Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are You a Corporate Athlete?

Sport and the athlete can be seen throughout the business world. From marketing campaigns to studies on the number of CEOs that competed in sport in high school and/or university there is an interest in the connection between sport and business.

A recent article in Canadian Business looked at “The Corporate Athlete.” It is a workshop designed by a sport psychologist and physiologist to provide leaders in business with methods applied to elite athletes that can be applied to their own lives - transferable skills.

Transferable skills are lessons taught to young athletes that can be used later in life. They are often highlighted as positive benefits in sport participation. When you consider what is being taught to elite businessmen you can identify some of these skills:

  • Proper Nutrition
  • Role of recovery
  • Regular exercise
  • Creating a support system
  • Benefits of Sleep
  • Work/Life Balance

If you want to stay on top of your game in the corporate world incorporating life skills athletes’ use is one way to go. It is a holistic way of thinking from time management to nutrition to mental focus.

Additional resources from the SIRC Collection include:

  1. Hutton, J., & Clark, A. (2007). Training the Corporate Athlete. Fitness Business Canada, 8(5), 44-46
  2. Jones, M., & Lavallee, D. (2009). Exploring the life skills needs of British adolescent athletes. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 10(1), 159-167.
  3. Timm, Jordan. (2010) The Corporate Athlete. Canadian Business. 83(9), 56-59.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Group Exercise vs Going Solo

Think of your favourite form of exercise. Do you like to do it with a group or alone? Team sports are pretty obvious however most sports from cycling and running to kite surfing and downhill skiing can be considered group activities. Check out the following list of benefits to working out with others. If you thrive in groups this list is for you; if you are a solo artist maybe it will tweak your interest to call up a friend.

Motivation – Knowing that there are others waiting for you to show up can motivate you to get out the door; you will feel accountable. Also, people pick up the work ethics of those around them so picking your workout partner can have a positive or negative effect.

Communication – Improved problem solving skills can be developed due to higher levels of dopamine for couples who exercise together.

Happiness & Intimacy- With an increase in levels of endorphins and working as a team there is a higher feeling of intimacy between teammates.

Safety – Group exercise like fitness classes are often designed for levels of fitness. If you are exercising outdoors having a partner while running or cycling is great in case of injury or safety on pathways.

Social Connection – Finding out about the lives of those around you is great form of entertainment, like watching a reality TV or a soap opera. Setting up an exercise date is also a great way to catch up with friends.

Dolan, S. (2008). Benefits of Group Exercise. ACSM Fit Society Page, 4.
St. Lifer, Holly. (2010) Mind Your Body: Strength in Numbers. Psychology Today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter -Nutrition!
Every athlete, coach and parent should know that what you fuel your body with, and when, has a direct impact on athletic performance. Whether you are competing on the road or training at home, nutrition is crucially important for conditioning, recovery from fatigue after exertion, as well as for injury prevention.

Pole Dancing – not just for exotic dancers anymore!

The “fireman spin”, the “falling angel” and the “hair flip” – not the usual names for work out moves, but there is nothing usual about pole dancing. As a form of aerobic exercise, pole dancing can burn up to 250 calories per hour. It also increases flexibility, improves body awareness and posture, builds confidence, and strengthens muscles. Pole Dancing classes have been compared to Pilates with cardio and they are steadily growing in popularity. Where else can you tone your upper body, legs and core and also get in touch with your “sexy side”.

Pole dancing, also called pole fitness and vertical dancing, has not only become a new form of fitness, but also a fitness event, with competitions held worldwide. There is also a push for it to become an Olympic Sport, but it has a long way to go yet.

Hong Kong-based Ania Przeplasko, the founder of the International Pole Dancing Fitness Association, the sport's fledgling supervisory body, believes Olympic recognition is only a matter of time and would be a victory for underappreciated sports worldwide.

KT Coates, a leading pole dancer in Britain and director of Vertical Dance, is leading the effort to make pole dancing a "test" event in 2012 and foresees a more formal pitch in 2016, when the Olympics go to Rio de Jeneiro.

Not all pole dancers agree with the Olympic push however. Standardizing the scoring and consistency with the naming of moves would be necessary in order for pole dancing to progress on this root, many feeling that this would remove its “rebellious” edge. Snowboarding has managed to keep its edge, however, so you never know.

SIRC Articles on Pole Dancing:

  • A Fad with Legs? Cohen, Andrew, Athletic Business Aug 2007: Vol. 31 Issue 8. p. 92-95
  • Dancing with the ATHLETIC TRAINERS. Kessler, Sarah, Windy City Sports Sep2008, p40
  • Fitness Flirtation. Windy City Sports Oct2007, p17
  • Pole Position. Kennedy, Kania, IDEA Fitness Journal Jul/Aug2007, Vol. 4 Issue 7, p7
  • Pole Position. Murray, Vanessa, Inside Sport Feb2009, Issue 206, p100
  • Pole to pole. Holloway, Andy, Canadian Business 22 May-4 June 2006: Vol. 79 Issue 11. p. 43-144; 146

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer’s Here – an ounce of protection is needed!

It is a well known fact that excessive exposure to ultra-violet radiation (UVR, also known as the sun!) significantly increases an individual’s risk for developing both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. So why do people still insist on sun worshipping and participating in outdoor activity without proper sun protection?

Despite piles of data tying UV exposure to skin cancer, premature aging of the skin and decreased immunity, studies show that athletes have abysmal rates of sunscreen use. Athletes tend to look after their muscles, lungs and cardiovascular system, but neglect their biggest organ – the skin.

So before you go outside to swim, play ball, cycle, run or whatever your sport of pleasure may be, be sure to be sun safe. There are lots of great products on the market specifically designed for the outdoor athlete:
  • SPF clothing that is specifically designed to protect you from the sun.
  • Cooling garments that reflect harmful UV rays
  • Sunscreen protection specifically made for athletes that is water and sweat resistant

Remember if you can avoid prolonged outdoor activity between 10 am and 4pm when the sun is at its most damaging, then do, but if you can’t, then make sure you are protected. Wear a hat, sunglasses, spf lip balm and apply a minimum SPF 30 sweat resistant sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply regularly (every couple of hours). And be sure to put on enough sunscreen – it takes at least one fluid ounce of sunscreen to adequately protect the body.

Articles from SIRC on Sun Protection.
Australian primary schools' sun protection policy and practice: evaluating the impact of the National SunSmart Schools Program. Jones, Simeon B.W.; Beckmann, Kerri; Rayner, Joanne, Health Promotion Journal of Australia Aug2008, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p86

Predicting parental sunscreen use: Disentangling the role of action planning in the intention-behavior relationship. Van Osch, Liesbeth; Reubsaet, Astrid; Lechner, Lilian; Candel, Math; Mercken, Liesbeth; De Vries, Hein, Psychology & Health Oct2008, Vol. 23 Issue 7, p829

Protect your Skin. McCullough, Mike, NCGA Golf Winter2009, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p66

Testing an extended theory of planned behaviour to predict young people's sun safety in a high risk area. White, Katherine M.; Robinson, Natalie G.; Young, Ross McD.; Anderson, Peter J.; Hyde, Melissa K.; Greenbank, Susan; Rolfe, Toni; Keane, Julie; Vardon, Paul; Baskerville, Debra, British Journal of Health Psychology Sep2008, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p435

YOUR SKIN FITNESS. Hendrickson, Chad S., Triathlon Life Spring2009, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p43

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Old Wives Tale?

I can never remember, is it ‘Starve a cold and feed a fever’ or ‘Feed a cold and starve a fever’? Ask and you will probably be told the saying goes ‘Starve a fever, feed a cold’. But to be honest we all should recognize that not eating is a detriment in either of these cases.

As recommended by registered dieticians the best scenario when you are sick is to eat enough nutritious food to satisfy your hunger, but more importantly pay attention to staying hydrated with either the cold or the flu. If you are very thirsty, if you feel tired, irritable, dizzy or light-headed or if you seldom need to go to the bathroom, these are all signs that you might be dehydrated.

To help prevent illness and/or infection, foods that are high in antioxidants are a good start. Try foods such as garlic, almonds, red bell pepper, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Healthy bacteria in foods such as low-fat yogurt may also help reduce infection.

Reference from the SIRC Collection: McCary, J. (2010). Ask the RD. IDEA Fitness Journal, 7(2), 83.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beat the Heat … Cramps!

When the weather heats up and humidity sores we are all on the lookout to prevent dehydration. We’ve been taught to drink up and replace lost fluids and electrolytes. But how do we prevent the muscle cramping that can also occur during this weather? Recently it has been suggested that diluted pickle juice, mustard or vinegar can help fight off exercise-related cramping.

Cramps can be caused by a lack of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates your muscles to work. Mustard and pickle juice have acetic acid, which helps the body make more acetylcholine which loosens muscle tension. Apple cider vinegar is high in potassium and can help with muscle cramps caused by potassium deficiency.

While these home remedies have much anecdotal evidence, research is still being done to validate the claims.

(2010). Combat Cramping. Lacrosse Journal, 34(1), 65.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Don’t Get a Bruisin’ While You’re Cruisin’ ~ Wear a Helmet!

As the weather gets warmer more bicycles are on the road. It is an excellent form of transportation, exercise and a great way to spend time with family and friends. Keeping safe while you are out riding is very important, broken bones and concussion are not fun. One of the best ways to prevent injury is to wear a helmet and learn bike safety.

Did you know that the skull can be cracked going at speeds of 7-10km/hr? This is the speed at which most children go on wheels. Six of the seven provinces and territories have created Bike Helmet Legislation to protect their residents. Depending on where you live you could be fined from up to $128.75. Although cycling injuries have been declining over the years Transportation Canada statistics estimate that there are approximately 7,500 each year.

There are many helmet choices out there. It is important to get the right fit. An excellent resource to help select how to fit a helmet and what type helmet should be used for activities is A Parent’s Guide to Helmet and Recreational Safety. Things to look for are position, pad placement, straps and overall tightness. Also, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute posted a summary of the 2009 Consumer Reports’ review article of kids bicycle helmets.

Wearing a helmet is an easy way to stay safe while having fun. There are many community organizations available to teach bike safety. For more information check out the Canadian Cycling Association’s CAN-BIKE program which offers classes for kids and adults at all skill levels.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Vigorous Physical Activity Reduces Sickness Absence

A recent study found that men and women who were vigorously active reduced their amount of sickness absence. It seems as though most health benefits occur with moderate to vigorous physical activity. Have you ever wondered what moderate to vigorous activity really means?

Moderate Activities include:
- Walking with a purpose
- In-Line skating
- Bicycling on flat ground
- Recreational dancing
- Frisbee
- Recreational swimming

Vigorous Activities include:
- Jogging or running
- Bicycling on rolling terrain
- Aerobic dancing
- Jumping rope
- Competitive sports such as soccer, basketball, or touch football

The study examined an aging population (aged 40-60) and acknowledges that there are some limitations. One listed is that if people are vigorously active they may be part of a group that leads an overall healthy lifestyle. Workplace health promotion can play a key role in helping improve the lives of employees causing a positive domino effect in the work environment. Some positive benefits include:

- cost savings from reduced absenteeism
- reducing musculoskeletal symptoms
- preventing lower back pain
- improve overall health and well-being
- reduce risk taking behaviour

If you are not sure whether you have workplace health promotion, look into it. It may have a positive impact on your quality of life.


  • Jenkins, A., Christensen, H., Walker, J., & Dear, K. (2009). The Effectiveness of Distance Interventions for Increasing Physical Activity: A Review. American Journal of Health Promotion, 24(2), 102-117.
  • Lahti, J., Laaksonen, M., Lahelma, E., & Rahkonen, O. (2010). The impact of physical activity on sickness absence. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(2), 191-199.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2011 Canada Games - 283 Days to Go!

SIRC volunteered at the lighting of the 2011 Canada Games torch today to kick off the beginning of the Games torch program.

The Ottawa Visitor Centre was a hive of activity with activities for local schools with performances by Jimmy Rankin and The Sacred Heart Concert Choir. Also on the program were welcoming speeches from the Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, director of sports, Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection Stephen Gallant, Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Peter Kelly, President and CEO for the Canada Games Council, Sue Hylland and Olympic medalist and Canada Games medalist Jennifer Botterill and three-time Olympic medalist Isabelle Charest.

You can follow the torch program to see where it will end up next. More details can be found at

Second Open House Another Success

On April 29, 2010, SIRC’s Toronto Regional office held its second Open House, with over 150 books on display from both the SIRC Ottawa office and the SIRC@Sport4Ontario collection. Many people from the Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO) in the Sport Alliance building came down to peruse the collection and partake in the free lunch.

What was different about this open house is that there were computer stations set up around the room in order to hold one on one training sessions with individuals wanting to learn how to properly search the Sport Discus Database and also set up saved searches and alerts. Many of the PSOs participated including lacrosse, golf, basketball, ringette, Coaches Association of Ontario and triathlon. Linda Kirk, the Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Triathletes was looking for the latest information on Long Term Athlete Development from a Canadian perspective. She was able to set up a search and alert so now she will be receiving links to articles directly to her email.

Congratulations to our door prize winners Keeley MacLean from Coaches Association of Ontario, Chris Driscoll of the Ontario Lacrosse Association and Erin Hamilton from the Sport Alliance of Ontario. Look for the next SIRC road show to take place in the fall. Till then, sign out a book or two,” ask a librarian” or better yet visit one of SIRCs two libraries, you won’t be disappointed with the information available.