November 1, 2005
Bone health for cyclists and swimmers
There is an interesting article on bone health in the November issue of Outside magazine. It opens with the story of Bill Holland, an avid cyclist, who participated in a bone density study at the age of 48 and was shocked to find that he had "the heart and lungs of a 17-year-old and the bones of a 70-year-old."
Although I've heard for years that low-impact sports like swimming and cycling don't do as much as other exercise to stimulate bone growth, I was quite surprised that someone like Mr. Holland, who rides 150 miles a week, would have such deteriorated bones. I know that the amount of force you apply to a bicycle pedal is less than the amount of force you apply to the ground while you are walking (or running) -- that's the beauty of the bike as simple machine. But it still seems that multiplying that force thousands of times over the course of a cycling workout would leave your bones stronger than your regular couch potato.
The article goes on to shed light on this seeming disconnect. It turns out that you lose calcium in your sweat as you exercise - as much as 120 milligrams per hour. (The typical adult needs 1000 to 1200 mg/day of calcium, but athletes may need up to 2000 mg/day.) So it's this combination of less stimulation for bone growth and loss of the key mineral in bone growth that compounds into a big bone health problem.
Bone is an amazing tissue. Far from being static and passive, this tissue is simultaneously and continually being built up and broken down. Bones require feedback in the form of impact stress to keep promoting growth. Another good reason to take the stairs!
October 5, 2005
Ahh, October baseball... the thrill of post-season play. As I struggle to keep up with all of the division series games, I'm also keeping one eye on that other great bat-and-ball game: cricket. Last month I was glued to my computer catching all the action during a thrilling Ashes series. This was one for the record books. I toyed with the idea of blogging about it after England forced a follow-on in the third match against arch-rival, Australia (Yankees v. Red Sox has nothing on this rivalry). But then I felt I might have to explain the follow-on, the Ashes, and even the game of cricket to my fellow Americans. By then the Ashes were over, with glory going to England, and I was occupied by other things.
For those of you who have not yet caught cricket fever, I leave your edification in others' hands. All I will say is that to begin to understand how huge it was for England to win the Ashes series over Australia, you must know Australia's dominance in international cricket. They are so dominant, that they star in an ODI Super Series better known as Australia vs. the World XI (a.k.a. Australia vs. the Rest of the World, or Australia vs. the Best of the Rest). Despite their Ashes loss, and despite setting a fairly attainable goal of 256 for the first Super Series match, Australia won today's first match by 93 runs.
The World Series is one thing, but what about a Best vs. the Rest?
Category "Cool web stuff"
July 27, 2005
The Internet is awash in baseball sites. Scores, statistics, analysis, blogs -- the list goes on and on. But one baseball site that just made Yahoo!'s pick of the week is a little different.
This Great Game is a web site that actually started out as a coffee table book about major league ball in the twentieth century. The content got so huge (and the estimated price for the book so high) that the authors, Eric Gouldsberry and Ed Attanasio, decided to transform it into a web site.
What I really like about this site is the esthetic feel of it. It kind of does fell like I'm flipping through a book, with a lot of attention paid to layout and design. All of the content is nicely grouped into a handful of sections. The best section, in my opinion, is The Yearly Reader. Each decade and every season is introduced with an interesting narrative -- a capsule of the decade or year that was. These are not exhaustive tomes, but concise and entertaining pieces that are perfect for a person like me who is more of a "nibbler" of information.
As I said, the seasons are grouped by decade. The 1910s are dubbed The Feds, The Fight, and The Fix; the 1960s: Welcome to My Strike Zone. As you delve into a season -- let's take last year's Four Score and Six Years Hence as an example -- you get links to the 2004 Standings, the Leaders & Numbers, and It Happened in 2004 (that last one always loads as really tiny, but point your cursor over it and click to enlarge).
There are other nice pieces, such as interviews and opinion essays (it's a new site, so there's only one essay at this point, about why the Rockies will never win a World Series). There's also a daily fix, called The Daily Comebacker, that highlights the hitter and pitcher of the day, among other stories, like the Derrek Lee Triple Crown Watch (go D. Lee!). And if you want some information fast, you can always do a quick look-up in the Index. Plus, it sounds like they're hoping to expand, putting up more features, photographs, and memorabilia.
June 22, 2005
So that's what those are...
I'm a little slow to pick up on the latest crazes, so I was thankful to the New York Times for answering a nagging question: what are those weird, stiff necklaces that so many pro baseball players are wearing?
Thanks to today's article, Is Your Bat Speed a Bit Off? Try a Titanium Necklace, I can now move on to other, more pressing, baseball apparel questions like what's the proper way to wear stirrups and will they ever make a comeback in the majors?
Actually, I do have a few more questions about the titanium hoops. Aren't they distracting to wear? I understand that they're light (being titanium) but they look like they bounce around a lot. One question I don't have is "do they work?" since that seems to be in the eye of the beholder...
February 26, 2005
With the start of the cycling season, a long drought is over
The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) has published their 2005 cycling race coverage schedule. The first will be the Paris-Nice race on Sunday, March 6. I wonder if OLN is only covering it because Lance Armstrong is slated to attend? No matter, I'm just happy to get a chance to see it.
Some of my friends may find this hard to believe, but I've become a bit of a sports fan of late. It all began when I started dating my now-husband. He and his family are huge Yankees fans. I found that once I started to get into it - knowing the players, etc. - that I really enjoyed watching the games. Then I started following the Cubs, a team I always had a fondness for. Then it was cricket - a great sport, once I learned how it was played. (If you ever want to challenge your brain, try learning a sport you didn't grow up with, have never seen played, is kind of similar to America's favorite pastime in some vague and not-too-helpful ways, and is steeped in British history and jargon.) Then it was cycling, which I now have a great passion for.
So now like all those sports fans I never understood before, I'm jones-ing to see a race, match, or game. This time of the year is a serious dead zone for me. (I still can't get into watching basketball or hockey, the latter being a moot point this season anyhow.) There's cricket going on, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, but my satellite company isn't offering any matches up in the near future.
So now I sit and wait for the cycling Spring Classics and baseball's Opening Day...