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Performance

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Fatigue is a frequent complaint, felt by the adolescent athlete or expressed by his or her sporting, family or school environment. The factors of this fatigue are multiple and require a holistic analysis of the situation. On the basis of the described psychological and situational factors, we will provide practical recommendations to support the adolescent athlete. We will discuss recovery, organisation and prevention strategies. These recommendations can provide the foundation for treatment in a multidisciplinary way.
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The positive effects of light to moderately intensive physical activity during pregnancy are not in question. Corresponding exercise recommendations can be found in national and international guidelines, which show a relatively solid evidence base. However, there are large knowledge gaps with respect to training recommendations for ambitious amateur sportswomen and elite athletes. Therefore, among both athletes and their supporting staff there is a large degree of uncertainty, which sports activity and to what extent it can be maintained safely without risk to the mother and her unborn child. In addition to the consideration of contraindications, where sporting activities must be avoided, there are certain training-associated precautions (e.g. when training at high altitude or in hot conditions) that should be respected.
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Female athletes who are concerned with their own cycle can make better use of benefits and better control the negative effects of it through targeted training adjustments. However, there are still few studies that deal with the sport-specific advantages and disadvantages of the female cycle. Hormonal contraception should also be selected individually to suit the type of sport and any complaints the athlete may have.
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Competitive and elite sport often challenges the balance between health and performance, especially when it involves youth athletes. As Lausanne was getting ready to host the 2020 winter Youth Olympic Games, we had the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and on what they mean for sports medicine practitioners. Elite sport pushes athletes to the limit, be it through their own intrinsic drive to achieve ever more, or through the pressures of the multiple stakeholders around sport.
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Leisure-time and elite athletes often seek sports medical advice for inadequate exertional dyspnea and loss of performance. The work-up has to rule-out underlying cardiac pathologies that are associated with sudden cardiac death, although commonly the symptoms are training- and not disease-related. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) helps to differentiate between cardiac and pulmonary causes and guides further diagnostic and therapy. This article illustrates the potential of CPET in three clinical cases.
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The restorative qualities of sleep are fundamentally the basis of the individual athlete’s ability to recover and perform, and to optimally be able to challenge and control the effects of exercise regimes in high performance sport. Research consistently shows that a large percentage of the population fails to obtain the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep per night [17]. Moreover, recent years’ research has found that athletes have a high prevalence of poor sleep quality [6]. Given its implications on the recovery process, sleep affects the quality of the athlete’s training and outcome of competitions.
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The importance of the carbohydrates for an intense exercise performance is known since at least the 1920s. Many research findings have since then led to development of generic recommendations for the carbohydrate intake before, during and after the exercise. The past years have witnessed, however, a growing understanding that the specific recommendations need to be defined in accordance to the short but also longer-term goals of each athlete.
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