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SIRCuit Summaries

Exercising outdoors in Canada: What the research tells us about exercising safely and effectively in extreme cold

Winter is upon us in Canada and for many athletes that means training in cold temperatures. Our bodies experience cold as a physiological stress, meaning they must work hard to maintain thermal balance. It is important for athletes and coaches to be aware of ways to mitigate risk of cold exposure, which can include tissue injury and diminished cardiovascular capacity. This article summarizes the research on cold exposure as it relates to exercise and presents strategies to promote safe participation, training and competition in outdoor sport activities during the winter months.

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Exercising outdoors in Canada: What the research tells us about exercising safely and effectively in extreme heat

Though most Canadians may not be thinking about extreme heat at the moment, the average temperature in Canada is increasing at roughly twice the global average, meaning that training and competing in extreme heat is an increasing reality for Canadian athletes of all levels. Exercise in heat increases cardiovascular, thermal and metabolic stress, and results in a higher perception of effort, leading to a reduced performance capacity. This article provides an overview of the research related to heat exposure and exercise and provides evidence-informed advice for training and competing in the heat.

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Move over menstrual cycle: Ovulation monitoring is the new gold standard to monitor REDs in female athletes

Until recently, menstrual cycle patterns were considered a key indicator of energy availability in female athletes. Menstrual cycles remain important, but researchers have determined that ovulation is the key marker of energy availability. Low energy availability (LEA) arises when there is not enough energy consumed to support critical body functions as well as training. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs) is a result of longstanding LEA and is associated with a variety of negative health and performance outcomes. This SIRCuit article summarizes the relationship between LEA, REDs and ovulation, as well as answers questions about whether ovulation monitoring is right for you or the athletes that you coach.

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Sport after Moneyball: Exploring sports analytics and the digital economy

Over the last two decades, innovation and advances in technology have led to an increasingly digital culture and economy. As a result, there are twinned revolutions occurring in sport: change in how we understand the sporting world, and changes in the hardware and software used for training and learning. The product of these revolutions has been the “hyperquantified athlete.” In this article, Canadian researchers consider the wide-ranging implications of, and questions raised by, the digital turn in sport.

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Managing the competing tensions of social media as a high performance athlete

Many of us stay up to date with our favourite teams, sport organizations and athletes through social media. Over the last decade in particular, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have had an enormous impact on the sport sector, economically and culturally. Athletes may use social media as a platform for personal updates or activism, or as a venue to work with sponsors in a financial relationship. However, social media may also be a space in which athletes face abuse and harassment, and which has an impact on their body image and mental health. This article outlines challenges that high performance athletes face within an increasingly digital world and offers advice regarding how sport organizations can best support athletes.

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From scarcity to abundance: How Para athlete transfer can broaden development pathways

Many stakeholders believe a “scarcity mindset” exists within Para sport that can dissuade athletes from trying other sports, or coaches and administrators from encouraging exploration of other sports. To broaden development pathways for Para athletes, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Own the Podium (OTP) are working to create an “Athlete Transfer System.” Athlete transfer is when an athlete switches sports or takes on an additional sport. This article provides context regarding the need for an Athlete Transfer System within Para sport and outlines what the CPC and OTP have learned from the experiences of athletes who have transferred.

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Last updated on July 27, 2023