According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a type of brain injury that is caused a blow or bump to the head or body which disrupts the way the cells in the brain typically work. A concussion may result in impaired thinking, memory problems, emotional or behavioural change.
Why am I writing about concussion? Because it is a type of injury that is likely to happen in contact sports such as rugby and basketball, but yet it is treated with less importance or simply ignored as compared to other injuries that affect the performance of the athletes.
The American National Football league (NFL) are currently embroiled in a lawsuit termed the “NFL concussion settlement” with thousands of retired NFL players claiming that many of them are at a higher risk of certain medical conditions such as dementia and brain injury which were associated with concussions incurring during their playing years (New York Times, 2014). This shows that the dangers of concussions are evident and may affect us permanently if we do not address them properly.
The signs and symptoms include;
- Headaches or “pressure” in head
- Vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Balance problems or dizziness
Conclusion: Some symptoms may be immediately while others may appear later. If you suspect that you have a concussion, stop all sporting and other physical activity and seek medical attention immediately. Your brain needs to heal with rest before you can slowly and gradually return to your daily activities. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow down recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States of America (2013, July 03). Concussion. Facts about concussion and brain injury: Where to get help. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/Fact_Sheet_ConcussTBI-a.pdf
New York Times (2014, June 25). N.F.L. Makes Open-Ended Commitment to Retirees in Concussion Suit. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/sports/football/nfl-makes-open-ended-commitment-to-retirees-in-concussion-suit.html?_r=0
There is abundant literature on the positive benefits of physical activity. However, research on the relationship between physical activity/fitness and different aspects of sexuality is limited. Research shows that there is a relationship between a physical active lifestyle and the individual’s sexual performance and satisfaction (Krucoff & Krucoff, 2000; Stanten & Yeager, 2003).
Sedentary men could greatly reduce their probability of having erectile dysfunction by being more active (Stanten & Yeager, 2003). Aspects of fitness such as endurance and body composition contributed to the improvement of sexual performance (Krucoff & Krucoff, 2000). A study was done by Bortz and Wallace (1999) on more than 500 physically active male and female participants with ages of 50 and above to examine the relationship between physical fitness, aging and sexuality. They reported that sexual satisfaction appeared to correlate with the level of fitness. They concluded that physical fitness and high levels of sexual activity are mutually supportive aspects of successful aging.
A more recent study done by Young and Penhollow (2004) examined the relationship of exercise frequency and self-reported fitness levels on perceived sexual desirability and sexual performance. Data was conducted through a questionnaire on 408 undergraduate students (71% females and 29% males). Results suggested that in spite of differences among different genders, generally those who exercised more frequently and had higher physical fitness level, had better perception of their sexual performance and desirability. The authors suggested that people who were relatively more fit and exercised frequently had a more positive self-perceived body image which may lead to increased confidence in their sexual performance and desirability. They were also healthier which may lead to an increased ability and willingness to be sexually active.
Conclusion: Having a physically active lifestyle not only improves your health and fitness, it can also improve your sex life. So if you want to improve your current sex life or seek to maintain it as you age, make sure you exercise frequently and stay in shape!
Bortz, W. M. 2nd, & Wallace, D. H. (1999). Physical fitness, aging, and sexuality. Western Journal of Medicine, 170, 167-175.
Krucoff, C., & Krucoff, M. (2000). Peak performance. American Fitness, 19, 32-36.
Stanten, N., & Yeager, S. (2003). Four workouts to improve your love life. Prevention, 55, 76-78.
Young, M., & Penhollow, T. (2004). Sexual desirability and sexual performance: does exercise and fitness really matter?. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 7.
The National Health Survey 2010 reported that only 19% of Singaporeans aged 18-69 years engaged in regular exercise (any forms of sport and exercise; at least 20 mins/session; 3 or more days/week) during their leisure time (Ministry of Health, 2011). Why are we not active enough during our leisure time? There are many factors involved which are beyond the scope of this article. I will only discuss about which type of activities (sport or exercise) would be more ideal for long term adherence for those thinking of being more active.
There is a difference between exercise and sport participation. Exercise is defined as a form of physical activity involving exertion of sufficient intensity, duration and frequency to achieve or maintain fitness or athletic objectives (Neiman, 2003). Examples are jogging, aerobics and gong to the gym. Sports participation is defined as a form of physical activity governed by formal or informal rules that involve competition against an opponent or oneself (Lumpkin, 1998).
Literature examining motives towards exercise and sport suggest that sport participants were more intrinsically motivated as they were driven by their own satisfactions and exercise participants were more extrinsically motivated by external outcomes. It is likely that people who engage in sport are more likely to persist in their sporting activities compared to exercise participants regardless of gender (Kilpatrick, Hebert & Bartholomew, 2005; Rintaugh & Ngetich, 2012).
Conclusion: If you are thinking of being more physically active and have no preferences for either exercise or sport activities, consider taking up a new sport or going back to your sport again. But ultimately, you should select the type of activities based on your preferences for best adherence results.
Kilpatrick, M., Hebert, E., & Bartholomew, J. (2005). College students' motivation for physical activity: differentiating men's and women's motives for sport participation and exercise. Journal of American college health, 54(2), 87-94.
Lumpkin A. Physical Education and Sport: A Contemporary Introduction. 4th Ed. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Ministry of Health, Singapore (2011, November 29). National Health Survey 2010, Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/Publications/Reports/2011/national_health_survey2010.html
Neiman D. Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health-Related Approach. 5th Ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2003.
Rintaugh, E. G., & Ngetich, E. K. (2012). Motivational gender differences in sport and exercise participation among university sport science students. Journal Of Physical Education & Sport,12(2), 180-187.
Designing an exercise regimen
Recently, I started using Omron bodyfat monitor model BF 306 to measure my body fat percentage as I am giving more focus on my physique. Although there are better alternatives to measure bodyfat such as using underwater weighing or DEXA scanning, these methods are expensive and time-consuming. I use electronic bodyfat monitor as it is less expensive and more convenient. Another alternative is by skinfold measurements with a skinfold caliper,which is the least expensive. But this requires a lot of practices to get a consistent reading repeatedly.
The monitor may not give a highly valid (accurate) reading. However, as long as I take it under similiar conditions, it will give a fairly accurate and more importantly, a reliable (consistent) reading. I am more concerned with the changes in my bodyfat % rather than my true bodyfat %. I take my readings after I woke up in the morning, brush my teeth and relieve myself. Refer to the FAQs from Omron's website for details.
My latest reading is 9.9%. Would like to see how I look and perform at a lower %.
All information presented on this site is meant for general purposes. It is not meant to replace health and medical advice from healthcare professionals.