski marathon, an annual endurance race which will take them through 54 kilometres of snow-covered countryside to the winter sports resort of Lillehammer. The race has been run almost every year since 1932, and in 1976 almost 150 participants were invited to take part in a long-term study designed to discover the extent of latent heart disease in these elite cross-country skiers. Now, after some 30 years, the results of the follow-up study have been published and suggest that long-distance competition skiers - as well as other endurance athletes - are at an unusually high risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormality of the heart's beating rhythm.
While high school baseball and softball players experience the same rate of shoulder injuries, there are differences in how those injuries occur, according the study, "Shoulder Injuries in U.S. High School Baseball and Softball Athletes, 2005-2008, " published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online February 8). During the study period, softball shoulder injuries tended to occur across all positions played, while baseball shoulder injuries increased in pitchers. For both sports, muscle strains made up the majority of injuries -- approximately 33 percent. Softball players were more frequently injured in practices, while baseball injuries occurred more frequently in competitions.
Being active for at least 30 minutes every day reduces your risk of developing some types of cancer. Fitness experts at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have designed an exclusive exercise plan based on this evidence that will fit into almost anyone's lifestyle. "You don't need to go to a gym or do sprints every day to get your 30 to 60 minutes in, " says Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor of behavioral science at M. D. Anderson. Doing everyday activities can count as exercise, but only if they are done at a moderate intensity. People should be working hard enough to raise their heart rate and increase their breathing.
Dietitians are key members of the Olympic team - advising elite athletes on what to eat and ensuring they get the right foods to fuel them during their competitive events. "In addition to the rigorous coaching, training and commitment, Olympic athletes need the right foods every day for success. Dietitians of Canada is profiling five key dietitians involved in the Olympics, " says Lynda Corby MSc, MEd, RD, Director of Public Affairs for Dietitians of Canada. MÃ lanie Olivier PDt, MSc from Montreal is the 'official dietitian' of the Canadian Olympic Committee. In the months leading up to the games she has been making sure the foods the athletes need will be available to them.
The world's largest sports medicine and exercise science organization today expressed its support for proposed safety legislation in the dietary supplement industry. The American College of Sports Medicine - a professional society with more than 35, 000 members and certified individuals - is a partner of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the entity leading the charge for "Supplement Safety Now." USADA held a press conference today with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who proposed new legislation on supplements. According to USADA, "dangerous drugs, such as designer steroids, are intentionally being sold as dietary supplements, and current law allows these products to get easily to market.
Olympic athletes inspire us with their fierce discipline and natural talent as they smash records, going higher, further and faster. Their can-do spirit encourages us all to take on new challenges. Whether your goal is to complete your first marathon, improve your golf game or compete in a triathlon competition, there are lessons to be learned from the best of the best. "The Olympics symbolize the chance for all of us to push the boundaries of human potential, " said Chris Sebelski, assistant professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University. "As I tell my students, if you want to compete at a high level, mimic the strategies of those at the top.