Sports Science Weekly Gym Bag - 10-7-09

Time for another edition of the Sports Science Weekly Gym Bag. (Yes, a Wisconsin Badger football gym bag this week...they're 5-0!) If you ever run across something that you would like to share, just add it to the comments below!

Marathon Runners Mull the ‘D Word’
This is the time of year, after marathoners have logged their longest miles, that any kind of pain, nagging or excruciating, can send runners into a panic about whether they will make it to the starting line. Or if they should even try...

Faster tunes make you bike faster, even if it hurts a bit more
Researchers have been studying how music and other “distractions” affect exercise performance for decades (see here, for instance), hoping to trick us into pushing a little harder without realizing it. One of the factors they’ve looked at extensively is the speed of the music — the idea that faster tempos make us pick up the pace. The problem is that the effects of tempo tend to be swamped by the effect of whether the subjects in the experiment like the particular tunes selected for them...

How Do Marathons Affect Your Heart?
Last year the European Heart Journal published a study that continues to prompt discussion among researchers who work with marathoner runners and those, many of them the same researchers, who run marathons. In the study, German scientists scanned the hearts of 108 experienced, male distance runners in their fifties, sixties and seventies.  By standard measures, the group’s risk for heart problems was low. But when the researchers studied the runners’ scan results, they found that more than a third of the men showed evidence of significant calcification or plaque build-up in their heart arteries. Several also had scarring of some of the tissue in their hearts...

The Eyes Have It - Is visual training the sports world's next big thing?
Seattle Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan began this season on a tear. In interviews, Branyan credited his newfound success in large part to a piece of software that runs on an ordinary laptop. "I think it's helped me really pinpoint and focus on the ball," Branyan said of the Vizual Edge program, which offers a variety of exercises to train and sharpen visual skills. "I see the ball exactly where it is. I don't want to say it's all because of this. … But, I mean, I was a .230 hitter."

Watch Out Gatorade, Powerade, Accelerade! Mother Nature's Entered the Game!
"I'm convinced more than ever that Mother Nature is a runner. I've recently hailed Mother Nature's "natural sports drink"—coconut water—and its health benefits, especially how its naturally high level of potassium helps keep my calf cramps at bay on long runs. Well, it appears that Mother Nature has expanded her line of sports drinks.

Young Athletes and Women More Likely to Have Second ACL Surgery Within a Year
According to one of the largest studies ever conducted on the outcomes of ACL surgery, patients under 40 and women are both more likely to have second knee surgery within a year of an ACL repair.  Investigators looked at surgical outcomes in 70,000 patients who had ACL reconstruction surgery from 1997 to 2006 in New York state. The results, published in the October 2009 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, found the following...

Despite Size, NFL Players Not More Likely To Develop Heart Disease, Even After Retirement
Former professional football players with large bodies don't appear to have the same risk factors for heart disease as their non-athletic counterparts, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found in studying a group of National Football League (NFL) alumni....