Thursday, July 28, 2011

Staying Safe In and On the Water

The Civic long weekend is just around the corner in Canada and that means friends, family and fun! Everyone loves to partake in a variety of events and activities, which may include having fun in the water, especially since swimming and boating are great ways to beat the heat, that’s for sure. Canada is a country that is defined by water, and water requires the ultimate respect. Playing in and around water can appear to be harmless, however, it is imperative to make sure water safety is a top priority for adults and children alike. Being around water and learning to swim is second nature to many Canadians and is part of the Canadian way of life. But as the make-up of Canada continues to evolve and change, there is segment of the population of New Canadians who arrive later in life, and therefore may not be as familiar with the water and the necessity for crucial safety precautions when around it. As published in the Globe and Mail just a few days ago, a study commissioned by the Lifesaving Society found that 31% of New Canadians, especially those who have been living in Canada for less than five years, are at a higher risk of having a water-related accident when swimming or boating. Having said that, the report also reports that Canadian children under the age of five (who are fearless yet lack skill), and adult men between 18 and 49 (higher risk-takers) are at the highest risk of having a water-related mishap.

Knowing how to play safe in and around the water is not only an essential skill to have, it will contribute to safe and positive experiences in our lakes, rivers and pools. A few tips to guarantee water safety for children and adults include:

• Know how to swim
• Buddy up
• Know your limits
• Swim in safe areas only
• Do not dive into unknown areas
• Do not consume alcohol and swim

If boating is on the agenda, along with the tips above, make sure to:

• Know the weather forecast
• Wear a personal floatation device
• Know the rules of the water

For more information on water safety, please visit SIRC.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Canadians Have New Opportunties

Statistics show that using sport is one of the most effective and fastest ways that New Canadians can assimilate into Canadian society. SIRC recently attended a “Sport and Diversity” session hosted by SPORT4ONTARIO at the Sport Alliance Building in Toronto, where three organizations presented on how they are expanding their services to insure that there are programs directed towards assisting New Canadians integrate into the rich Canadian sporting community.

The Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) was awarded a grant from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and the Strategic Partnership Initiatives Youth Opportunities Program (SPIYOP). They are hosting 10 Coach Education For Newcomer Youth workshops in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for newly landed Canadians ages 15-24, who are not currently attending school. The program provides an exceptional education in fair play, responsibility and safety, and child development phases, and each participant receives a coach workbook and resources, as well as a trained NCCP status in the national database. A great start to a new coaching life.

The Toronto Sports Council (TSC) was awarded a grant from True Sport to help increase the number of trained and certified youth sport leaders in the Jane-Finch communities in north Toronto. As a result, the communities will have a greater capacity to provide high quality sport programming opportunities for school age children.

And since soccer is such a global sport, most New Canadians arrive in Canada with a great amount of passion for the game already. The Ontario Soccer Association’s (OSA) “Soccer and Settlement” project connects New Canadians with organized, sanctioned soccer groups in specified communities and by doing so, they are linking communities and developing partnerships with other organizations that will serve to develop coach, referee and volunteer leaders for the future. Currently partnered with the Catholic Immigration Centre (CIC) which works with newcomers in the Ottawa area, they are connecting 66 soccer clubs in the nation’s capital with the OSA’s initiatives. The OSA is also creating a coaching program to train adult newcomers to coach or referee the game.

For more information on sporting programs for New Canadians, please visit SIRC.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Calories Galore!

Nowhere is the necessity of an efficient fuel energy system in an endurance sport more evident than with the cyclists in the Tour de France who ride up to 180km per stage for 21 stages (with only one day of rest) often through some of the most challenging terrains in the world. The Pyrenees, the Alps – mountain roads just don’t get any tougher or higher. At rest, the caloric energy required for a 75kg man to sustain life is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1500-2000 calories. Taking into consideration that cycling is a highly efficient sporting activity with respect to moving a body, Tour cyclists use up 25-30 calories per km (0.3-0.4 calories per km per kg of body mass) – this translates to an average of over 4000 calories per day at a minimum. That’s a total of more than 5500 calories of energy input per day just to physically survive a stage in the Tour (some cyclists have been known to eat as many as 9000 calories per day!)

To prevent hypoglycemia (low glycogen) otherwise known as the dreaded “bonk”, Tour rules do permit cyclists to eat from food bags during the race, otherwise there just would not be enough waking hours in the day for the cyclists to consume all these calories. Since eating cheeseburgers or chocolate bars all day is not practical, the science of feeding a Tour cyclist is mandatory. Breakfast, three to four hours prior to the starting time, will include highly digestible carbohydrates such as cereal, rice and pasta. A few hours before a stage start, cyclists will consume a slow-release carbohydrate liquid mix bringing their pre-race caloric count to 1000. While burning up to 900 calories an hour, they can only still process approximately 300 calories per hour. Throughout the ride cyclists must stay hydrated and will also consume a few boxes of fast energy bars and gels, while Panini’s are popular for lunch while still on the bike as they provide sustenance. Post race recovery drinks and containers of white rice and egg dishes provide proteins necessary to quicken muscle repair, followed by a balanced dinner binge that not only aids in full muscle glycogen recovery but starts loading for the energy system for the next day.

For more information on fueling to feed the endurance athlete, please visit SIRC.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is Breakfast for Champions?

Breakfast. Yup, it’s still the most important meal of the day. Nothing has changed. And no matter how many days, years and decades we hear this message, there is still a very large segment of the population who runs out the door each day without it! Even elite athletes! Apparently, the culprit is “time.” Everyone blames “time.”

The literal meaning of “breakfast” is to “break a fast”. This mini-fast occurs between the time you go to bed and the time you get up. The empty stomach in the morning needs fuel to start the body engine, if just to get through a normal day productively and efficiently. Ask the body to do more by adding physical activity or a sports practice or competition to its’ day, and now the importance of breakfast is of vital significance.

Nutritional experts say that for kids, breakfast is imperative, so that they have essential fuel for their growing and active bodies and brains; and for adults, it kick starts the metabolism. Athletes and physically active individuals who miss breakfast will lack energy for high-quality workouts. An active teenage or adult athlete requires more carbohydrates, protein, fat and water than the non-athlete in order to achieve peak athletic performance.

Athletes , parents and coaches are becoming more and more aware of the fundamental role diet plays in sporting success and while natural talent, hard work and determination are all essential, breakfast may not produce the champion, but it sure does lay the proper groundwork for the champion to be produced.

Contact SIRC for more information on sport nutrition!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In the World Class Swim of Things

The 2011 FINA World Championships starts this weekend in Shanghai, China. With 2220 athletes participating, there will be a record numbers of countries entered at 181, up from the 172 countries that competed in Rome in 2009. Team Canada is sending 18 men and 21 women, joined by a coaching staff of 12.

The 16 days of aquatic competition includes 40 finals in Swimming (24-31 July), 10 in Diving (16-24 July), 7 in Synchronized Swimming (17-23 July), 6 in Open Water Swimming (19-23 July) and 2 in Water Polo (17-30 July).

An architectural wonder located on the east side of the Huangpu River, these World Championships are being held in the newly constructed Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (renamed from Shanghai Aquatics Sports Center). Only a test event on March 25, 2011 has gone before it. This swimming venue sensation rivals the Water Cube in Beijing (host venue of the 2008 Olympic Games) and is designed to look like a wave crashing into a beach on the shore of the lake. It is designed to make use of natural light and natural ventilation, which serves to eliminate the noxious lights and chlorine odors that so often are present in most natatoriums around the world. There is an indoor arena seating 18,000 people, an indoor swimming pool seating 5,000, and an outdoor swimming pool that seats 5,000. Of course, all the needs of the swimmers are being met to produce outstanding performances, but the fans and media have not been left out either. An under-seat air conditioning system will keep the fans cool, while an impressive amount of dedicated space and state-of-the art technology supports the press centre.

Just one year before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, these FINA World Championships, will be the biggest showdown between the world’s best swimmers, and therefore one of the most vital competitions in the swimming calendar.

Contact SIRC for more information on swimming!

SIRC is at the 2011 CASEM Conference in Newfoundland!

by Brandie Adams, SIRC Reference Librarian
onsite at the CASEM Conference 2011

Today is the first official day of the Canadian Academy of Sport & Exercise Medicine CASEM Conference in St. John’s Newfoundland. Pre-conference activity has been going on since Monday with the Team Physician and Anti-Doping sessions. The SIRC Anti-Doping newsletter went out yesterday and there has been lots of positive buzz with it, which is great to hear! Last night was the reception to kick things off. There are lots of familiar faces and some new ones who stopped by to say hello and ask questions so it is shaping up to be an exciting few days.

Social media is on the agenda as CASEM attendees are embracing Twitter and Facebook. Several physicians have mentions retweeting and forwarding SIRC Newsletters, like the special issue on Lightning in June.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Staying Cool When the Heat (and Humidity) is On!

Yes, these are the dog days of summer. The days Canadians long for in mid January. But now that they are here, somehow we find ourselves suffering in oppressive humidity and extreme temperatures.

But humidity can do more than make you feel tired, clammy and have a bad hair day. It can affect sports performances and just about any outdoor physical activity and how the body attempts to cool itself. When the air is saturated with water vapor, sweat from the body won’t evaporate as well as it would in lower humidity, and mostly just falls to the ground before it has a chance to cool the skin. Since the body doesn’t get any cooler, the body continues sweating. Not only can this increased demand on the thermoregulatory and cardiovascular systems of the human body potentially cause a decline in performance, this also leads to dangerous levels of dehydration because of it.

The human body uses evaporative cooling as the primary mechanism to regulate temperature. Since heat production during exercise can be as high as 15- 20 times that compared to rest, the body needs to find an efficient way to dissipate this heat and maintain a stable temperature between 36.5 and 37.5 °C.

A body that is working out in the heat and humidity can expect a typical sweat rate 1.0 – 2.5 litres per hour and in extreme temperatures and humidity, can expect rates of over 2.5 litres per hour. Developing some strategies to thermoregulate the body will decrease the risk of serious heat load.

  • Stay hydrated. Increase volume intake into the body.
  • If possible, take advantage of different times of the day to work out, in order to avoid high heat and humidity.
  • Acclimate to the heat by regular exposure to hot environments.
  • Consume adequate sodium.
  • Minimize the amount of clothing worn so that it doesn’t produce an insulator effect on the skin.

The best way to know before you go is to learn about the Air Quality Heat Index (AQHI) and what it all means so that judgments and decisions on how to regulate the exercising body when the air quality is poor, can be made.

Visit these articles on air quality for more information.

Outdoor Exercise and Air Quality
Air Pollution and Exercise
SIRC Newsletter – Weather

For more information on heat and humidity, please visit SIRC.

Friday, July 8, 2011

And the winner is ... !

The city of PyeongChang, Korea was awarded the opportunity of hosting the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games this week over Munich Germany, and Annecy, France. Needing 48 votes from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members for the victory, PyeongChang received 63 of the 95 votes cast in the first round of voting (Munich received 25 and Annecy seven.) It was the first time an Olympic bid race with more than two finalists was decided in the first round since 1995, when Salt Lake City defeated three other bid candidates to win the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

This was PyeongChang’s third consecutive bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, having lost narrowly to Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014) previously. It will be the first Winter Games in South Korea, and the nation’s second Olympics after having hosted the 1988 Olympic Games in the capital city of Seoul. PyeongChang will be the first city in Asia, outside Japan, to ever host the Olympic Winter Games. Japan twice hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 (Sapporo) and again in 1998 (Nagano).

Just 180km east of Seoul and in the Taebaek Mountains, PyeongChang, campaigned on the theme of "New Horizons," and how that it deserved to win on a third try. And win they did! There is no doubt that PyeongChang will become the new world class travel destination for winter sports.

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be held from 9 through to 24 February 2018.

For more information on the Olympic Games, please visit SIRC.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Soccer ... Football. Potato ... Tomato!

Soccer ... Football, no matter what you call it, it’s the most popular sport played on this planet earth.

The International Federation of Association Football (aka Fédération Internationale de Football Association) commonly referred to as FIFA, hopes that the sixth edition of the Women’s World Cup currently going on in Germany, will continue to boost the popularity of women playing the sport somewhere, anywhere, close to the men’s version. Contested every four years, the first Women's World Cup tournament, named the Women's World Championship, was held in 1991 (with 12 teams), 61 years after the men's first FIFA World Cup tournament in 1930. The women’s tournament currently consists of 16 teams that compete over a course of four weeks, where the men’s tourney has 32 teams at the start line.

Despite Team Canada’s current standings in the 2011 tournament, and knowing that they didn’t play to their full potential to get them out of their Group, they did have that momentous opener against Germany in front of the sold-out hometown crowd of close to 74,000. Still say women’s football isn’t popular? And what about the true grit and determination of Canadian striker Christine Sinclair who had her nose broken only to come out and score Canada’s only goal of that game on a free kick, making her the first woman to score against Germany (the two-time defending champions) at a World Cup for almost 900 minutes of play?

In Canada, there was a surge in youth participation for girls throughout the 1980s, and by 1995 Canada had qualified for the Women’s World Cup tournament. Great sporting opportunities for youth continues to show that with these opportunities comes advancement, especially in the area of women’s sport. But it takes time. With Canada hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup, just imagine what this event will do for women’s football participation in Canada.
For more information on soccer contact SIRC!

Additional Resource:
Canadian Soccer Association