Learning to Breath Fire

19scibook-articleInline-v3Christie Aschwanden reviewsLearning to Breath Fire: The Ride of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness“. She caveats:  ” The book is loaded with tales of lives transformed by CrossFit, but after a while, all born-again stories sound alike. Multiple chapters on CrossFit competitions quickly become tedious, with their overwrought prose and forced drama. Readers looking for an impartial examination of CrossFit will be disappointed to find that the workout’s theoretical basis and scientific-sounding claims are annotated almost entirely by articles from the company’s own publication, CrossFit Journal…

Addresses the controversy:“Debates about CrossFit’s safety have raged online since reports came out of participants developing rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when broken-down muscle tissue floods the bloodstream. “It can kill you,” (CrossFit Founder Mr. Glassman told The Times in 2005. “I’ve always been completely honest about that.

and summarizes: CrossFit is for risk-takers… It’s your responsibility to stop before you are hurt, the author implies, but the culture documented here glorifies those who struggle beyond pain. The guy who was wise enough to quit yesterday’s W.O.D. before rhabdomyolysis set in never warrants a mention… The line between breakthrough effort and injury or overtraining can be seen only after it has been crossed. The pursuit of that boundary holds the allure of self-discovery — CrossFit’s ultimate appeal.”

Social Networking for Scientists

research-in-progressIt’s here, it’s called researchgate.net

Richard Van Noorden writes: “More than 4.5 million researchers have signed up for ResearchGate, and another 10,000 arrive every day…That is a pittance compared with Facebook’s 1.3 billion active users, but astonishing for a network that only researchers can join. And [co-founder Ijad] Madisch has grand goals for the site: he hopes that it will become a key venue for scientists wanting to engage in collaborative discussion, peer review papers, share negative results that might never otherwise be published, and even upload raw data sets. ”

Illustration: 2011, Jorge Cham, phdcomics.com

Beefcake Yoga

beefcakeProfessional Wrestling, regardless of the theater of it, is not known for being kind to wrestlers as they age. For example, take Jake “the Snake” Roberts. At 55, he was miserable and suffered from debilitating pain. “I couldn’t squat down, I couldn’t get down on my hands and knees,” he told me. “I weighed 308 pounds. My daily workout was a crack pipe and a six-pack.” He holed up in a small home in Gainesville, Tex. The wrestling world kept its distance.

Two years ago, Roberts received an unlikely phone call from Diamond Dallas Page, one of his best friends from the circuit. Page had become an oddity even among wrestlers. He successfully used his own form of yoga, which he combined with more traditional strength-building exercises and calisthenics, to repair his injured spine and return to the sport an unlikely champion at 43. Page…  traveled the country promoting what he called D.D.P. Yoga… Chris Jericho, a six-time W.W.E. champion, declared that D.D.P. Yoga had healed his herniated disc. Jerry Brisco, a 67-year-old W.W.E. Hall of Famer, said that Page’s yoga had done nothing less than help him “reclaim my life.” At least 40 current W.W.E. wrestlers swore by the program.

Throw down with the whole story here.

The 5 Stages of Research

1)  I don’t know as much as I thought I did.
2)  There’s a whole lotta’ people out there who know a whole lot more than I know.
3)  Nobody knows anything
4)  I think I know something.
5)  Here’s an idea…

Are We Over-Training our Children? Cont…

A Connections reader writes:

What happens when you over-train a race horse?  What happens when you train a horse too early? Well everybody ( horse owners and trainers) in the world is smart enough to not do that cuz they know and understand the potential consequences.

Big potential investment loss and not to mention cruelty charges to animals. But is there something that happens to today’s parent’s IQ  when they breed children?

I remember the day when I played one sport during the whole year locally, cost $10 for a uniform, mom drove me to the field 2-3 miles away and both my dad and mom watched me play.  We had one practice per week, two at most and played two games at most per week.  If we did well and were tops then we might go to a neighboring city (twenty  miles away and play in semi finals or finals).

I was 17 before I went 180 miles to Portland and stayed over night for a play off and 19 when I hopped onto a prop jet and flew to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington New Mexico.

Today it is both the grueling schedule, and the kids being submitted to endless travel.  In my neck of the woods several times during the season kids ages 8-10 are transported by parent car as far as 200 miles (one way) with overnight stays and several games in two days.  The parents survive on Starbucks and energy shots and the kids pump up on sugar.  Also it is common in these leagues for the cost of playing a season to be $3000 per kid, per sport, per season.

Even Roy Rogers did not ride Trigger every day, they had horse sense back then.

Original article here

Pic of the Day











Tip of the Hat: George Takei

Are We Over-Training our Children?

Kids_and_sportsI was taking to my neighbor the other day. At 13 she is a gifted athlete, especially in basketball where she plays in a league much higher than others her age.

Right now it’s volleyball practice, which happens from 9:30-1:30 everyday. That’s 4 hours of practice 5 days a week for an entire month. At 13.

I think that’s too much, even though its becoming the new norm, and orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrew agrees: “ I started seeing a sharp increase in youth sports injuries, particularly baseball, beginning around 2000, I started tracking and researching, and what we’ve seen is a five- to sevenfold increase in injury rates in youth sports across the board…

The crux of the problem seems to be specialization and professionalism:

“ Specialization leads to playing the sport year-round. That means not only an increase in risk factors for traumatic injuries but a sky-high increase in overuse injuries. Almost half of sports injuries in adolescents stem from overuse.

“Professionalism is taking these kids at a young age and trying to work them as if they are pro athletes, in terms of training and year-round activity. Some can do it, like Tiger Woods. He was treated like a professional golfer when he was 4, 5, 6 years old. But you’ve got to realize that Tiger Woods is a special case… parents are hiring ex-pro baseball players as hitting and pitching instructors when their kid is 12. They’re thinking, ‘What’s more is better,’ and they’re ending up getting the kids hurt.”

He has formed a group called STOP Sports Injuries to better educate parents and coaches. His biggest message?  ”Give them time off to recover. Please. Give them time to recover.”

BTW, Dr. Andrews is so reknowned  as a surgeon that he was named one of the 40 most powerful people in the NFL by Sports Illustrated.

Don’t Read This – Take a Nap Instead!

Brain Expert Daniel J. Levitin writes: “Taking breaks is biologically restorative. Naps are even better. In several studies, a nap of even 10 minutes improved cognitive function and vigor, and decreased sleepiness and fatigue. If we can train ourselves to take regular vacations — true vacations without work — and to set aside time for naps and contemplation, we will be in a more powerful position to start solving some of the world’s big problems .”

It’s all about switching between our problem-solving brain and our daydreaming brain and that involves the insula:  ”My collaborator Vinod Menon, a professor of neuroscience at Stanford, and I showed that the switch between daydreaming and attention is controlled in a part of the brain called the insula, an important structure about an inch or so beneath the surface of the top of your skull…

“Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport or how best to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with.”

“If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Your social networking should be done during a designated time, not as constant interruptions to your day.

Interrupt your day with by reading the whole article here

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