Thursday, October 28, 2010

SCRI Pre-Conference Workshop

Communication was flowing at the pre-conference workshop hosted by SIRC yesterday for the SCRI (Sport Canada Research Imitative) conference. The purpose of the workshop was to create a forum through which the sport and fitness community, policy-makers and researchers can bridge the gap between research needs and actualization of those needs. The goal was to create a setting wherein practitioners (sport and fitness community) could communicate the type of information needs they had, how they were currently using research and address the transfer of knowledge.

Highlights include:
- Connecting people. Identifying the researchers and people looking to have research done.
- Partnerships. Working together in collaboration with the ability to listen and compromise.
- Community involvement. Getting the information that is needed to the community coach and parent.
- Practical information. Make it relevant to people to that they can incorporate it into their programs.
- Identifying barriers. What stops people participate in sport? Capacity? Quality of experience? Non-inclusive programs?

It was a fast pace two hours of discussion resulting in fantastic ideas. Thanks to all that participated, your feedback was amazing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SIRC at the PHE /Ophea Conference

The Exhibit Hall at the Ophea/PHE Conference was bustling with activity last week. At the SIRC booth Brandie Adams and Michele Walker were onsite to answer questions. The SIRC Newsletters were a hot commodity. The latest issue was Physical Education and Physical Literacy containing fifteen full text articles. The newsletters change topics every few weeks and are a great way to keep up to date on topics. Previous newsletters have included, volunteering, sport parents, concussion and nutrition. They are great for everyone, especially if you are on the go and want to save time. Signing up for them is easy (and free).

Many other groups came up to talk with us as well so we were able to learn about many great programs that are going on including:

It was a fantastic time and we’re looking forward to blogging more about some of the things we learned.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Injury Risk for Female Athletes

We are all aware that women and men differ in general physiology, and it is easy to extrapolate that they differ in physiology in response to exercise and physical activity. While women are prone to many of the same exercise-related injuries, a recent article in the SIRC Collection draws our focus to the injury risks of women in exercise and athletics and the special concerns of the female athlete.

With the growing numbers of female participants in sport and exercise there is a corresponding incidence of injury to females. In a review of the literature the article observes that women have greater injury incidence due to differences in:
  • biomechanics (the most noticeable factor),
  • weakness in local musculature,
  • coordination and neuromuscular fatigue,
  • ligament and tendon properties,
  • increased flexibility (with corresponding greater joint laxity),
  • hormonal effects on connective tissue.

Injuries that are more common for women than men include:

  • musculoskeletal injuries
  • lower extremity injuries
  • ACL injuries
  • stress fractures

While there are treatments that address the specific needs of the female athlete, both men and women can benefit from the same preventive measures such as adequate stretching, appropriate warm-up and cool-down, sport-specific strengthening, and conditioning exercises. It is important however, to keep in mind the specific physiological differences when planning fitness and sporting activities.

Reference: Groeger Marlelena (2010). Injury Risks for the Female Athlete, ACSM’s health & fitness journal, 14(4), 14-21.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bone Health and Calcium

We’ve all heard from childhood that we should drink milk for healthy bones. Milk is one of the most common sources of calcium which is a vital ingredient in bone development and maintenance. Many people stray from consuming milk as they enter adulthood for a variety of reasons whether it is fat content, lactose issues or preferences for other beverages. While it is most commonly found in milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, calcium can be found in alternative sources such as calcium-fortified soy milk and juices, as well as breakfast cereals, spinach, broccoli and almonds. However, you would need larger quantities of these products to achieve the recommended amount of calcium (10 cups of spinach; 3.5 cups of broccoli, about 88 almonds). Calcium supplements are also available and can help boost intake, they do not contain the protein found in milk or soy milk or the other nutrients they contain. It is also important to know that dairy sources of calcium also contain Vitamin D which enhances the absorption of calcium and is needed not only to protect bone health but also to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease; enhance immune function and reduce inflammation. Vitamin D is not readily available naturally in other foods. Active individuals and athletes are recommended to check with their health care provider to make sure that they have adequate Vitamin D levels.

Paying attention to bone health should be a life-long effort. Whether you have young developing bones or you are concerned about developing bone issues such as osteoporosis, bones require a matching life-long intake of calcium.

Reference from the SIRC Collection: Clark, Nancy (2009). Calcium concerns. Ultr-FIT, 19(8), 40-41.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Renewal Time … Is the Canadian Sport Policy working?

Folks from across Canada have been meeting to discuss the Canadian Sport Policy. In 2012, the ten year term of the current policy is ending. Should we continue as is? Should there be no Policy? Should we adopt Canadian Sport for Life? Do the current four pillars (Participation, Excellence, Capacity and Interaction) reflect Canadian society now? These are some of the questions the federal and provincial/territorial governments are now considering.

Sport Canada and the Sport Matters Group have been asking for thoughts from Canadians on the Policy. Here are some of the suggestions so far:

- Extending the vision of the Sport Policy to incorporate the social development aspects of sport such as community involvement, immigration, and education
- Adding Community Building as a fifth pillar
- Evaluate what is meant by ‘participation’ to incorporate unstructured and informal sport
- Incorporate the language of Canadian Sport 4 Life

Do you want to find out more? The summary of findings from the community engagement and the consultation process are available online as well as the reports from the working groups, consultation papers and more.

Read the documents and if you have thoughts now is the time to get them out there to be heard.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Physical Education and Physical Literacy

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter on Physical Education and Physical Literacy!

Attention towards understanding youth physical fitness in relation to health has developed in the last few years. With this in mind, educators are seeking a curriculum with a vision of building physical and health literacy. Students need to be experiencing programs that are more engaging, energizing and personally enriching. Better quality physical education is likely to change the health-related behaviours and attitudes of students, as well as those of their families and communities. Physical literacy is a term that is not always easy to understand. Physical and Health Education Canada defines being physically literate as: an individual who moves with competence in a wide variety of physical activities that benefit the development of the whole person. Physically literate individuals are able to demonstrate a variety of movements confidently, competently, creatively and strategically across a wide range of health related physical activities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are you an Active Couch Potato?

How much do you sit? Think of your day. How do you get to work? Drive? Bus? When you are at work are you sitting? Maybe you workout and then get home and sit for dinner and end your day with some TV or surfing the ‘Net. You may be an active person surpassing the guidelines for physical activity but how much do you sit and how does this affect your body?

Sedentary behavior (i.e. sitting) can lead to obesity and other metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breast and colon cancer. Addressing too much sitting has become a population health issue and countries including Canada are looking at practical and policy approaches. Several suggestions on changing how much we sit include:
  • Innovative Technology such as desks that change height
  • Regulations to break up job-related sitting
  • Promoting active transport

Organizations such as the Alberta Centre for Active Living offer suggestions for physical activity at work including:

It is amazing to think of how much of your day you may sit. Next time you hesitate getting up from your desk, don’t. There could be some health benefits from it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hypertension … in kids!

When we think about high blood pressure, we associate this with getting older and watching our sodium intake. But an article in the Wall Street Journal brings to light a dangerous trend in adolescent and pediatric hypertension. The fact that more and more children and teenagers are showing evidence of hypertension means that they are on an early trajectory for heart attacks, strokes and other serious problems. Studies quoted in this article indicate that an estimated 5% of people age 18 and under have hypertension, which is up from about 1% three decades ago. This is largely due to an increasing number of overweight and obese children. Indications are that this estimate is actually on the low side. “The good news is that most young people can achieve healthy blood pressure and reverse the accumulated bad effects by increasing physical activity, improving their diet and losing weight. Medicines generally aren't required.”

The following steps are recommended so you can monitor and prevent high blood pressure and its risks in children:

  • Know your child’s blood pressure. Starting at age 3 blood pressure checks should be part of the annual check up
  • Incorporate a regular program of physical activity as part of everyday life
  • Plan time away from the house and the television
  • Reduce unhealthy eating
  • Reduce salt in daily diet
  • Include more fruits and vegetables in the diet

According to the report the diagnosis is not a life sentence. A regular program of physical activity for at-risk children can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure and improvements in the health of their arteries.

SIRC Reference: Winslow, Ron. (2010).Doctor’s Focus on Kids’ Blood Pressure. Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2010. Retrieved from the Internet October 6, 2010.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi

With the success of the Opening Ceremonies in Delhi, the XIX Commonwealth Games have officially begun. While the country and operations for the Games have taken a beating for the myriad of difficulties and problems associated with the Games, there are many positive reports coming out of Delhi as the athletes take the stage. Accommodations have come up to par, venues are in good shape and the food in the Athlete’s Village has received good reviews.

The XIX Commonwealth Games in numbers:

  • 17 sports
  • 272 medal events
  • 6,700 athletes and officials
  • 71 countries and territories represented
  • 400 member Canadian team (athletes, officials and staff)
  • 250 Canadian athletes
  • Cost estimates for the Games have ranged from US$3 billion to more than $10 billion
  • Canada finished 3rd at the 2006 Commonwealth Games with 86 medals

Reports on the Canadian team suggest that the strength of this year's team lays in swimming, diving, weightlifting and wrestling. The team will have the words “laghe raho” written on their uniform. It's a Hindi term which means “be at it.”

So join SIRC in cheering on our team!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Be Confident and Don’t Think Too Much

Sprinters can be found in sports such as swimming, kayak or running and the psychological demands are much different than that of distance athletes. An article recently published in Splash discusses mental tips for sprinters. They may be basic but they cover the essentials.

  • Controlling Your Arousal
    o You need to find the right balance of adrenaline at the beginning of a race. Too much energy expended is not good but neither is not having enough to get going.
  • Try Easier
    o The harder you try you may compromise your form, easing up may increase speed.
  • Being Confident
    o Low confidence can increase anxiety and negative focus
  • Determination
    o Find our competitiveness and make it a goal to finish the race in the best time you can and out-compete your heat.
  • Focus
    o Don’t over think. Try to get rid of excess worry and have only 1-2 thoughts. Sprinters should have to think as little as possible during the race.

There are lots of resources in the SIRC Collection for mental training from past newsletters to book and articles. For more mental training tips check out email .

Kimball, Amiee C. (2010) Easy Speed: The psychology of Sprinters. Splash. July/Aug, p.18