PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & HEALTH (May, 2017)



Physical inactivity is a major cause of disease, disability and preventable death worldwide; while conversely physical activity is an important protective factor against the development of chronic diseases at any age. Yet, the global prevalence of sedentarism is high. Furthermore, evidence suggests that physical activity levels during adolescence tracks into adulthood. A systematic review of 27 studies from Australia, Canada, Europe and United States found strong associations between physical activity levels during adolescence and at follow-up into adulthood. Studies suggest that physical activity is a complex behavior that is shaped by different personal and social factors, including socio-demographic circumstances, psychosocial factors, as well as the built environment.


If I need to offer an advice on how to improve your health and stay healthy I would go in three directions, and those directions are: HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, MEDITERRANEAN DIET & TENNIS


HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

You need to follow 4 healthy lifestyle characteristics to reduce CV events and to stay healthy. Those are: Non-smoking habits, you need to keep your BMI below 25, you have to eat at least 5 pieces of fruit and vegetablesper day and you need to exercise more then 150 minutes per week. If you do all 4, CV event rate decreased by 87% (retrospective studies) and 40% in 4 years (prospective studies).


MEDITERRANEAN DIET

The Mediterranean diet is often characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, cereals, and olive oil, a low intake of saturated lipids, a moderately high intake of fish, dairy products, and ethanol (primarily in the form of wine), and a low intake of saturated lipids and sweets. Several studies have shown that following the Mediterranean diet pyramid has a positive effect against cardiovascular, metabolic and psychological health problems, and stroke. Moreover, greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a significant reduction in overall mortality, including mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neuro-psychological diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. If you are interested to read more about this topic, I my pleased to inform you that my article "Mediterranean Diet and Its Correlates among Adolescents in Non-Mediterranean European Countries: A Population-Based Study" has been published in Nutrients (Impact factor = 3.759) and is available online on this link. Feel free to read it!


TENNIS

If you want to stave off death for as long as possible, you might want to reach for a tennis racket. Scientists attempting to tease apart the benefits of different sports have found that regularly taking part in sports such as tennis reduces your risk of death at any given age by almost 50%. Scientists speculate that one of the reasons racquet sports such as tennis may help prevent early death is the social aspect that goes with playing it, which involves meeting other players at clubs, facilities and parks, and often leads to organized activities beyond the court. Tennis participants, the study suggests, generally have larger social networks and keep up activities later in life-both of which tend to be good for health.


So, let’s start to work on our health and let’s start now!!!

NBA INSIDE: MILWAUKEE BUCKS (March, 2017)



Recently, I’ve been able to visit the NBA team Milwaukee Bucks in their training home base in St Francis, Wisconsin. It is located directly south and east of the City of Milwaukee and it lies directly on the Lake Michigan. I was so curious to see how the NBA top-athletes train and what they do in order to compete in one the best league in the world. In my opinion, the NBA really is the best league in the world. Here are some facts that prove my thoughts; the NBA as a whole is the best-paid sports league in the world and the Cleveland Cavaliers team (current NBA champions) has become the best-paid team in world sport. Crazy!!! Beside these facts, I was amazed to see how the whole structure within the Bucks team work. Well, there are around 40 people within the Bucks family who do different jobs in order to make everything work smoothly. Just knowing that there are 8 great coaches who take care about the strength and conditioning and rehab of the players is really amazing. Of course, there is a head coach plus 5 of his assistants. That being said, all together there are only 15 players but many more coaches.


I was able to jump in the camp in between the games, so now in the season, generally speaking practice day starts around the noon. Player’s start coming in at 10:00, and the coaches’ train them up until 12:00 doing off the court practice. From 12 to 14 they shoot, around 14:00 is video, than at 14:30, players come off the court again to do some strength and conditioning regime.


Well, I’ve seen many interesting things and learned a lot during these days with the Bucks. If I have to point out only one thing I would underline the Bucks key training principle and that is THE PRINCIPLE OF INDIVIDUALITY. We know there are numerous “principles of training” that are important to understand when developing sport-specific programs. In fact, planning for sport is a “real” combination of understanding sound consistent scientific principles and combining it with the individual responses of each athlete. The principle of individuality states that all players have individual differences that must be considered when planning a training program. These differences include specific weaknesses that should be addressed in the training program, the style of play and position of the individual player and the differences in physiological capacities, training history, skill level, motivation etc. Well, this is exactly what the Bucks consider when developing basketball-specific programs for each and every player. Each and every player has his own program and strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed. That’s the key fact in order to be able to compete at the highest level what the NBA league certainly requires.

TENNIS: THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL TIME (January, 2017)



For a professional tennis players, it’s that time of the year again! After a short break, tennis players have started a new season. With the new season, the Australian Open begins as the major tournament and have finished last week. We’ve had a fantastic 2 weeks of tennis and I am sure that everybody really enjoyed it.


So, what the Australian Open 2017 brought us? I would say it brought us many things. We have witnessed a high standard of tennis and it was a great way to start the tennis year. However, there are some details that I’ve noticed and would like to share it with you.


Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal recaptured the level of tennis that has brought them countless titles throughout their careers. Both of them were seriously injured this past season and they didn’t’ play much. However, they showed no issues with fitness, playing a lot of matches on their way to the Australian Open final before producing their own epic five-set classic in the final. I would dare to say that they prove the benefits of a longer off-season. They showed how important it is to prepare well for the long and intense sessions and that implicates that we, as coaches, need to be smart working with our players, especially with young player, and we should always promote longevity.


No one player under the age of 30 in both men’s and women’s Australian Open finals. Overall, the players played very high level of tennis and majority of the points were physically so tough and pretty intense. Tennis is becoming more and more powerful and the players are spending much more time on their off-court work as they do hitting tennis balls. That is the reason why we are lacking of teenagers that are now capable of playing on this high and intense level. They don’t have the strength and power to compete at the highest level. To put it simple, they are not mature enough and it takes time.


After two weeks of fantastic tennis, this year Australian Open finished with the dream finals of Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal and Serena vs Venus Willams. Federer has more slams than any male player in the history of the sport, while Nadal is in joint second place with 14. Serena makes it 23!!! These pairs have taken our sport of tennis to new heights and over last decade have lifted the other's game to levels never seen before in the sport. Seeing these players in the finals and witnessing how fans can hardly contain their excitement watching them playing, I am completely sure now; TENNIS IS THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL TIME!!!