Thursday, September 29, 2011

Start2Finish Battles Child Poverty

Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to being unable to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter.” (Wikipedia)

What is most troubling about poverty is that as Canadians we think that poverty refers to other people in another land.  But it is not. It is right here in Canada.  There are children living in poverty, who are at great risk and require guidance, academic and physical support, and most importantly, hope for a brighter future.
This is why organizations such as Start2Finish are stepping up to break the cycle of child poverty in Canada by providing ongoing educational support and physical activity opportunities to children at risk during their school years. By investing in their future and developing their mind, body and social health, Start2Finish is empowering poverty-stricken Canadian children to succeed, giving them opportunities they  might not otherwise have  ever had.

One of the highly successful Start2Finish programs also addresses the all-important need for physical literacy, by including “The Running & Reading Club” after-school program. This 32-week program is led by 1984 Olympian Sylvia Ruegger, the Canadian record holder in the women’s marathon, who combines enhanced literacy with physical activity to economically challenged children. The program operates directly within local inner city schools, and runs from October to June.  This unique opportunity takes children on a journey that improves their physical, mental, emotional and social health, fostering discipline, goal-setting and literacy.  They build their endurance and strength through fitness activities and also receive individualized tutoring in reading and writing. At the end of the year, the children participate in the Start2Finish 5 km “Run for Change and Reading Challenge” followed by an awards ceremony acknowledging their achievements. So far over 1,400 children, from Halifax to Vancouver, including several First Nations communities, have benefitted from this program.

For more information on child’s health and fitness, please visit SIRC.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Long Live the King of Pollen Allergies

Images of the fall season include football, the return to school, the changing of the leaves, crisp and cool days and evenings, and the autumn harvest. It’s also the time for fall allergies caused by weed pollen that will last until the first frost. Weed pollen, the fine coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants, is the origin of the allergy problem. Often referred to as the “King of Pollen Allergies,” ragweed is the number one offender for the fall season in North America.

For a human that is sensitive to pollens, there can be allergic responses any time of the year, known as “hay fever” or “allergic rhinitis” which is the inflammation of the nasal airways. With approximately one in three people having an active allergy at any given time, and knowing that at least three in four people develop an allergic reaction at least once in their lives, this is an enormous problem to a very high segment of our society. 

As an athlete, managing allergies in relation to training or activity is of high importance. Ragweed is tough as nails and grows aggressively in an assortment of places. So for someone who suffers from fall allergies associated with ragweed, pollen levels peak for this plant peak between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

The management of allergic rhinitis includes:
  • Checking your local pollen counts (go to the The Weather Network)
  • Minimize exposure to pollen
  • Consider staying indoors
  • Keep windows closed
  • Prevent and reduce symptoms by taking over-the-counter antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids
Taking these particulars into consideration when planning outdoor activities no matter if it’s a run, bike ride, or dog walk, will go a long way in safeguarding that an allergy sufferer is not outside at the peak of the potential misery.

For more information on health, fitness and the environment, please visit SIRC.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beyond The Sugar Bowl

Some people do it every day without hesitation. They grab a soda from the fridge or convenience store. There is nothing like it to satiate a thirst. But did you ever stop to evaluate just how much sugar can be found in a regular soft drink? Companies that produce some of our favourite pop flavours report that a 355-millilitre can have as much as 39 grams of sugar, a whopping nine teaspoons. Can you even imagine putting nine teaspoons of sugar into one cup of coffee or tea?

Even though we have evolved to be such a health conscious society, news releases this week brought dramatic attention to a Statistics Canada report, stating the fact that Canadians still acquire about 20 per cent of their daily calories from sugar, and they consume on average 110 grams of sugar a day, the shocking equivalent of 26 teaspoons. While soft drinks might be the guiltiest party here, and teenagers are still the top sugar consumers peaking at 41 teaspoons daily, sugar does come from other sources.

The top five sources of sugar intake for Canadians age 9 to 18 are:
  • Soft drinks: regular 14.3%
  • Milk: 14.0%
  • Fruit: 10.6%
  • Confectionery: 10.3%
  • Fruit juice: 9.1%
Sugar does come in all shapes and sizes, not just the sugar bowl. Whether it’s from our food pals fruit and milk, or it has been added to improve the taste in things like soft drinks, candy, salad dressings and syrup, the body handles naturally occurring and added sugars in the same way. The difference being that foods high in additional sugars are known to have lower nutrient densities, and therefore provide little nutritional value for the body. Foods with naturally occurring sugars tend to be higher in nutrients and of greater benefit to the body’s energy systems.

So next time you are making a decision to fuel your tank for your fitness routine, an active day, or picking a snack for your child’s lunch, try to stick to the natural sugars. They, along with other forms of glucose from carbohydrates, provide so much more efficiency in making the body go.

For more information on nutrition, please contact SIRC.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Curling for Everyone!

While fall proclaims a new school year for parents and children, it also signals the beginning of the new curling season. Canadians have always taken their curling very seriously, and can justifiably look for medals (gold preferably) when it comes to the World Championships and the Olympic Winter Games.

As leading experts of the game, an important element of continuing high levels of participation and global domination is to ensure that the grassroots level is continuously developed.  One of the great benefits to the sport of curling is that it is a highly social sport that can be enjoyed across the lifespan.

Introducing this safe and inexpensive game to children in a way that they would not otherwise have access is key to attraction and retention, building the sport’s foundation. The Capital One Rocks & Rings program is designed to introduce the Olympic sport of curling to elementary school children, by bringing the curling rink to the school gymnasium. The unique floor curling equipment provides a realistic curling experience without the need for ice!  A highly interactive program with an emphasis on fun, the program is now entering its’ fourth year reaching over 160,000 Canadian students coast to coast, a testament to the popularity of the sport. The program also employs 40 instructors across the country this season, creating jobs for youth and providing them with opportunities to develop coaching and leadership skills.

So, while the Canadian Curling Association and clubs around the country gear up for a new curling competitive and recreational season, maybe now is the time to find out if your child will become the world’s next great curler and enjoy a generation of curling fun!

Contact SIRC for more information on curling!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SIRC at AthletesCAN Forum - Recap

Jaime, SIRC's Project Coordinator, had a successful time talking with the High Performance Athletes at the AthletesCAN Forum in Edmonton this past weekend. AthletesCAN and the athletes themselves are very excited about the new partnership. Alexandra Orlando, @FreshFromAlex, tweeted, "Big shout out to @SIRCtweets for supporting Canadian Athletes and partnering with @AthletesCAN". @AthletesCAN retweeted and added,"Knowledge=Power".

Ryan Ferguson, athlete rep for Lifesaving Sport team, can't wait to start sharing this new resource with the rest of his team. The SIRC library will be able to help the athletes by providing the resources they need to find information on training, nutrition, and many other tools.

Craig Buntin, rep for the figure skating athletes, is looking forward to finding information to help him with his MBA.

SIRC is looking forward to working with and helping the athletes get to the next level!

Friday, September 16, 2011

SIRC at AthletesCAN Forum

To kick off a new partnership Jaime McLean, SIRC's Project Coordinator, is attending the AthletesCAN Forum which is being held at the Westin Edmonton Hotel, September 15-18. SIRC is onsite to help familiarize and answer questions from the AthletesCAN members.

This partnership provides our athletes with easy access to the most comprehensive competitive and training resources; a sport librarian to help answer any questions; and the latest opportunities related to careers in sport. An athlete is always searching for ways to improve; now it’s easier to find the resources and strengthen their competitive intelligence.

Drop by the booth and see how SIRC can help you!

A Different Kind of Athlete

Athletes. They come in all shapes, size and types. They are high performance, professional, amateur, recreational, college and high school. They are also industrial. Unlike the sporting athlete who is physically trained to participate in their sport, encouraged to take the appropriate amount of rest, receives professional sports medicine and nutritional advice, the industrial athlete is not. They do not have the luxury to rest for a few days after many sessions of physical labour, and most often do not receive physical support services. Injuries to the industrial athlete can cause down time in production, lost revenue, and an increase in injury claims.

The “Industrial Athlete is an industrial fitness and rehabilitation service provider for the company whose employees’ normal work day in the manual material handling (MMH) world requires repetitive carrying, lifting, twisting, turning and moving, often under extreme conditions. Companies such as Cintas, reported by Report on Business Magazine as one of Canada’s Best Employers, have incorporated a new training initiative for thousands of their employees, who wash and move products such as heavy mats and uniforms, to some 800,000 businesses across North America. In an effort to reduce the risk of injuries to their service representatives on the road, and workers in the plants and  distribution centers, Cintas uses the Industrial Athlete Sports Medicine Model program which includes daily warm ups (“Stretch and Flex” exercises), proper lifting and carrying training, rehabilitation, advice on nutrition, and how to achieve the all important work-life balance. For this effort, Cintas’ Workers’ Compensation premiums are 22 percent better than the industry average.

Companies that have implemented similar programs have found that employees are responsive to exercises and appreciate that getting their bodies ready for work makes good sense. So treat employees like professional athletes by respecting them as industrial athletes. This not only affects the bottom line financially, it also allows workers to lead safer, more comfortable lives on and off the job.

Contact SIRC for more information on athlete injury prevention!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SIRC Newsletter - Coaching

Whether you are a grassroots or high performance coach, in the boardroom or in the field, this is an excellent time to think about your coaching style. When is the last time you thought about your coaching philosophy, evaluated guidelines or policies related to your work or took a coaching education course? There are great national and provincial associations out there to help you like Coaches of Canada, Coaching Association of Canada, Coaches Association of British Columbia, and Coaches Association of Ontario. As well as upcoming events this Fall such as the SPIN Summit and the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Conference.

For more information check out the SIRC Newsletter online!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Science in Football

The fall classic of sports, football, is going full-on both north and south of the 49th parallel. Professionals in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL) are back playing in stadiums all over Canada and the United States. High school students are also starting their new seasons. Without even knowing it or stepping into the classroom, the science of football is continuing to teach a multitude of lessons on physics.

Just throwing or punting a football includes the laws of physics, the quantitative science. The nature with which an athlete can adjust to their every changing sporting environment in a highly organized mental and physical way, is a reflection of their specific skill set and physical prowess. Seldom do they even realize how they are incorporating parts of physics into their game – acceleration, velocity, force and speed. Many factors of physics affect the movement of the football and thus how the athlete needs to respond in order to successfully kick, throw or catch the football. Some factors include:
  • The vertical direction of the ball once released by the hand due to the influence of gravity
  • The rotation of the football
  • The velocity or speed at which the ball leaves his foot
  • The angle of the kick

Given the number of collisions involved in the game of football, science is also incorporated in the way in which players displace their energy while negotiating themselves into and around each other. When two bodies try to occupy the same space at the same time, the force of that collision depends on the mass and speed of the bodies in motion. The faster the hit, the more force it generates.

So next time you are watching a football game, or coaching a football team, be sure to examine that while highly skilled players seem to make it all look so easy, imagine how many little scientific calculations need to occur in that endeavor.

For information on football in Canada, contact Football Canada and come check out what is in the SIRC Collection.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Get in the Game with Sports Day in Canada

Love is in the air! Yes, sports love. The second annual Sports Day in Canada is right around the corner. On Saturday, September 17, 2011, all Canadians will come together as a sporting nation to celebrate all the good things that sport brings to their lives. There is still time for Canadians to plan and share the events they have happening in their communities for the entire week actually, from September 10 – 17, 2011. Have you registered your sports-related event yet to share in the country’s excitement!?
Hosted by CBC TV Sports, ParticipACTION and True Sport, Sports Day in Canada is a national celebration of all levels of sport across the country. From grass roots to elite sport -- local organizations, house leagues, schools, clubs, gyms, national teams – they are all encouraged to be part of the powerful and united message of the importance sports play in our lives, and how sport is woven into the very fabric of this nation.
In 2010, hundreds of thousands of Canadians tuned in to CBC TV Sports to watch the broadcast, while over one million people took part in events as participants, spectators or volunteers. Awareness statistics showed that over six million people were involved in some level with Sports Day in Canada.
It’s ok to boast. Be proud to tell the nation what is going on in your community. Get involved. Or find an event in your town and bring a friend to join in on the fun. From sports to fitness to promoting healthy lifestyles, make sure to share in the country’s celebration of this fabulous day!
Sports Day in Canada is made possible with financial support from the department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) with the Government of Canada.

For more information on sport or fitness activities, please contact SIRC.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

International Paralympic Day Celebrates Sport Unity

 The Paralympic Games are elite sport events for athletes with a disability and they focus on emphasizing the athlete's achievements rather than disability. With the movement growing dramatically since its early days, the number of participating athletes has increased in the Summer Paralympic Games from 400 representing 23 countries in Rome 1960, to 3951 from 146 countries in Beijing 2008. In just over 500 days, London, England will host the 2012 Paralympic Games. And just one day before tickets go on sale, Friday September 9, 2011, International Paralympic Day will take place in Trafalgar Square in London.

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, International Paralympic Day will enable spectators to experience, up close and personal, the inspiration, motivation, excitement, and abilities of Paralympic athletes. This globally recognized day celebrates how sport continues to unify people around the world, but also the particular challenges sport represents for persons with a disability.

This year International Paralympic Day will showcase 20 sports that are included in the 2012 Paralympic Games program, with demonstrations in power lifting, rowing, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and more. Almost 100 British and international athletes, including 100m Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius of South Africa fresh off his competition at the able-bodied IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, will be in attendance. There will also be a Guinness World Record attempt in Sitting Volleyball.

The event in London this week will be the fifth ever International Paralympic Day and the first time the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will host it outside of Germany, their home base.

The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games and in 2012, they will be hosted from August 29 through to September 9.

Contact SIRC for more information on sport for athletes with a disability!

Friday, September 2, 2011

SIRC Newsletter: High School Sport

September means back to school for most Canadians. Getting ready for the arrival of students can be a major task for teachers, coaches, and administrators. Questions may arise on anything from planning a fitness program to creating risk management strategies. As a student-athlete, knowing what coaches are looking for in tryouts or how to prepare for your university or college athletic future may be on your mind. SIRC wants to help you get prepared for the upcoming school year.

For more information check out the Newsletter online!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knowledge in Action ... Attend a Conference!

Our age of technology has brought us advances that we could have never even imagined just 20 years ago. However, while technology has increased our ability to communicate, it has also decreased face-to-face interactions as well. Thankfully in the sports world, events and competitions still happen every day of the year bringing people together to share experiences. Included in this category of people gathering in sport are the all important sport conferences. They bring components of the sporting community together into one place to share in the exchange of information, which ideally feeds back into the sports system. Spending quality time with like-minded individuals is the best way to continue to share information, expand upon ideas, develop creativity and foster stronger relationships.

Conferences come in all shapes and sizes. Some are close to home, some are not. Some are national, some are international. Some people are attendees, some are guest speakers, and some are hosts. No matter what, there is probably a conference for all areas of interest and levels in sport.

Most conferences focus on specific sports area, such as:
Conferences motivate and unite the sports world and better prepare its professionals to face the many challenges and changes in sport. Part of staying current and up-to-date on your subject matter or area of expertise means being engaged with your colleagues, and transferring knowledge amongst your peers.

When was the last time you attended a conference?

Please visit the SIRC Conference Calendar for more information on global sport conferences taking place!