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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pushing the limits - Too far

"The most important of the neurotransmitters from a sports performance perspective are Dopamine, Epinephrine and norepinephrine and acetylcholine. As Dr John Berardi explains “Some evidence exists showing that when neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine get depleted, physical and cognitive performance suffers. Since these neurotransmitters can be depleted from intense repeated bouts of strenuous exercise, this is bad news. " Read the whole article by clicking on the title link above.
Gary Moller Comments:
This is an interesting article that is put out by the people of IRule. While I can see where they are coming from and while I do not have a problem with the science, I do worry that many multisports atheltes rely too much on various performance supplements, ranging from energy drinks, to caffeine to ephidrine-type chemicals. This especially so for ultra endurance events that sometimes go for days on end.

Why, oh why does the good doctor believe the depeletion of neurotransmitters is "bad news"? I think it is good news.

The need for sleep and the tiring of nerves so that muscles begin to fail is natural and there for a purpose: without periodic breaks for repair and replenishment, the body breaks down. The consequences of ignoring Nature, or trying to circumvent her can be catastrophic. Muscles and tendons like ropes eventually fray and break; joints like bearings will seize if not resurfaced and lubricated; and the brain becomes hopelessly muddled if not rebooted now and then. This is not rocket science. The body's parts all interact perfectly. To fiddle with one part of the body or its physiology in order to get an artificial performance gain risks acute and lasting damage.

What I am beginning to see nowadays is "mature" multisports athletes who are suffering early onset of arthritis and permanent muscle and tendon damage. Without question, this is the result of overdoing events that go on and on and on, well past the point where one would normally call it a day. I would like to see a shift back to events that last just 3-5 hours. Like old elephants whose time has come, the multisporters who have worn themselves to a standstill, quietly slip away unnoticed into the shadows. I would like to see some research of the musculoskeletal health of multisports veterans.

I competed in the very first multisports races back in 1977. They lasted 3-5 hours and the courses were determined by the rugged terrain in which they were typically held. Many of those who embraced this new sport did so partly because they were sick and tired of over-regulated sports like athletics and cycling and the cheating that was going on with performance enhancing drugs. It was a sport that was one with nature and almost without rules. Has it lost the plot?

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