Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

SIRC would like to wish you all the best for the holiday season.  May your New Year be filled with health, happiness and energy to chase your dreams!

SIRC Holiday Hours
The SIRC office will be closed for the holiday season from Monday, December 24, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Regular business hours will resume on Wednesday January 2, 2013.

For the French version of our Christmas card, click here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Staying Active over the Holidays

SIRC Newsletter now available online: Staying Active over the Holidays

This time of year means visiting with family and friends, attending holiday parties and giving gifts, so it can be difficult for most of us to stay active during the holidays. The good news is that staying active doesn’t have to be that hard; recruiting your friends and family can increase the fun, add motivation and create new traditions that can carry on from year to year. A good idea is to come up with alternatives to your regular workout and have fun with it!

Read more:

Coaching and the passion for life-long learning

The coaching profession is constantly changing and coaches at every level need to know more than just the basics to ensure success in the field.  This is why education and further professional development such as conferences, workshops, and mentoring are vital to a coaches career path. Coaching should be a profession where the opportunity for continuous learning should never be passed up.

Career-long learning is essential for coaches to stay relevant and up-to-date on their sport and its practices. Gaining years of experience as a coach is essential to progress in terms of professional development but if career-long learning is not on the radar, it can mean passing up chances for you and your athletes to grow. Here are some ideas on how to expand your knowledge:
  1. Try mentoring - Mentoring can be highly effective in coach development since it can expand your knowledge base by exposing you to a variety of styles, skills and techniques learned by others.
  2. Reflective practice - There is always room for improvement!  During practice or even competition, coaches can reflect on their own performance, rethink their actions, and learn from the experience.  If taking a notebook along to write down your ideas for change helps you out, take one along.
  3. Look for educational opportunities - Sign yourself up to meet new people and hear different perspectives, whether it's a webinar, conference, workshop or joining an association; surround yourself with others in your field.
A lot of research has been done on how people learn and it shows that experience and working with or observing others is the most influential method of developing your knowledge base. A coach who seeks opportunities for development, works with others, and develops a reflective practice could easily be on their way to being a high-level practitioner capable of producing high-level performers.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Callary B, Werthner P. Exploring the Learning Environment of Women Coaches. Canadian Journal For Women In Coaching. July 2011;11(3):1-7.
2. Cushion C, Armour K, Jones R. Coach education and continuing professional development: experience and learning to coach. Quest (00336297). August 2003;55(3):215-230.
3. Nash C, Sproule J, Callan M, McDonald K, Cassidy T. Career Development of Expert Coaches. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. March 2009;4(1):121-138.
4. Norman L. Developing female coaches: strategies from women themselves. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Health, Sport & Physical Education. December 2012;3(3):227-238.
5. Thibert H. Developing Your Coaching Philosophy. Olympic Coach. Fall2008 2008;20(4):24-26.
6. Werthner P, Trudel P. Investigating the Idiosyncratic Learning Paths of Elite Canadian Coaches. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. September 2009;4(3):433-449.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Exercise and bone health

It is well known that regular exercise is excellent for your heart, health and well-being. There is also plenty of evidence that proves that regular exercise is essential in warding off various health-related issues; what's not as well known is that people who perform non-weight bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming as their sole method of exercise could be putting themselves at risk for osteoporosis.
Bone is living tissue that responds to loads placed on it. If you perform  non-weight bearing exercises your bones won't retain their density like they would with a weight bearing exercise. If cycling or swimming is currently your only form of exercise, you can be proactive in preventing the disease by adding a little variation in your training.
A common misconception is that osteoporosis is a disease that is limited to aging women since low estrogen causes bone deterioration, in fact it can affect men as well. Care should be taken for young people in particular, since bones keep growing and do not reach peak density until the age of 30.

For those of you that have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it doesn't mean you have to stop moving. Instead, perform exercises that strengthen the back, core and hip, and ensure that you supplement your routine with alternate workouts. Before you run out and buy calcium supplements or change your training schedule, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor for their recommendations first.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Campion F, NeviII A, MedeIIi J, et al. Bone Status in Professional Cyclists. International Journal Of Sports Medicine. July 2010;31(7):511-515.
2. Cedaro R. Osteroprorosis And Cycling. Triathlon & Multi Sport Magazine. July 2, 2012;15(7):76-78.
3. CYCLISTS AT RISK FOR OSTEOPOROSIS. IDEA Fitness Journal. July 2009;6(7):12.
4. Giles M. Bone strength matters. Bicycling Australia. May 2006;(139):52-54.
5. Hamilton A. Cycling health: a bone of contention. Cycling Weekly. September 30, 2010;:50-51.
6. Hawkins K. Cycling: Bad for the Bones?. Bicycle Paper. August 2012;41(6):1-5.
7. Nichols J, Rauh M. LONGITUDINAL CHANGES IN BONE MINERAL DENSITY IN MALE MASTER CYCLISTS AND NONATHLETES. Journal Of Strength & Conditioning Research (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). March 2011;25(3):727-734.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sports and your Smile

SIRC Newsletter now available online: Sports and your Smile

Mouthguards are a top priority as sport equipment; they protect not just the teeth, but the lips, cheeks and tongue. The statistics say that up to 40% of sport-related injuries involve the face in some way so it’s worth it to invest in the proper equipment. Custom-fit face masks and/or mouthguards are essential in preventing the facial injuries that are so common in sport. Helmets and face masks can also help protect athletes from head and neck injuries such as jaw fractures and concussions.

Read more:

Cross Training for the Winter Season

Cross training, whether it's done as whole other sport or alternate activity can be a fantastic mental and physical break from your regular training. Splitting up your daily routine with weight-lifting, spinning or swimming for example, gives you a whole new set of skills to focus on and inserts you into a fresh atmosphere with a different group of people.

A big benefit of cross training is that it tends to work muscle groups that get underutilized if you only stick to one sport. Strengthening these muscles can improve your training in other areas like balance and form.  As a new approach to an athlete’s workout routine, cross-training can also increase power, add flexibility, build stability, and increase motivation.

Look at cross training as a way to explore other areas of exercise and fitness. You'll get the opportunity to meet new people, learn a new discipline and train your body at the same time. Some winter friendly ideas are:
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Spinning
  • Swimming (or deep water runs)
  • Dance classes
  • Yoga or Pilates
  • Resistance training
  • Dodgeball
  • Martial arts class
  • Any winter sport - cross country skiing, hockey, curling or skating clubs are numerous and easy to join
Once you step away from your chosen sport for a while you'll be able to return to it with a different perspective. You may find that you are more enthusiastic and have a greater appreciation for your training. Keep in mind that cross training doesn't need to be just a winter event, incorporating some alternate exercises will help to prevent burn out and overuse injuries as well. 

References from the SIRC Collection:  

1. Arseneau L. Using cycling for cross training. Coaches Plan/Plan Du Coach. 2010 2009;16(4):14.
2. Deep Water Running for Injured Runners. Athletic Therapy Today. March 2007;12(2):8-10.
3. Rosania J. CROSS TRAINING. Swimming World. July 2007;48(7):30-31.
4. JOUBERT D, ODEN G, ESTES B. The Effects of Elliptical Cross Training on VO2max in Recently Trained Runners. International Journal Of Exercise Science. January 2011;4(1):243-251.
5. Krause P. The Benefits of Cross-Training. AMAA Journal. Spring2009 2009;22(2):9-16.
6. Poynton E. Stress Fractures. Modern Athlete & Coach. January 2011;49(1):16-17.
8. Vleck V, Alves F. Cross-training and injury risk in British Olympic distance triathletes. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. April 2011;45(4):382.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Does protein aid recovery?

In recent years, post-exercise nutrition has evolved into an important part of an athlete's training regimen. Athletes of all ages, abilities and skill levels are commonly adopting some sort of post-exercise nutrition to improve performance and enhance the recovery process.  Endurance athletes know that carbohydrates are essential for recovery, but what they may not know is that combining it with protein may have some additional benefits.

While protein and carbohydrates have their own distinct functions, together they work to create an anabolic state within the body that can help athletes recover faster.

Recent studies have shown that:
  • Ingestion of small amounts of dietary protein 5 or 6 times daily might support muscle protein synthesis throughout the day.
  • Consuming post-exercise carbohydrate and protein within 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to increase the insulin response in the body resulting in more stored glycogen.
  • Recovery significantly improved four hours after intense exercise when an athlete consumed a protein and carbohydrate drink.
  • A 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein is optimal (three-four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein).
  • Protein and carbohydrate consumption may be of particular benefit to athletes who are involved in multiple training or competition sessions.
Athletes should be able to get the required amount of protein for their needs by talking to a registered dietitian and altering their diets to match their training. Some good examples of protein to add to your diet are: milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish, assorted beans, peas lentils and grains. 

Achieving a balance between training, competition stresses and recovery is very important for the success of any athlete. Post-exercise nutrition is an essential part of any training program and consuming the proper nutrients after extensive training kick starts the restoration of muscle glycogen and initiates the recovery process.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Beelen M, Burke L, Gibaia M, Van Loon L. Nutritional Strategies to Promote Postexercise Recovery. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. December 2010;20(6):515-532.
3. Coyle C, Donne B, Mahony N. Effects of Carbohydrate-Protein Ingestion Post-Resistance Training in Male Rugby Players. International Journal Of Exercise Science. January 2012;5(1):39-49. 
4. PROTEIN MISCONCEPTIONS: Details on misconceptions regarding protein supplementation-and where they come from. Journal Of Pure Power. January 2009;4(1):48-52.
5. Res P, Groen B, Van Loon L, et al. Protein Ingestion before Sleep Improves Postexercise Overnight Recovery. Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise. August 2012;44(8):1560-1569.
6. Williams M. Protein Supplementation and Endurance Exercise. Marathon & Beyond. November 2012;16(6):172-173.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fuel your body for winter

This time of year life gets tends to get a little busier and with all the events during the holiday season it's easy to let good nutrition habits fall to the wayside. The transition to colder, darker days has an impact on our bodies, especially when trying to keep up with work and family, as well as trying to stay healthy and fit. As the weather gets colder it's good to remember that you don't need to eat more, just differently.

Vitamin D - Statistics Canada found that more than 1.1 million Canadians are Vitamin D deficient which is low enough to cause nutritional rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. While you can get Vitamin D through foods like milk, egg yolks and fish with bones, it's important to spend some time in the sun as well. If you are unable to get the required amount of Vitamin D through the above methods, supplements are an option, although it's a good idea to talk to your doctor first.

Omega 3's - For those Canadians that suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), nutrition experts recommend introducing  Omega-3 fats in your diet since these have been shown to relieve symptoms of mild depression. Salmon, walnuts and flax seeds are all good sources of Omega-3 fats.

Include seasonal vegetables - Seasonal vegetables can be great sources of anti-oxidants, Vitamin C, folic acid, among others.  Some of the super stars include winter squash, red bell peppers, oranges, collard greens and other dark leafy vegetables.

Zinc and Vitamin E - Whole nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E which is a strong anti-oxidant and foods like oysters, beef, turkey, ricotta cheese and beans all contain zinc which helps your boost your immune system.

Eating out regularly is very accessible nowadays, especially during the holiday season and when done occasionally, it can be a nice change from eating at home. However, starting from scratch with as many natural and seasonal ingredients as possible is your best option. With a little planning, your winter nutrition should keep you fit, happy and healthy all the way to spring.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Burke L. Nutrition for Winter Sports: An Interview with Sports Dietitian Susie Parker-Simmons. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. October 2005;15(5):567.
2. Burrell S. Getting Through the Tough Winter Months. Bicycling Australia. May 2008;(151):88-89.
3. Clark N. Winter Nutrition—Fueling for Cold Weather Exercise. ACSM Fit Society Page. Winter2012 2012;:8-9.
4. Cort M. Nutrition: AVOID TIPPING THE SCALES DURING WINTER. Modern Athlete & Coach. July 2009;47(3):17-18.
5. Meyer N, Manore M, Helle C. Nutrition for winter sports. Journal Of Sports Sciences. December 2, 2011;29:S127-S136.
6. The role of vitamins and dietary-based metabolites of vitamin D in prevention of vitamin D deficiency. Food & Nutrition Research. January 2012;56:1-8.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Walking on pins and needles?

Nerves that get stuck and irritated by swollen muscles or ligaments can be a torment to athletes.  The ultimate goal for any athlete experiencing the pain of a pinched nerve is to alleviate any pain or discomfort you are feeling, all while working within your boundaries and keeping up a comfortable range of motion.  As an athlete it's important to know what to look for so you'll have a better chance of getting the proper treatment.

The symptoms of a pinched nerve are more intense than a mild soreness and athletes experiencing the pain of a pinched nerve will often complain that the area has:
  • numbness
  • tenderness to the touch
  • pins and needles
  • burning
  • tingling
  • an aching pain that won't go away
Common nerve injuries for athletes are Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Morton's Neuroma, and Piriformis Syndrome.  Depending on the severity, a pinched nerve can be treated a number of ways, such as supportive braces, anti-inflammatory drugs, injection therapy, massage, chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy and sometimes surgery.

Once diagnosed, a good practice along with the various treatments above, is to keep moving but at a minimal or modified level.  As soon as pain will allow, it is recommended that rehabilitation starts as soon as possible.  Take the time to review your exercise regimen, revise your fitness goals to accommodate your recovery and make sure you give yourself extra time for warm ups.  Focus on building up and stretching out core muscles like the chest, back, legs and abdominals. 

Most people that have nerve injuries will improve in time with rest, heat, limited activity and anti-inflammatory drugs.  The problem can reoccur but can be avoided if you apply the treatment methods mentioned above.  It's important to keep in mind that with all pain that lasts between 7-10 days and doesn't respond to self care measures, it's a good idea to consult a doctor or physiotherapist about possible treatments.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Alshami A, Babri A, Souvlis T, Coppieters M. Strain in the Tibial and Plantar Nerves With Foot and Ankle Movements and the Influence of Adjacent Joint Positions. Journal Of Applied Biomechanics. November 2008;24(4):368-376.
2. Beare S. Pain in the Butt! Piriformis Syndrome. Sportsaider. 2004;20(4):9
3. Filley A. Piriformis syndrome: don't let it become a pain in the backside!. Peak Performance. June 15, 2009;(277):1-4.
4. Hariri S, McAdams T. Nerve Injuries About the Elbow. Clinics In Sports Medicine. October 2010;29(4):655-675.
5. Kinoshita M, Okuda r, Yasuda T, Abe M. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome in Athletes. American Journal Of Sports Medicine. August 2006;34(8):1307-1312.
6. LeRoux M. FEELING THE PINCH. American Fitness. November 2006;24(6):32-33.