A person's most favourable weight can be considered for a general healthy lifestyle or more specifically for a chosen sport.
Top athletes will monitor their weight and body composition to give them the best advantage for competing.
For the average person you can look at your body composition simply by looking at your BMI and comparing it to the optimum weight on a chart.
Remember - Body composition is defined as 'the percentage of body weight that is fat, muscle and bone'. All three of these effect body weight.
If you would like to look at your BMI you can click on the above NHS link. Remember that it is only a guide and does not take into consideration muscle size. It is based on an average sample of people.
Being underweight or overweight affects performance.
Athlete's optimum weight may be different to general expected weight for a healthy person.
Can you think of any examples?
A marathon runner will usually have a very thin and light frame so that they do not carry extra weight. They may weigh less than their expected weight but have an optimum weight for their sport.
A boxer may have high muscle mass (depending on weight category) and be heavier than expected. But they will be an optimum weight for their sport.
A rugby player will have different optimum weights for the position they play. A prop will have an advantage from being heavier than a scrum half as they have different roles within their game.
Generally you can fit athletes into different body types for their sport. Body types look at 3 factors and we need to know it as somatotypes.
You can calculate the BMI score for children or teenagers below.
There are 3 somatotypes (body types)
Endomorph Mesomorph Ectomorph
You need to be able to recognise the definitions of somatotypes. They are:-
Somatotype - classification of body type.
Endomorph - an individual with wide hips and narrow shoulders, characterised by fatness.
Mesomorph - an individual with wide shoulders and narrow hips, characterised by muscularity.
Ectomorph - an individual with narrow shoulders and narrow hips, characterised by thinness.
Try to remember
ENDOMORPH ? Dumpy
MESOMORPH ? Muscular
ECTOMORPH ? Thin
Very few people are a perfect example of just 1 of these somatotypes. They are usually a mixture of all 3 and can be placed on a scale like below.
Can you think of some other sports people and where they would be on the diagram?
Different sports suit different somatotypes
Endomorphs are usually suited to power events - such as a rugby prop forward, a shot putter or a power lifter?
Mesomorphs tend to be involved with sports that require strength and sudden bursts of energy. A good example is a sprinter or male gymnast.
Ectomorphs tend to excel in long distance events such as a marathon or triathlon.
Weight related conditions
There are a number of definitions that you need to know for the exam which are related to weight.
Anorexic - pertaining to anorexia - a prolonged eating disorder due to the loss of appetite.
Underweight - weighing less than normal, healthy or required.
Overweight - having weight in excess of normal (not harmful unless accompanied by overfatness).
Overfat - having body fat in excess of normal.
Obese - a term used to describe people who are very overfat.
Anorexia means 'without appetite' and can be very serious. There are extreme conditions where people see themselves as overweight and do not want to eat in fear of putting on more weight. The loss of appetite can lead to extreme weight loss and result in a serious lack of nutrition.
Obesity is researched to be increasing in the UK. It has considerable health risks associated with it such as cancer and heart conditions. It is also linked to high blood pressure and diabetes. It is thought that the increase in obesity in adults and children is due to the lack of exercise people do as well as the increased unhealthy foods consumed in our diets.
Revision video about body types!
Performance Enhancing Drugs
Some athletes resort to using performance enhancing drugs to improve their training or performance. It is a huge problem in sport with new drugs and ways to mask the drugs being developed all the time.
There are 6 categories of performance enhancing drugs that you need to know about. There are lots of different types of drugs within these categories but you need to be able to name the category in the exam and recognise the specific performance enhancing capabilities.
Remember All Drugs Should Not Be Permitted
Some of the drugs within these categories may be legal and are used in medicine to treat many various conditions but it is important to know that they are banned in sport!
Anabolic steroids increase growth and recovery of muscles, bones and soft tissue. Some Athlete may use them when they are training as it will allow them to train harder and then recover quicker and with more gains. Improve muscle and bone size quicker than someone who doesn't use them. They also produce results quickly.
Definition - 'drugs that mimic the male sex hormone testosterone and promote bone and muscle growth.'
Side effects - Anabolic steroids mimic the male hormone testosterone. Therefore women taking it can develop male characteristics. They deepen the voice and cause facial hair growth. Other side effects are:
- Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Increased risk of injury
- Worst case scenario - DEATH!
Dwain Chambers, a British 100m sprinter was found guilty of taking steroids and banned from the sport for 2 years in 2003 and banned from the Olympics for life! He was also stripped of any medals he receIved from mid 2002 as well as having to pay back earnings that he had receIved from the competitions!!
Diuretics increase the amount you urinate. This is commonly used to lose weight for performers who need to meet weight limits.
Diuretics also increase the function so it can be used to reduce the concentration of other banned substances that may be present in urine.
Side effects include:
Dehydration: this can in turn cause dizziness, muscle cramps, headaches and nausea.long term diuretics can damage the kidneys.
Definition - ' drugs that elevate the rate of urine production'
Stimulants are commonly used in sport to increase alertness by stimulating the central nervous system. Examples of these are amphetamines, ephedrine, cocaine, nicotine and caffeine.
Athletes can also use these to help combat tiredness and they are especially useful to offset the effects of lactic acid on muscles.
Definition - 'drugs that have an effect on the central nervous system, such as increased mental and/or physical alertness.'
Alaine Baxter - a Scottish slalom skier won a Bronze medal in the 2002 winter Olympics. He was later disqualified and asked to return the medal for testing positive for traces of methamphetamine.
Baxter was able to confirm later that the trace had originated from a Vicks inhaler bought in the United States. He had been unaware that the contents were different from those found in the UK version. The International Ski Federation accepted his explanation and banned him for the minimum of 3 months.
Narcotic analgesics are 'PAIN KILLERS' (e.g. paracetamol, morphine, methadone and heroin)
Athletes will use these to mask pain. Pain killers are allowed in certain doses in some sports but not in others. Side effects can be nausea. They can become highly addictive and athletes can make injuries worse by competing on an injury and not feeling the pain.
Definition - ' drugs that can be used to reduce pain'
These drugs are commonly prescribed by doctors for people with heart problems as they maintain a low heart rate and lower blood pressure. As a result anxiety and stress levels can be reduced.
Beta blockers can help in target sports as they help steady shaky hands and calm nerves. They are banned in many sports where steadiness is essential such as snooker, archery, shooting, ski jumping and control sports like motor racing.
Side effects - they can cause low blood pressure, cramp and heart failure.
Definition - ' drugs that are used to control the heart rate and have a calming and relaxing effect.'
Kim Jong Su, a silver and bronze medallist in Beijing 2008 Olympics. Kim Jong competed in shooting for North Korea. Kim used Propranolol, a drug that has been known to quell tremors. Obviously, this would offer quite an advantage in shooting. Kim has been stripped of his medals.
Peptide hormones cause the production of other hormones - most have similar effects to anabolic steroids, namely to increase muscle growth and to assist recovery from injury.
A common form of peptide hormone is EPO (erythropoietin). EPO increases red blood cells which in turn increase aerobic capacity as the body can carry more oxygen around in the blood.
Side effects - EPO thickens the blood which puts more strain on the cardiovascular system increasing risk of a heart attack or stroke. Peptide hormones can also cause abnormal growth.
Definition - 'drugs that cause other hormones to be produced'
The International Cycling Union says the suspension was imposed by Spain's national federation, which also fined him.
$11,000. Jimenez failed a doping test after winning Stage 6 of the Tour of Portugal for the CC Loule team in August 2009. T
Smoking and alcohol are recreational drugs. They are legal but both have harmful side effects and effect performance in sport/ activities. You need to be able to discuss the short term and long term effects on the body with reference to how it affects performance in sport.
Nicotine is taken into the blood stream through smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant and addictive.
Smoking raises the heart rate and blood pressure. It also affects performance as it damages the cardiovascular system, in particularly the heart, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and damages the blood vessels. These result in lowering your aerobic fitness capabilities and limiting your performance in sports/ activities.
Smoking has negative health effects as it is linked with developing heart problems, circulation problems and cancer.
Alcohol in small amounts is not harmful but it if it consumed in large amounts and to much it has damaging side effects to the body. Short term alcohol affects your coordination, speech and reactions. For this reason alcohol is banned in most sports for safety reasons. Alcohol also makes your muscles tire more quickly and causes extra urine which often causes dehydration. It results in the reduction of glycogen levels and slower lactic acid removal. This is why athletes may drink very little (if at all) but will not drink before big events.
Alcohol has long term health effects associated with abuse. Alcohol in excess can damage your liver, kidneys, muscles, brain, digestive and immune systems.
Risk assessment and preventing injuries
Injury is common in sport. It is important to take precautions to try and reduce the chance of becoming injured by taking preventative measures.
You should always consider your own physical readiness before you take part in activity. You should consider if you are fit or healthy enough to take part in the activity.
You should also fill in a Par-Q (physical activity readiness questionnaire) to help you plan a personal exercise programme.
You need to make sure you warm up to get the body physically and mentally prepared for activity.
Check equipment and facilities
You should always use the correct equipment for the sport you play. Follow the guidelines for protective equipment that is recommended for the sport/ activity. You should check that the equipment is in good condition and not damaged. Developments are always being made in sport technology and top athletes will keep up to date with this equipment to stay safe and improve performance.
You should check the surface or area you are going to do your activity on to make sure it is free from any objects that could cause injury. (E.g. glass on pitches, wet area on sports hall floor)
You need to plan ahead for weather provision so as to be prepared for what is forecast.
You should follow the correct techniques for your sport when competing, carrying or moving equipment.
To make competition fair the sports governing bodies will balance competition. Some sports need to consider numerous factors such as:-
Weight categories - Competitors of similar weights compete against each other so that one does not have an unfair advantage over another. This occurs in sports such as boxing and judo.
Mixed or single sex - Most sports are single sex for reasons of safety and fair competition. Men are stronger and bigger than women and this can be an unfair advantage in competition. Some sports are mixed sex such as mixed badminton or tennis but there are conditions on teams being made up of equal amounts of each. The only sport where men and women compete in the same field as equals is equestrian sports (dressage, show jumping and cross country).
Age - As we grow up competitive sport is split into age groups to make things fair. Some talented players can play up age groups but it is not possible to play down at competition level. At the other extreme some sports have competitions for older competitors such as veterans or seniors.
Handicap system - some sports use a handicap system. A good example of this is golf. It allows people of different abilities to play in line with each other.
Play by the rules
All sports have rules. It is important to play within these rules so as to play fair. Competitions have officials to monitor rules and control activities.
Organisations regularly meet to discuss rule changes and often adapt rules to make sports safer if bad accidents occur. Some rules are specifically designed with safety in mind such as no 2 footed tackle in football, no spear tackle in rugby etc.
If athletes do not follow rules then they can be disciplined by sports officials and sanctions put in place.
You need to check you are not wearing anything that could cause injury to you or others (watches, jewellery or hair tied back).
Footwear is important for different sport. Wearing studded boots on grass will help you keep grip on wet grass.
It is important to wear protective clothing such as mouth guards in boxing, helmets in cycling and a box in cricket.