Tag Archives: physical activity

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Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

We publishing the wrong research and funding too many of the wrong studies. This was the general message from Adrian Bauman’s keynote address - "What gets published in physical activity research and why it seldom has an influence on policy" - at the Health Advancing Physical Activity (HEPA) conference.

The talk might have been about physical activity research but the message has resonance across medicine. If we really want to change medicine we really need to understand how researchers produce evidence and how policy makers interpret, or misinterpret, what is published. There is a significant mismatch between researchers’ objectives and policy makers’ needs. And, rarely heard in a medical context, Adrian was quite sympathetic to the needs of policymakers. ...continue reading

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Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

This week, with  the newspapers full of health scares, doping controversy and the anticipation of all sort of problems in the run-up to the Rio Olympic games, let me tell you a good news story….

It was the height of the troubles in Belfast, in the midst of the hunger strikes, with frequent riots, shootings and bombs. I had just qualified and was completing junior doctor jobs in a hospital a few miles from our home in west Belfast.  Running to and from the hospital, I often passed the still smouldering debris of last night’s burnt out cars.  Our local athletics club met not far from our home, and the surgery where I was to practice as a GP for 30 years. It was a club without premises, track, or any permanent home. We met in the evening at the local day centre, and we'd run through the streets of west Belfast and beyond.

I don’t know how many members there were but it seemed like hundreds of young people gathered there on winter evenings. ...continue reading

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Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

Is being sedentary the new smoking? Many have posed this question and there are some parallels between how our knowledge evolved about smoking and how it is evolving regarding sitting too much. While the hazards of physical inactivity are now well known, however, there hasn’t yet been the enormous culture change that we have seen in our attitudes towards smoking. When smoking cessation was primarily a medical issue there were modest reductions in smoking rates but it was only with societal change, political will and legislation that we see major impact. There is increasing awareness of the influence of social, cultural and environmental factors in encouraging physical activity but we have yet to see the same ...continue reading

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Brennan photoMadeline Brennan is GP Research Registrar at the Department of General Practice and Primary Care and Centre of Public Health, Queen's University, Belfast

Margaret Cupples is a general practitioner and professor at the Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Centre of Public Health and UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, UK.

Editor’s note: This post is based on a presentation to the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland, at Queen’s University, Belfast.

As a GP research registrar embarking on developing my first research project, I didn’t think I was going to change the world, but I hoped that I could, perhaps, influence a few. Obesity is a major global problem and maternal obesity is rising in addition to that of the general population. My aim was to change the health behaviour of the expectant mother. ...continue reading

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Peggy_newPeggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete.  She is now recovering from thoracic surgery and undergoing chemotherapy.

 

In the decade of my 60s I had fantastic opportunities for adventurous challenges. I climbed mountains, bicycled in Europe, swam lakes and seas, and enjoyed week-long hikes. Doors also opened for Masters’ competitions: local summer and winter triathlons, 10 k road races, National Swim Meets and International Dragon Boat races.

All of these challenges demanded physical training and power from my body. During that decade, my athletic participation, and hours in the gym, enabled me to increase my strength and stamina. Through determination and dedication to improve my fitness, my body never let me down. Every year I was curious to see how far I could push my coaches’ training demands, and every year I was thrilled to feel increased strength and to be injury-free. My fitness enhanced my sense of well-being and empowerment.

As a Master’s Athlete, I learned about driving my exhausted body ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

Simon Griffin (Cambridge) was the headliner at the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland (AUDGPI) Conference. Through his keynote address and workshop, he gave a scholarly and comprehensive insight into his team’s work both on promoting physical activity and exploring the evidence on routine health checks. It was clear that to examine a major research question means a long-term commitment, building multiple layers into a study, and testing different hypotheses as the work progresses. Success is incremental rather than through any single dramatic breakthrough. He described the different components of each programme of work and their sequential publication in peer reviewed journals. His views on the difficulty of promoting physical activity and the limitations of routine health checks carry considerable weight, formed on such a robust body of quality evidence. ...continue reading

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Peggy_newPeggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete.  She is now recovering from thoracic surgery and undergoing chemotherapy.

 

For years, I have proudly worn my swim club team T-shirt. The slogan on the front reads:

You don’t stop swimming because you get old,

You get old because you stop swimming!

In early January, as I was pulling into the Ottawa Y parking lot for swim practice, the radio announcer said, “For your morning commute, the time is 6:15, and the temperature is -27.”

I wasn’t alone in the pool that morning – there were 15 of us, and another twenty at the later practice. As usual, we moaned to our coach about a kick-set that is too long, and groaned about too many 100 IMs. But the brief bantering is part of the culture, part of the fun, and the coach takes it with a smile. Four mornings a week, for 22 years, I have been going to the National Capital Region Y Masters Swim Practice to start my day. Some of the swimmers who founded the club 34 years ago are still swimming; others devotees have joined more recently. One is an octogenarian. ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK, and recently in Edinburgh for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine conference 2014

 

Why are the Jamaicans so dominant in world sprinting? And, it’s not just Jamaicans, but those of Jamaican origin representing other countries such as Canada and the UK. Is there a genetic component? Yannis Pitsiladis, a world expert with access to the world’s largest biobank, found no unique genetic trait. Jamaicans’ believe that this dominance is from the eugenic effects of the slave trade - only the fittest and strongest survived ...continue reading

DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

The photograph in the Globe and Mail was impressive. Thousands on the Ride to Conquer Cancer bike ride in Toronto reflects both the current popularity of cycling and people's willingness to support cancer charities. According to the photo caption, it had raised over $119 million; 20 million dollars this year alone. An immense achievement. Cycling has of course, been long linked with cancer fundraising through Lance Armstrong, long time champion for cancer sufferers who gave so many people hope and inspiration and raised millions for his cancer charity. Sadly, his doping admission destroyed his personal reputation and popularity, did untold damage to his cancer work, and disappointed millions of cancer patients.

Doping seems inextricably linked with cycling and will be once again in Canadian consciousness with the release on Friday June 13th of “La Petite Reine”, a biographical film about Genèvieve Jeanson. Its timely release will reprise the pressure on athletes to perform, the role of parents and coaches, and our own expectations of top athletes. The doping story in cycling doesn’t seem to have dimmed public interest however and, as the Tour de France begins in a few weeks, cycling fans will look forward once again to watching the pain, suffering, and glory of the heroes and villains of the cycling world and still hoping to believe.

Cycling is more popular than ever, in spite of the seemingly relentless adverse publicity—even if we allow ourselves a quiet smile at the modern cycling phenomenon, the MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra). Doctors are not immune and, if coffee room chat is an accurate measure, may be particularly vulnerable to the MAMIL phenomenon. It is easy to forget the risks, however, when thinking of the considerable health benefits. To give this a medical context, do read this Australian newspaper article based on the crash injuring Sydney Medical School Professor Paul Haber when a 4x4 vehicle ploughed into their group of seven cyclists.

What can we do? We need to keep in perspective the public health benefits of physical activity and the wider benefits of this cycling movement. Serious road crashes are relatively rare, but they are preventable. There is no medical solution, its about the environment, the law, and society. Doctors may not have a direct part to play in changing government transport policy, the legal system, nor road design but they can give leadership, highlight the risk of injury and advocate for change.