Τρίτη, 31 Αύγουστος 2010 16:05

Sport can be Dangerous to your Health

Have you noticed that ever since the Government began promoting sport for health there has been a new industry growing in parallel -  Sports Medicine. Have you ever wondered why, if sport is so healthy as is claimed?

Maybe it suggests that sport is not healthy!

If there is a need for a whole new industry then does it suggest something? Either the proposition was incorrect in the first place or something has gone wrong.

My take on it is that we try too hard! If you want to be world champion, fine, go ahead and forget about caring for your body until your career is over. But other than that, take care with your body - you will have only this one for the rest of your life. Learn how to do your sport in the most body-efficient way; use the best equipment that you can afford; join a good class or work with a competent trainer. And make sure you warm up and cool down.

My perspective is as a body therapist and not as a sports trainer so I do have a particular opinion. Your trainer may well make different suggestions to you, he or she is after something different to me.

Again, I am not a sports expert but a warm-up routine should focus on ALL of your body and not just the bits you are about to use and focus mainly on movement. When you cool down, you can do more stretches but during this time and throughout your sessions do not overstretch. Stretching is quite a science so don't just dive in there; take it easy and stretch gently into a feeling of slight resistance and rest there for a while, at least 30 seconds. Then when that feels comfortable you can gently increase your stretch.

Every sport that I can think of is unbalanced in its body use such as left-right or top-bottom or accentuating one movement or even one limb. An idea to help retain your balance for normal everyday life is to practice your sport the other way round! So make that golf swing as if you were the other handed or run the hurdles taking off with the other leg. You will be amazed at how difficult this often is.

For me as a therapist, the boring sounding ‘moderation’ is your watchword. A brisk walk most days is good and there are many tricks you can use to help such as buying a dog (make sure it can walk at heel so it doesn’t slow you down or pull you). Walk to the next bus stop or get off earlier (may save you a fare as well); walk to the shops (use local ones). Gym work can be done but focus on repetitions rather than gross weight. If you are going to do a sport then maybe do another to balance muscle usage, so you get a balance of body use throughout.

What happens when you exercise madly is the creation of endorphins (which strictly speaking were designed in for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response) which numb the pain and give you a high. At the same time overuse of muscle creates lactic acid which muscle cannot metabolise. (Fortunately the specialised muscle of the heart can.) So the lactic acid must be carried by the blood, where it may encourage plaque and clotting, to the liver which in its turn is expected to work harder. So exercise can really put a strain on your body chemistry. Doing that sometimes is not of course all bad but sustained overload WILL affect your body negatively in the long term.

And in addition there is the mechanical impact of stress on your body with many sports. Take a look at the Harvard University website (at http://barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/index.html) et al to see their study on the impact of running. They have made no conclusion about whether barefoot running is better than running in modern running shoes but the research is well worth a look.


And to all you couch potatoes ...

who are cheering loudly, you can wipe the smug smile off your face as too much sloth also creates lactic acid. So there!

We are meant to move, in fact there is no such thing as a still body - unless it's dead!

So happy moving to all of you.

And, just to make my point, this is from the Daily Telegraph:

By Stephen Adams    (Published: 31 Aug 2010)

Scientists at the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) believe that just 45 minutes of moderate exercise a day could stop 5,500 cases of breast cancer developing in Britain annually.

Similarly, at least 4,600 cases of bowel cancer could be prevented if people exercised for 30 minutes daily.

That would cut down the cases of both types of cancer by 12 per cent.

A proportional drop in mortality rates from the diseases would cut deaths from breast cancer by 1,500 and from bowel cancer by 1,900 annually.

The charity is pressing the link because it believes only a third of people know that exercise has a direct effect on cutting the risk of getting cancer, Britain's second biggest killer.

Dr Rachel Thompson, deputy head of science for WCRF, stressed that exercising did not have to mean sweating away in a gym every day.

Alongside brisk walking, other activities that would count include cycling or swimming at a leisurely pace, dancing, gardening and vacuuming combined with other housework

She said: "There is now very strong evidence that being physically active is important for cancer prevention. Even relatively modest increases in activity levels could prevent thousands of cancer cases in the UK every year.

"These figures also show you do not have to go to the gym every day to benefit. You can reduce your cancer risk just by making small changes and this is highlighted by the fact that so many cancer cases could be prevented through something as simple as brisk walking."

"By taking up walking as a hobby or even walking to the shops instead of taking the bus or car, people can make a real difference to their health."

Exercise has a preventative effect on its own but also works in another way because people who are regularly active are less likely to be overweight, which is an important cancer risk factor.

Dr Thompson said that physical activity also reduced the risk of developing endometrial cancer, or cancer of the lining of the womb as it is also called.

The recommendations come days after a study published in the British Medical Journal found that the incidence of weight-loss surgery has risen ten-fold in just seven years.

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1 Comment

  • Comment Link Sally Pickard Τετάρτη, 01 Σεπτέμβριος 2010 09:17 posted by Sally Pickard

    I think this is interesting, and I certainly know of many joggers who collect strained ankles and knees - and hips.
    I wonder if it's more about being trained properly - being shown how to exercise rather than just trundling off down the road in ill-fitting trainers which aren't even designed for jogging!

    Trouble is, personal trainers are expensive. Hey! maybe you could give talks to local groups of people who like to exercise privately but who can't afford gyms and such-like? You could put an ad in the local paper, maybe...

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