Sports is for all

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Christmas speech 1967

April 4th 2018, thus today, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN, USA.

In remembrance of Dr. King, I also thought to write few words on the topic, in light of sports. On 28th of August 1963, thus almost 55 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his influential speech – ‘I have a dream’. At the age of 34 and standing on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, US, in the front of about 250 000 people that came to listen, pastor King essentially called for equal rights for black and white people. In this regard much still remains to be done, but much progress has fortunately also occurred from those times.

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Altitude training – Benefits for “normal” people

Many elite athletes go high up in the mountains to do some altitude training as hypoxia (reduced oxygen pressure in the air) may give some physiological gains on top of normal training at the sea level. They still do that even if science does not really support these ideas. Some say believing is everything, but it is likely that good training camp in a good terrain where you can devote all your efforts just to training and recovering explains most of the fitness gains due to high altitude training period.

However, hypoxia or altitude training may atually be more beneficial for us “normal”people, who are not training like elite athletes. Recent evidence to support these ideas comes from a study by Camacho-Cardenosa et al. who recently showed that high-intensity interval training under normobaric intermittent hypoxia for 12 weeks in overweight/obese women seems to be promising for reducing body fat content with a concomitant increase in muscle mass.

We have also already some two years ago reviewed the acute responses of exercise and hypoxia in a human body, and health benefits of living and being and training in altitude. Acute responses are summarized in the figure below, but check out also this table for studies showing health benefits in health and disease.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2016.00116/full

Get moving in March

March is physical inactivity awareness month and here are some reasons why this is the case and what physical inactivity does to your body:

  • 150% more at risk of having depression
  • 23% higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 82% higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease (severe brain disorder)
  • Plus, a scary number of other negative statistics…

These facts and good movements to counteract inactivity can be found from Australian Exercise and Sport Science association -supported Exercise Right pages, which are worth checking out.

Twitter – One way to stay tuned!

I have not been able to write any new blog texts for a month, but I joined Twitter in the beginning of this year. Mostly because so many of the readers have been asking whether I have any newsletter or so that they could subscribe. As I do not have that yet, Twitter is one easy solution to let everyone know what is going on and when new blog text is released. Another reason to join was that few of my collegues have been saying to me many times that I should also be there. So now I am and you can indeed find very good information there. I have also already been quite active there, so if you want you can check out which kind of things I regard important as those are the things I am tweeting forward!

Holiday weight gain tends to make us fat for life, but no worries, exercise helps

Nobody gains weight overnight. It happens gradually over the years or decades. Average adult tends to gain 0.5-1.0 kg per year, which is quite a lot actually. But no worries if there has been some weight gain, exercise helps.

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Take BBC’s 60-second test to figure out which sport are you made for?

I have recently been writing about cross-country skiing, but if it is not your sport you might want to take this BBC’s 60-second test to figure out more suitable sport for you. Check out also their related story where Santa Claus is most likely coming from, as well as their story about Finland which also shows Finns cross-country skiing.

New research confirms the superior health benefits of cross-country skiing

I have been writing lately about cross-country skiing and also previously about its great effects on fitness and health. There has also been large epidemiological studies showing its benefits.

New research from Finland also confirms this as it shows that cross-country skiing is actually superior to other sport and physical activity habits in terms of health (all-cause mortality). This is because researchers in this recent study took also into consideration other and total physical activity habits (as well as numerous other confounding factors that could have affected the results), and showed that cross-country skiing showed independent effects on mortality, thus skiers lived longer.

Like I have previously written, cross-country skiing activates basically all of our muscles stimulating cardiovascular function and metabolism substantially. It is also great “natural” interval training, even when practised at slow pace, particularly when you are skiing in mountaneous terrain. Therefore, if you have a chance, cross-country skiing is really something that could be practised to be physically active and fit!

Getting ready for World Snow Day 2018

World Snow day will be celebrated on 21st January 2018 and its purpose is to get children and their families in urban environments to head outside and enjoy the snow. Here is some more information about the day and a short trailer in English, which can be found in numerous other languages in Youtube.

Snowsports – another good way to be more active!

Finnish attempt “snowsports make you more active” won FIS SnowKidz Award and was recognised as the best programme worldwide last year to bring children to the snow. This year the program expands even more and other countries are also becoming more and more active advancing snowsport activities.

Cross-country skiing is really good activity also for kids. Also Southern and West part of Finland got quite a bit of snow (some 15 cm) yesterday, and we also needed to go and try if we could ski for the first time for the season. We have been in skitunnel skiing with artificial snow, but good real snow in a natural environment is still different. Although real tracks were not prepared yet, skiing was indeed possible, which was good fun and hopefully we will have lots of good winter days and snow ahead of us!

 

World Press Freedom Index – Because we can and care

This is a brief follow-up post for my recent not so much exercise-related post regarding Finland. This is just to indicate that although Finland ranks pretty well in many areas of equality, freedom, justice and wellbeing, it was a dissapointment that Finland ranks now only 4th in World Press Freedom Index.

Finland ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index for the past five years, but now Norway is the first and Sweden second. Finland suffers in this index from the actions of our Prime Minister, who made quite some actions of harassment against few state TV journalists. Our Prime minister Juha Sipilä is very wealthy man due to his former enterprise career, but he is (as maybe some other persons with similar history) very concerned with his public picture. There has actually been quite a few instances with him that are fairly similar to this clear harassment case, but we just have to hope he has finally figured out how to behave himself in the future.

The other journalist that resigned from her position due to Prime Minister’s actions was Salla Vuorikoski. She was hired by a leading Finnish magazine that I also subscribe and I am extremely happy that she now writes her stories there. She is namely one of the best if not the best Finnish journalists, whose articles are well-researched and highly interesting.

Vuorikoski also quite frequently writes about things related to Finnish Sports organizations and their finance. She has researched and revealed many grazy things related to Finnish Sports organizations, even clear corruption cases that happen behind the scenes also in Finland.

Thes are the journalists we need, who are not afraid of revealing and putting things forward.

So there is still room for improvements, also in Finland. And I am not writing this to say we have a bad Prime Minister, but because I can. Freedom of speech is namely one of the strongest and most-respected principles in Finland. It is the only way for developement and we all should be able to work and live in environments where we do need to be afraid of saying what we think.

Of course you cannot say just whathever, as it is not wise for instance to insult someone. Nevertheless, freedom of speech has been one of the key principles of Finnish and Nordic thinking at least since the year 1776, when Anders Chydenius started to act as one of the strongest advocates of freedom of expression.

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Copyright © 2018 Ilkka Heinonen / ileximius. All rights reserved.

The views expressed on this website do not neccasarily reflect the views of University of Turku or other institutions or organisations Dr. Heinonen represents.