Best of 2015: Research
Below are a few of the main conclusions that we came to from reading the new research in 2015. Some have links directly to the supporting studies, others to summaries of the studies, and some have links to the always awesome infographics that Yann Le Meur makes for research studies. And while each of these bullets has a number of other research studies that were performed in previous years, we decided to only include research from 2105 (that being said, one or two older studies may have snuck in, forgive us). That means that these conclusions are not all necessarily based on the entire body of evidence in that given subject:
- Static stretching is not the best way to warm-up for training/competition, dynamic warm-ups have a better effect on performance.
- Icing, and the use of ice baths, is one of the most contentious issues that we face today in sports medicine and recovery. Icing injuries has very little supporting evidence, and there’s some evidence showing that it may even slow the healing process. Ice baths following exercise also don’t seem to have a lot of supporting evidence. In fact, it looks like ice baths may actually inhibit muscular adaptations, and possibly slow the healing phases following an injury. That being said, there is some evidence for cool baths (50-60°F) helping to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. Here are a few of the new research articles that came out in 2015 concerning icing and ice baths.
- If you’re going to do cardiovascular training and resistance training in the same session, the research shows better results with doing resistance training first, then cardio.
- The cues that we use with athletes, and ourselves, affects our subsequent performance.
- Exercise is now being shown to be an effective form of medicine for treating a large number of chronic diseases.
- Sleep is incredibly important for maximizing training benefits and performing optimally. Exercise can positively, or negatively affect sleep, depending on intensity, type of activity, and time of day. Circadian rhythms place a role in performance during different times of the day.
- The placebo effect, positive self-talk, and other cognitive strategies, can be used to effectively enhance performance both in training and competition.
- Stress affects our ability to perform our best and to recover optimally following training.
- Foam rolling does seem to have the capability to produce positive effects on range of motion and joint mobility. The direction in which we roll may have some effect.
- Dehydration has a significant negative effect on performance. Overhydration, although rare and much less of an issue, is possible, particularly in endurance athletes.
- The future of training/sports medicine will be centered around wearable technologies. Here’s a look at the research surrounding, and possible role of, HRV analysis in sport. And, although this is the trend, a nice study came out showing that “The talk test” is still useful and valid for measuring exercise intensity.
- Vitamin D supplementation may actually improve athletic performance.
- You may be thinking that theirs the a huge issue that’s missing here, and you’re right, we haven’t included anything on concussions. It isn’t an area of expertise for us (not that everything else presented here is), but with the amount of new research that came out on head trauma and concussions in 2015, we don’t feel equipped to go through all of it and come to some sort of nice and neat conclusion. If someone out there has already done this, or would be willing to do a review of the research regarding head trauma (TBIs) and concussions, we’d be more than happy to share it!
Here’s are the links to 10 other interesting new research studies from 2015.
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