Thursday, January 27, 2011

7 Canadian Power Plants

In the heart of flu season, protecting yourself from illness is very important. In the January/February edition of Canadian Running from the SIRC Collection, there is an article on 7 power plants to help boost your immune system. The 7 plants that are about can be grown right here in Canada. Whether you decide to use the plant as food, herb, or extract is up to you. If you want a little extract help for the immune system, an extract is the easy way to go. If you are looking for one-time boost go for the food options.
  • Echinacea – a prairie coneflower, has chemicals in the leaves and roots are thought to increase white blood cell production and antiviral protein messengers. It is best used in on-and-off cycles to help prevent getting sick, and in immediate use when you already sick.
  • Ginseng – Its root has shown that it can increase physical stamina and deter colds. Best used as a pre-emptive boost to the immune system, it should also be used in on-and-off cycles and no longer than 3 continuous months without consulting a health care provider
  • Grapes – The seeds are good for you! In grape seeds and skin is found a nutrient, Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a great antioxidant which strengthens white blood cell membranes. Eating whole grapes can create a stronger immune system.
  • Garlic – The bad breath cannot be hidden, but is another super-food that helps strengthen the immune system. It can be taken as an extract, fresh food, or the less effective odour-free option.
  • Cranberry – They are a natural source of antioxidants that help counter the oxidative stress running. The easiest source is through consuming 100% juice. If it’s too tart to drink, dilute it with water.
  • Goldenseal – It enhances the effect of other herbs. When used with Echinacea, it increases the production of antibodies and speeds recovery from the common cold. Take caution when using, it is a powerful force. So follow the directions with care.
  • Elderberry – A producer of cold and flu antibodies, it has been used for a long time to help treat congestion of the lung and sinuses. Use of store bought extracts or juice are effective in treating, and preventing infection.
Reference from the SIRC Collection:
Lister, Patience. (2011). Power Plants. Canadian Running, 4(Jan/Feb 2011), 62-63.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sportsmanship: Connecting Fun and Competition

What is sportsmanship? Do we really understand how to exercise, teach, or encourage sportsmanship? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sportsmanship as “fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition.” Sportsmanship is the glue that holds competition and fun together.

As athletes, coaches, officials, or parents we need to lead by example. This can be done by:
  • Thanking coaches and referees at the end of games
  • Congratulating players and opponents
  • Cheering for your teammates
  • Being polite to the referees
Youth sport should be about having fun. However, as athletes get older the competitive drive gets bigger and often sportsmanship can be forgotten. Officials of highly competitive games can help to create a good sportsmanship atmosphere. Click Here for some tips on how officials can prepare.

Reference from the SIRC collection:
Woelfel, Rick. (2005). How to Build Good Sportsmanship. Referee, 30(3), 14.

Online Resources:
SIRC July Newsletter
TeensHealth: Sportsmanship

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Active Start" for the Long Run

While sport participation is a major factor in the development of most North American children, age appropriate activities are even more important for instilling a long term love of sports. And it’s even better if you can get your child to be involved in a variety of activities throughout the year.

It’s alright if you want to develop your 3-year old into the next Sidney Crosby or Alexandre Bilodeau. While flooding your back yard or making a moguls course provides opportunities for developing sport-specific skills, research now shows that the focus of these efforts should be on learning the basic skills applicable to all sports. So it really is best to incorporate some of the fundamental movement skills first and foremost.

The first of the seven stages of the Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Model is called “Active Start” where girls and boys from the day of their birth until 6 years of age, should focus on fun daily activities. Basic skills and movements like running, jumping, throwing, catching and kicking should be of prime importance. As well, children should be interacting with other young kids which helps them build on their interpersonal skills – something that can be carried into adulthood.

We know that the benefits of playing sports are numerous. In order to keep our kids engaged in sport and prevent burnout, recommendations suggest kids should participate in a variety of physical activities long before specialization begins.

Keep it fun. Keep it simple. Mix it up.

Video: American Development Model USA Hockey “This Is Hockey”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sport For Life

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter on Sport For Life!

Being healthy and active for life is something that Canadians truly care about and this is why we support the Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) movement. We embrace terms such as physical literacy with its focus on learning fundamental movement and sport skills which build confidence and in turn encourage physical activity later in life. We must remember to keep sports and physical activity fun. Competing to win should come second to learning the skills of the game. Children should also be exposed to a variety of sports to keep their sporting experience enjoyable and to continue being active into adulthood. What Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is showing us is that a well planned practice, training, competition and recovery regime will ensure optimum development and promote a positive sport experience.

Could The Month Of Your Birth Shape Your Sporting Destiny?

Are children born later in the sporting calendar year missing out on selection and development opportunities?

Children are frequently grouped by age for school or sport activities in order to control for the effects of intellectual and physical development. As well, youth sport programs use cutoff dates to ensure that children will receive age appropriate instruction and to allow for fair competition. However, developmental differences can be significant when groupings are limited to one year categories.

Therefore, the child born in January is almost a full year older than the child born in December of the same year, and the outcome of this advantage has been coined the Relative Age Effect (RAE). Of course, relative age is less important in combative sports since weight classes actually equalize the field.

And since relative age plays an important role in coaching decisions, it makes you wonder, who is getting left behind when it comes to selecting kids for your team? The bigger, stronger, more mature child makes the team. The smaller guy is forced out of the sport at times, so RAE is indeed affecting opportunities for the younger child.

Therefore birth month is very important in sporting success. For younger children born later in the year, they are not as likely to have as much fun because they can’t compete on a level playing field. They become discouraged at the ever-growing gap between themselves and the other kids who are more mature and physically larger, and hence, they give up.

But if the younger child is able to hang in there and endure the gap, research shows that the late bloomers are the real champions and their perseverance pays off!

If you are interested in further information on the topic please contact SIRC or check out our online resources.

Discussion on Relative Age Affect will continue at the Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) Workshop taking place in Ottawa February 19-20, 2011 at the Delta Ottawa City Centre (Formerly Crowne Plaza), come visit the SIRC mobile Resource Centre in the Victoria Room.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eating Well on a Budget?

Many of us have made resolutions to eat healthier in the New Year. But with rising costs and tighter finances is it possible to eat well on a budget? What are the ways that we can shave a few dollars off the weekly grocery bill? The following tips have been suggested as ways to help you eat better and help manage costs.
  • Eat at home more often.
  • Plan meals in advance to avoid last minute less healthy “quick food” choices.
  • Incorporate ingredients already located in your fridge, freezer and cupboards.
  • Plan meals around weekly store specials.
  • Stock up on sale items if space allows.
  • Use coupons only for items that you already buy.
  • Add more meatless meals. Meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal, but make sure to balance nutrients just the same.
  • Use leftovers to save time and money.
  • Eat before you go shopping, it helps prevent those impulse buys.
  • Shop on the perimeter of the store to fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins and dairy.
  • Look for bargains near the ends of aisles, and on upper and lower shelves. Items on eye level are usually more expensive.
  • Compare unit prices of items to determine cost per item.
  • Make your own single serving meals and snacks.
These are just a few of the ways that you can focus on eating healthier while managing costs. Pick a few and see how they fit into your routines. Incorporating small changes in your lifestyle until they become habits are a simple way to adopting a healthier lifestyle.

For more information on nutrition or other topics check out SIRC’s online resources.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nutrition Information

A recent article coming into the SIRC Collection discusses the importance of evaluating the information that you are finding on the web especially when passing it along to others. It reminds us that we must provide information in a way that encourages the consultation with experts in the appropriate field of interest. In this case, a panel of two dietitians and two fitness professionals identify “go-to” websites for nutritional guidance. Their top four websites include:
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Pyramid for personalized eating plans and interactive planning and assessment tools.
  • Eat Right from the American Dietetic Association provides science-based food and nutrition information.
  • The T. Colin Campbell Foundation which is a nonprofit organization providing scientific and health information to the public, without influence from industry or commercial interests.
  • which provides independent test results and information to help evaluate health, wellness and nutrition products.
In Canada we can consult the Dieticians of Canada for food and nutrition information.

So next time you are looking for information on any topic, make sure you consider the source when evaluating what you find.

Resource Reference:
Todd Webster, Sandy (2010). Experts Recommend Top Websites for Nutrition Guidance. IDEA Fitness Journal, 7(10), 58.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Get Out & Enjoy Winter!

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter on getting out & enjoying winter!

Welcome to 2011! Winter is one of the best seasons to enjoy all the wonders Canada has to offer. Whether you like skiing or snowshoeing, skating or tobogganing, getting outside and being active will make you feel better both physically and mentally. If you need a little motivation to break away from the comfy warm couch, grab a friend and set some goals. Remember that a little prep work before you earn your rosy cheeks will ensure your muscles are ready, you’re dressed properly and your equipment gives you maximum enjoyment. Have fun outside and think about how great you’ll feel after that workout!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SIRC is going to Live Right Now!

This morning SIRC joined ParticipACTION and CBC’s Live Right Now program. The goal of this six month program is to change the health of the nation and we have decided to join. With thousands of sport and fitness publications at our fingertips we have made a commitment to actively engage ourselves in living a healthy lifestyle.

You may have heard the SIRC staff talking about our mini office challenges. This started last fall with the SIRC Fitness Challenge that expanded to include Muscular Monday, Topple Over Tuesday, Wall Sit Wednesday, Plank-Out Thursday, and Flex Friday. As of January we will continue this as well as begin the 100 Day Challenge where we plan on doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 100 days straight. So if it takes 21 days to form a habit by the time that we’re through physical fitness will be well incorporated into our lifestyles.

We love the Live Right Now Challenges. So far we’ve completed the “Take the Body Age Test” (and discovered most in the SIRC office range from 10 to 29 years old) as well as pledged to bring our lunch every day, lose 65 lbs, eat three meals a day, and go for walk breaks. Sound like fun? Join the SIRC (Sport Information Resource Centre) and Friends group. It’s going to be great!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eliminate Procrastination in the New Year!

Procrastination: putting off the important, essential tasks we need to do today and filling our time with distractions.

It’s a new year. Resolutions have been made and in some cases may already be broken however it’s only January 4th. You can get back on track! Don’t let procrastination get the better of you. It doesn’t matter whether you are an elite or recreational athlete, coach, event planner or office administrator; everyone procrastinates. What are you going to do about it in 2011?

An important thing to understand is why people procrastinate. The most common reasons are:
  • Task is too difficult
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Perfectionism
  • Time management
Can you see yourself in this list? Perhaps you are a combination of several listed above. That’s ok! Let’s consider ways to overcome procrastination.
  • Recognize that you are procrastinating
  • Break a task into smaller achievable goals.
  • Adopt the “15-minute plan” by committing 15 minutes a day to the project you are putting off
  • Recruit the support of friends and family
  • Reward yourself
Let 2011 be the year to overcome procrastination. Good luck making 2011 the most rewarding yet!

Additional Resources on Procrastination:
Association of Applied Sport Psychology: Procrastination and Student Athletes
Procrastination Research Group
Psychology Today: Procrastination
Savec, John. (2010) “Beating Procrastination.” IDEA Fitness Journal. July-Aug. p.97-101. (Available in SIRC Collection)