Sweat Science is one of my favorite blogs. Blogger, Alex Hutchinson, does a great job synthesizing the latest developments in exercise science for the layperson and professional alike.
Here a few great items of interest…
Beyond Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
You sprain your ankle, what do you do? RICE! Rest, ice, compression, elevation. It’s still pretty standard advice taught to therapists. But lately there’s been a shift toward “active mobilization” instead of rest for sports injuries like sprains and strains.
In the current issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, an editorial calls for a critical re-evaluation of RICE. In fact, they call for a whole new acronym: POLICE (Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
It’s a subtle shift of emphasis: instead of rest, you start with
Protection immediately after the injury during the acute stage, then quickly shift to
“optimal loading.” The idea is to avoid prolonged favoring of the injured area, which leads to atrophy and slower healing: rest should be of limited duration and restricted to immediately after trauma.
The new acronym does still include I, C and E — but the editorial notes that there’s very little evidence that these actually help healing (though ice certainly helps control pain).
The challenge with POLICE is figuring out how quickly to shift from protection to optimal loading, and what exactly “optimal” means:
Injuries vary so there is no single one size fits all strategy or dosage.
So no simple answers, unfortunately — but a reminder that, after injury, more rest isn’t always better.
Preserving muscle as you age
New research on what running does to preserve the “motor neurons” in your arms versus your legs:
[...] Surprisingly, neither leg muscle size nor strength declined significantly with age among the subjects, suggesting that regular training had warded off the muscle-wasting effects of aging. The sample MRIs showed virtually indistinguishable quadriceps in a 40-year-old triathlete compared with a 70-year-old triathlete. In contrast, the quadriceps of a 74-year-old sedentary man were shriveled and enveloped in fat.
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