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Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

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National Geographic reports: What do Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore have in common? Their people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and enjoy lives that minimize stress and maximize joy. Here’s how they do it.

Denmark

These young men leap from a 16-foot-high diving platform into Copenhagen’s harbor. A built environment that invites physical activity helps explain why Danes have among the lowest obesity rates in the world. The country frequently claims the top spot in the annual World Happiness Report, a reflection of its government-supported education, health care, and financial safety net. More…

See also: Swimming could cheer up Britain

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swimmer1The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review reports: A RECORD 82 swimmers made a charity splash when they dived into the River Wye for an annual race.

The fourth Great Wye Swim organised by Monmouth School Sports Centre on Sunday, May 21, raised £1,370 for Mesothelioma UK and the St David’s Foundation.

Swimmers raced over 1km and 2km distances from Dixton Church, blessed by good weather and low water levels and cheered on by a large crowd.

The event was the brainchild of Teresa Tranter, an admin officer at the sports centre, who took part for the first time this year and won the non-wetsuit female class over 1km in 14 minutes 10 seconds.

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The BBC reports: Students applying to one of China’s most prestigious universities have been told they must learn to swim before they graduate.

Tsinghua University, known as the Harvard of the East, has ruled that the nation’s top minds must also prove themselves in the pool.

The news made waves on Chinese social media, with some questioning the move in a country struggling with drought.

But the university said swimming was a key survival skill.

President of Tsinghua University, Qiu Yong, said the exercise was made compulsory for all students because it also improved physical fitness.

One of China’s most highly regarded institutions, Tsinghua University first made swimming a requirement in 1919, but it was later dropped due to the university’s popularity and a lack of swimming pools in Beijing.

However, under the rules announced on Monday, new students beginning in September will have to take the plunge and demonstrate that they can swim at least 50m (164ft) using any stroke.

‘Arbitrary rules’

The announcement has been hotly debated on social media, with some questioning whether it is reasonable to expect those who grew up in inland cities to learn how to swim as adults.

“What happens to students from arid places that have no seaside or rivers?” wrote Yixunsangyao.

Another commenter, Xishuoge, wrote: “Even though it is a ‘famous university’, it shouldn’t make up arbitrary rules, as such rules could snuff out talents.”

Others, such as Shin-ssi, praised the university for promoting a “necessary skill which can save lives”, adding: “It’s a good thing for the university to emphasise this.”

Those who appeared pleased with their own abilities to swim, made light of the announcement, asking if they could enrol as students at Tsinghua University.

 

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Hindustan Times reports: Swimming, racquet sports and aerobics are associated with the best odds of staving off death, and in particular of reducing the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, scientists said…

… research, published in the British Journal and Sports Medicine …analysed data from 11 annual health surveys for England and Scotland carried out between 1994 and 2008, covering 80,306 adults with an average age of 52. Participants were asked about what type and how much exercise they had done in the preceding four weeks, and whether it had been enough to make them breathless and sweaty.

Exercise included heavy domestic chores and gardening; walking; cycling; swimming; aerobics, gymnastics or dance; running; football or rugby; and badminton, tennis or squash. The survival of each participant was tracked for an average of nine years, during which time 8,790 of them died from all causes and 1,909 from heart disease or stroke.

In death from heart disease and stroke, the study found racquet sports players had a 56% lower risk, with 41% for swimming and 36% for aerobics, compared with those who did not participate in these sports.

Chico said …“I will continue to tell my patients that regular physical activity… is more effective in reducing their risk of heart disease than any drug I can prescribe.”

Despite the benefits of swimming the number of participants in the UK continues to drop.

Discover the full story: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture

 

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EUobserver reports: Copenhagen is one of the only cities in Europe where the harbour water is again clean enough to swim in.

The city has built three popular harbour baths – a new type of city-beach for people to swim, sunbathe, and cool off on hot summer days.

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year.

During the last decade, the harbour baths have also become popular with tourists. They are the most visible result of a deliberate decision in the municipality to move polluting industry out of the harbour, and to clean all waste water before it reaches the sea.

The harbour baths are open 24/7 and many people living in the city centre have taken up the habit of a morning swim before heading to work.

There is no entry fee. Anyone is free to jump in and to enjoy the feeling of pumping blood, tickling skin and the salty taste of sea water.

Swimming around parliament

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year. Some 230 came from abroad to take part.

For swimmers, the race offers a very different perspective of the city and its old parliament building, Christiansborg. For tourists, who gathered on the city’s bridges and wharfs, clapping and photographing, it offers the unusual sight of swimmers splashing in city canals.

“The water is really clean, I saw streams of small fish and jellyfish when passing Knippelsbridge,” Julia Winklewski told EUobserver…

The water temperature is 20C in August, but in winter the harbour can be covered by ice.

Despite freezing temperatures, winter swimming is a popular activity among Danes. Some 11,000 people are registered members of winter swimming clubs around the country, with many more on waiting lists. Swimming is believed to improve people’s health and their quality of life. Read more…

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Indy Star reports: Would you use a beach on the White River?

Would you set up an umbrella and sun yourself on a sandy area on the urban waterway that flows through Indianapolis? The one plagued for years with pollution issues?

Yes, that’s a serious question — because it seriously could happen.

“It would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t develop the banks of the White River.” said Chris Gahl, vice president of Visit Indy, the city’s tourism agency. “Why not think big? Why not think progressively? If we don’t think big, we’ll get passed by.”

So Visit Indy is thinking big  and long term. The prospect of a beach along the banks of the White River Downtown came out of its first tourism master plan, launched in 2015 with a goal of attracting 5 million more visitors to Indianapolis by 2025. In the past 18 months, Visit Indy researched the needs and wants of state residents, business owners, community leaders and elected officials and identified areas to target to reach that goal.

“Our research shows people are attracted to water,” Gahl said. “(The White River) is an underutilized attractant in the city. People would gravitate to it.” More…

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The Daily Echo reports: As Hampshire feels the chill of an Arctic blast taking a dip in a freezing lake is furthest from most people’s minds. But for a host of athletes visiting the county this week we are enjoying the ideal weather for their sport. They are competitors in the first ever UK’s ice swimming contest.

The National Ice Swimming Championships, the Great Britain 1km Open, will draw in crowds to the Andark Lake in Swanwick this weekend to watch plucky athletes brave the icy waters in the new sport.

But residents will also be able to see if they have what it takes.

Run under the IISA (International Ice Swimming Association) rules, ice swimmers must take to water of 5 degrees Celsius or less wearing only a regular swimming costume, a pair of goggles and swim hat to stay warm.

This Saturday’s elite class – who have to undergo strict medical tests and qualifying swims before competing – will race the kilometre in a bid to qualify for a place in the world championships in Germany later this year.

The following day residents can head down to the lake to try the sport for themselves. more…

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