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We share with you all the secret tips for better performance: how to train better, how to avoid injuries, how to recover faster and many other useful tricks.


		

Shared decision-making allows some athletes with heart condition to compete

People with a rare genetic heart condition who are currently disqualified from most sports due to a risk of sudden cardiac death may be able to safely participate in athletics as long as they are well treated and well informed, according to a study published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is often discovered in young athletes following a cardiac event during athletic participation. CPVT causes irregular heartbeats, or ventricular arrhythmias, which can lead to fainting, seizure and sudden cardiac death.

The study retrospectively analyzed records of 63 patients age 6 and above with CPVT seen at Mayo Clinic’s Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic after 1995 to determine the impact of continued sports participation. Patients in the study were diagnosed at an average age of 16, and 31 participants said they were athletes at some point before diagnosis.

Twenty-one of 24 patients in the study who identified themselves as athletes at the time of diagnosis continued to compete in sports. According to the researchers, this decision is complex and must involve all relevant family members and coaches–especially if the patient is a minor. There must be a discussion of the risks and benefits of associated with sports, the diagnosis, as well as the impact of any side-effects associated with treatment before a decision is made.

Beta-blocker therapy with nadolol is the most common and effective treatment for CPVT and may be coupled with an antiarrhythmic drug (flecainide) to suppress the irregular heartbeat. In some cases an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is inserted or left cardiac sympathetic denervation surgery is performed. This surgery removes specific nerves near the heart that contributed to heart arrhythmias. It is typically performed on people at high risk of sudden cardiac death, who don’t respond to medications or continue to experience symptoms despite medication. The surgery is also performed on patients who have an ICD and are experiencing shocks to help reduce the frequency of appropriate shocks.

In the study, 76 percent of the athletes had cardiac events prior to diagnosis compared to 43 percent in the non-athlete group. Of the 63 patients, nine patients experienced a CPVT-related event during follow-up despite ongoing treatment. However, there was no difference in events or event rates between the athletes and non-athletes–three athletes experienced one event each while seven events total were reported among six non-athletes. There were no deaths in either group.

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“While breakthrough events can and do occur even among CPVT patients receiving the best care at dedicated CPVT centers of excellence, there are also the known risks of a sedentary lifestyle as well as a decreased quality of life that may come with quitting physical activity and/or athletics,” said Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic and Mayo Clinic’s Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the study’s senior author.

This retrospective analysis was limited by both the limited patient population and follow-up. According to the study authors, larger studies will be needed to fully understand the impact and outcomes of sports participation for patients with CPVT. The results also may not be generalizable to patients evaluated and treated elsewhere, especially centers with a lack of experience in treating this specific genetic heart rhythm disorder.

In a related editorial, Andrew D. Krahn, M.D., and Shubhayan Sanatani, M.D., of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, said the study is good news for patients with CPVT. The authors noted limitations of the retrospective study and emphasized the need for care in highly specialized multidisciplinary clinics and an automated external defibrillator as part of the athlete’s equipment.

Source: Science Daily.

Children consuming sports drinks unnecessarily

A high proportion of 12-14 year olds are regularly consuming sports drinks socially, increasing their risk of obesity and tooth erosion, concludes a Cardiff University School of Dentistry survey.

Published today in the British Dental Journal, the survey looked at 160 children in four schools across South Wales and concluded that children are attracted to sports drinks because of their sweet taste, low price, and availability, with most parents and children not aware that sports drinks are not intended for consumption by children.

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Half of the children surveyed claimed to drink sports drinks socially and most (80%) purchased them in local shops. The majority (90%) also claimed that taste was a factor and only 18% claimed to drink them because of the perceived performance enhancing effect. Price was one of the top three recorded reasons for purchase and, of particular concern, 26% of children also cited leisure centres as purchase sources.

Maria Morgan, senior lecturer in dental public health at Cardiff University, said: “The purpose of sports drinks are being misunderstood and this study clearly shows evidence of high school age children being attracted to these high sugar and low pH level drinks, leading to an increased risk of dental cavities, enamel erosion and obesity.

“Dental health professionals should be aware of the popularity of sports drinks with children when giving health education or advice or designing health promotion initiatives.”

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) is calling for tighter regulation around the price, availability and marketing of sports drinks to children, especially surrounding the school area, to safeguard general and dental health.

Dr Paul D Jackson, President of the FSEM UK, said: “The proportion of children in this study who consume high carbohydrate drinks, which are designed for sport, in a recreational non-sporting context is of concern.

“Sports drinks are intended for athletes taking part in endurance and intense sporting events, they are also connected with tooth decay in athletesi and should be used following the advice of dental and healthcare teams dedicated to looking after athletes. Water or milk is sufficient enough to hydrate active children, high sugar sports drinks are unnecessary for children and most adults.”

Source: Science Daily.

Injured muscles ‘shocked’ back to health

A recent study in rats suggests that acoustic shock waves could speed up a muscle’s healing process. This technique could help injured athletes to return to training and be able to compete more quickly than just with traditional methods.

Applying low-frequency shock waves in a therapy called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is already a promising technique for injuries like ligament and tendon damage. Dr Angela Zissler, leader of the study at the University of Salzburg, Austria, explains: “To our knowledge, there are no experiments exploring the benefits of ESWT in muscle damage, one of the most common causes of injury in competitive sports. By accelerating the muscle healing process, ESWT could get athletes back in the game faster after injury.”

ESWT works by mechanically stimulating the tissue, which recruits stem cells to kick-start repairs. “The detailed cellular and molecular processes activated by ESWT have been unclear,” says Dr Zissler. “Our study indicates that shock waves increase the levels of chemical signaling factors in muscle tissue. These factors wake up ‘satellite’ progenitor cells which gradually become new muscle fibres.”

In a low-energy ESWT session, probes deliver shock waves to the patient’s damaged area at a low frequency (roughly 1 pulse per second). The shock waves focus a small amount of energy (less than 0.2 mJ/mm2) on the damaged area, without the need for using local anaesthetics.

Source: Science Daily

Running barefoot helps optimize technique, reduces risk of injury, study shows

Scientists from the Universities of Granada and Jaén have demonstrated how barefoot running, when done properly, can considerably decrease the risk of injury as it produces significant changes to foot strike patterns, regardless of the speed of the runner.

Barefoot running appears to contribute to the acquisition of a more efficient biomechanical running pattern, allowing contact between the foot and the ground to begin in the metatarsal area (forefoot strikes). The use of standard modern footwear appears to favour the opposite technique; initiating contact with the ground at the heel area with a rearfoot strike, which produces significant impact peaks that negatively affect the runner’s health and athletic performance.

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There is currently a great deal of interest in the barefoot running trend, which is supported by a growing number of runners and researchers who are attempting to gain a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of locomotion. While not currently accepted as the norm, the practice is on the rise.

Footwear worn by human beings over recent millennia can be categorised as clearly minimalist. Its fundamental feature was the introduction of a protective sole. Over the last three decades, several advances have radically changed the design of functional elements in athletic footwear: cushioned midsoles, movement control technology, technology for optimizing shock absorption, etc. The advantages of these recent technological advances in athletic footwear are disputed in scientific forums.

A twelve-week program

The benefits of barefoot running are attainable only when one acquires certain techniques. Otherwise, barefoot running can give rise to other risk factors. One should therefore take precautions before starting to practice the activity.

A multidisciplinary UGR research team known as HUMAN LAB participated in the study. The team is located at the University of Granada’s Sport and Health Institute (iMUDS), which is equipped with the most up to date and advanced technology for conducting comprehensive analyses of the health and efficiency indicators of the runners.

The study has been published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science. The article compiles the results obtained by researchers following the development of a training program based on 12 weeks of barefoot running designed to test the effects produced on runners.

The study was conducted with 39 volunteer runners who took part in a program consisting of specific exercises, completed in progressively increasing volumes on grass. The exercises were based exclusively on continual running, separated intervals and sprints.

Following the training period, the researchers found that athletes who run barefoot significantly adjust the way their feet initially make contact with the ground. Thanks to the program, runners with a rearfoot strike pattern significantly adjusted their strike pattern towards a forefoot strike pattern, both at comfortable running speeds (rearfoot support dropped from 55.6% to just 11.1%) and higher speeds (rearfoot support dropped from 58.3% to 13.8%).

Other significant results pertain to injury risk. The researchers found that internal foot eversion remained constant while foot and ankle rotation, however, varied between a 5.5%-13.8% increase in external rotation.

Source: Science Daily.

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EQUIPMENT

In order to make the best of each running session it’s highly recommended to have an adequate equipment. From running shoes (which are the most important running gear for an athlete) to the perfect clothes to wear depending on how much you will run, where will you run (indoor or outdoor), how the weather conditions are and what season is.

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Running outdoor or on a treadmill?

The choice you make between running on a treadmill or running outside is pretty much dependent on your preferences. However, if you are looking for a more high resistance power workout then running outdoors is your deal, but if you are looking for ease of use and convenience, then maybe you are more of a treadmill workout person! Either ways, the benefits of both, running on a treadmill and running outdoors are quite similar, but we believe that the treadmill is too boring. Also, the nature has a great impact on you!

 

Start warming

The latest in training science indicates that it is best to use dynamic stretching as a part of your warmup to improve efficiency and reduce injury risk, and static stretching after your workout to improve long-term flexibility.

Dynamic stretching involves motions like lunges that move your joints through their range of motion, without holding the stretch.  A proper workout with dynamic stretching will increase your effective range of motion during your workout.  This means that you can run faster by having better power through a longer stride.  This also means that when your muscle gets unexpectedly violently stretched (ie slipping), your muscle can more easily handle the stretch to the edges of your range of motion.

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