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Analysis and Comment (37)

It’s easy to make the game safer without significantly altering the collision aspect that makes rugby so attractive. It’s easy to make the game safer without significantly altering the collision aspect that makes rugby so attractive. AAP Image/David Crosling

Brute force: reducing the impact of rugby collisions

The legendary American Football coach Vince Lombardi once said “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport – dancing is a contact sport”. This is equally applicable to the various codes of…
You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. seemakk

Nutrition for the non Tour de France cyclist … et voilà

Modern Tour de France riders compete as part of a professional cycling team, with support staff who work to ensure that each individual’s nutritional needs are met. Under such circumstances – as we wrote…
Women with an uncomplicated pregnancy should get 30 to 45 minutes of exercise three to five times a week. Women with an uncomplicated pregnancy should get 30 to 45 minutes of exercise three to five times a week. Image from shutterstock.com

A guide to exercise during pregnancy

In the past, pregnant women were discouraged from exercise. Pregnancy was seen as a time to put your feet up and take it easy. But this historical view of pregnancy was very much based on cultural and…
They may be well-marketed, but how effective are ‘sports’ drinks like Gatorade in aiding performance and helping recovery? They may be well-marketed, but how effective are ‘sports’ drinks like Gatorade in aiding performance and helping recovery? mgstanton

High performance chocolate milk: why most sports supplements are more spin than substance

Endurance athletes, from weekend warriors to the elite, seek nutritional post-exercise products to enhance training and speed recovery. But for athletes, the challenge of negotiating the massive range…
Exercise isn’t a substitute for traditional therapies but should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Exercise isn’t a substitute for traditional therapies but should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Image from shutterstock.com

Why exercise should be added to cancer treatment plans

One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The good news is that with earlier detection and improved treatments, the survival rate for many common cancers…
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (centre) has flagged a rise in positive test results, but changes to drug policies won’t necessarily help. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (centre) has flagged a rise in positive test results, but changes to drug policies won’t necessarily help. AAP/Joe Castro

AFL summit sends wrong message on illicit drug use

The AFL’s approach to illicit drugs was championed as a world leader of drugs-in-sport policy when it was implemented in 2005. It was fair, humane and had been effective in reducing match day and out-of-season…
Coca-Cola’s business strategy is to build brand loyality and trust. Coca-Cola’s business strategy is to build brand loyality and trust. Flickr/orangeacid

Coca-Cola part of the solution to obesity? Yeah right!

Coca-Cola made headlines this week with a new television advertising campaign. It begins with a voice-over: “We’d like people to come together on something that concerns all of us – obesity”. The ad then…
The shoulder-charge ban will encourage tackles rather than ‘big-hit’ collisions. The shoulder-charge ban will encourage tackles rather than ‘big-hit’ collisions. AAP

Safety before entertainment – league’s priorities right on shoulder-charge ban

The Australian Rugby League (ARL) Commission’s decision last week to ban the shoulder charge from all competitions from 2013 has divided fans. Some applaud the decision in the name of improving player…
Swimming isn’t the best way to settle that full stomach but it’s unlikely to cause you to drown. Swimming isn’t the best way to settle that full stomach but it’s unlikely to cause you to drown. Jaypeg

Monday’s medical myth: wait 30 minutes after eating before you swim

The old saying that you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you swim is based on the idea that after a big meal, blood will be diverted away from your arms and legs, towards your stomach’s…
If you don’t have time for hours of exercise every week, short, intense efforts might work instead. If you don’t have time for hours of exercise every week, short, intense efforts might work instead. Michael Lokner

Fast and furious: intensity is the key to health and fitness

Less than 40% of Australians achieve the minimum amount of physical activity recommended by government and professional organisations. This contributes to the fact 60% of Australians are overweight or…
Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Review of cycling integrity must consider the lessons of history

Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy’s recent announcement of an independent review of Cycling Australia appears sensible given the local fall-out from the Armstrong case. The minister sees this review “as…
Research shows sports sponsorship works to improve brand recall and positive attitudes among children and adolescents. Research shows sports sponsorship works to improve brand recall and positive attitudes among children and adolescents.

Sports sponsorship and kids' health: who are the real winners?

Over the weekend, Australian children and their parents witnessed some of the country’s finest sportsmen display feats of strength, skill and endurance in the Australian Football League (AFL) and National…
There is currently no evidence to show helmets help prevent concussion or more serious head injury. There is currently no evidence to show helmets help prevent concussion or more serious head injury. AAP

Helmets won’t cure football’s concussion headache

We’ve heard a lot about concussion this AFL season, with claims that too many knocks to the head can cause mental illness, calls for more research into the possible link between football concussions and…
Too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia that can cause death. Too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia that can cause death. ERIO/Flickr

Too much of a good thing? How drinking too much water can kill

Drinking enough water is very important during long periods of physical activity or recreational pursuits. But there are rare instances when too much fluid intake can be harmful, and even lead to death…
Gambling companies sponsor and advertise at grass roots sporting clubs throughout Australia. Gambling companies sponsor and advertise at grass roots sporting clubs throughout Australia. MRHSfan

Betting on the future: why the gambling industry is targeting our kids

I really enjoyed sitting down with my kids and watching the Olympic Games. In the process of watching amazing sporting triumphs we also learnt multiple ways to gamble, all at the tap of a finger. During…
South Korea’s World Cup football team at a training center near Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital Tehran. South Korea’s World Cup football team at a training center near Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital Tehran. AAP

Monday’s medical myth: altitude training improves overall sporting performance

As the AFL season draws closer to the grand final, clubs are already looking to off-season training opportunities to prepare players for 2013. Several high-profile clubs are forking out big money to send…
If you don’t change the way you run, ditching your sneakers is a recipe for injury. If you don’t change the way you run, ditching your sneakers is a recipe for injury. Steven at

Monday’s medical myth: run barefoot to prevent injuries

The human species is one of the most efficient terrestrial animals. We adapted to run on dry riverbeds and grasslands, but development of modern society has strained the evolutionary process. Footwear…
Depending on their age, children should accumulate between one and three hours of physical activity a day. Depending on their age, children should accumulate between one and three hours of physical activity a day. Kymberly Janisch

Want to stop the obesity epidemic? Let’s get moving

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and, more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Here, Jo Salmon…
Rugby player Nate Myles (far right) shouldn’t have returned to the field after suffering a concussion. Rugby player Nate Myles (far right) shouldn’t have returned to the field after suffering a concussion. AAP

Correcting our blurred vision on football concussions

“He got a free trip to Disneyland.” That’s how Wally Lewis described the knockout of Nate Myles, from the Gold Coast Titans, during a tackle two weeks ago. Rugby league is a tough game with tough players…
Children aren’t suited to adult-style fitness programs using exercise bikes, treadmills and rowers. Children aren’t suited to adult-style fitness programs using exercise bikes, treadmills and rowers. Axel Bu hrmann

Kids should get active but adult-style gyms aren’t the answer

With one in five Australian preschool-age children now overweight or obese, it’s no wonder kids' weight is so often in the media spotlight. While the causes of obesity are complex and multifactorial, it’s…
Exercising at a moderate intensity is enough to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercising at a moderate intensity is enough to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol. Flickr/dangerouslyfit

Forget boot camp, exercise doesn’t have to be painful

You don’t need to follow the “no pain, no gain” mantra to reap the health benefits of exercise, a new study shows. Military-style boot camps that deliver fast-paced, high-intensity training (and chastise…
Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week. Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week.

Australian Open: returning a 200km/h serve is easy when you know how (but not really)

Australia’s summer of tennis is a great opportunity to see the world’s best players up close, hitting hard and serving big. Many elite players hit first serves at over 200km/h with great precision and…
winners. winners.

The smartest coverage of the Rugby World Cup

New Zealand is celebrating the All Blacks' victory over France in the Rugby World Cup. Over the course of the tournament The Conversation has brought you stories about all aspects of the game. And with…
The All Blacks' haka is culturally important for everyone in New Zealand. The All Blacks' haka is culturally important for everyone in New Zealand. AAP/AFP pool/Phil Water

All Blacks' proud tradition of the haka insulted in Rugby World Cup

RUGBY WORLD CUP – When New Zealand’s All Blacks take on France in the final tonight, they will be proud to perform a haka. They’ve taken some criticism for it in the past, but, as André Brett of the University…
Bryce Lawrence is one of the Rugby World Cup referees who has won few friends in the tournament. Bryce Lawrence is one of the Rugby World Cup referees who has won few friends in the tournament. AFP/Marty Melville

Rugby World Cup a lottery amid refereeing chaos

RUGBY WORLD CUP – The Wallabies may have the consolation of winning third place in tournament, but their progress has been far from controversial. The Rugby World Cup has been plagued by accusations of…
All Black Richie McCaw has been accused of routinely cheating in his approach to the game. All Black Richie McCaw has been accused of routinely cheating in his approach to the game. AAP

Rugby World Cup: are cheats prospering?

RUGBY WORLD CUP – The athleticism of the players has impressed in this tournament, but is there a whiff of unsportsmanlike behaviour in the air? Brian Stoddart of La Trobe University investigates. A few…
New Zealand defeated Tonga in the opening game of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. New Zealand defeated Tonga in the opening game of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. AFP Photo/Franck Fife

Art or science? Decision-making in rugby

RUGBY WORLD CUP – In the latest of The Conversation’s series on the Rugby World Cup, former Wallabies player, James Holbeck and Professor of Sport Science at Victoria University, Damian Farrow, discuss…
Some AFL teams spend the off season at high altitude. Some AFL teams spend the off season at high altitude. kangaroos.com.au

A higher calling, but does altitude training work?

You might have heard about athletes and other sportspeople absconding to high-altitude locations for training. Indeed altitude training has become the training-method-du-jour for sporting codes around…
The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. AFP/Pascal Pavani

Cadel Evans and other machines: the science of the Tour de France time trial

Following the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour de France last night, the top six riders are within less than four minutes of one another: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Damian Cunego…
Climbing mountains is all about fighting gravity. Climbing mountains is all about fighting gravity. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

The science of elite cycling: Tour de France (stages 12 to 21)

This is the second in a two-part series about the science of Le Tour de France. Part one is here. After 1,916 kilometres of the 2011 Tour de France we’re starting to see some of the favourites make their…
If helmets protect against brain injury, why not wear them? If helmets protect against brain injury, why not wear them?

Don’t be fooled, keeping bike helmets is best for health

Convincing more Australians to get on a bike would undoubtedly deliver health improvements that come with reduced waistlines. But ditching bike helmets isn’t the answer. The health benefits of more cycling…
The life expectancy gained from cycling to work outweighs the risks of ill health from pollution and injury. The life expectancy gained from cycling to work outweighs the risks of ill health from pollution and injury.

Ditching bike helmets laws better for health

With epidemics of diabetes and obesity threatening to bankrupt state health budgets, governments need to broaden their strategies to encourage physical activity. Allowing cyclists to ride without a helmet…

Research and News (2)

Research Briefs (10)

Increase in adolescent knee injuries

Rates of knee injuries in children have significantly increased over the past 12 years, according to research from the Children’s…