5 facts about sports that will surprise you

Facts about sports. What kind of doping did ancient athletes use, why do powerlifters watch erotica and how treadmills were invented.

facts about sports that will surprise you

There are more bacteria on dumbbells in the gym than on the rim of the toilet.

Dumbbells. Wash your hands with soap afterward. Image: Dan Dennis / Unsplash

Sport is a thing, of course, useful, but only if you follow some precautions. For example, do not drop equipment, do not lift high weights without insurance, put locks on the neck to secure pancakes and … wash your hands after using equipment. The Lifehacker telegram channel has the best articles on how to make life easier.

The FitRated sports resource and the P&K EmLab laboratory conducted a study by collecting bacteria samples from 27 different sports equipment in three different rooms. And they found that treadmills, exercise bikes, barbells and dumbbells are simply teeming with germs that cause a wide variety of ear, eye and respiratory infections.

For example, 39 times more bacteria lives on the handles of an exercise bike than on a tray in a public cafeteria. Dumbbells carry 362 times more germs than a toilet seat. And a treadmill control panel has an average of 74 times more bacteria than a public bathroom faucet.

The reason is obvious: toilet seats and faucets are often disinfected. How often do they wash dumbbells in the halls?

Rutgers University microbiologist Donald Schaffner advises : Avoid touching your eyes and face during exercise, wipe the handles of the projectiles with a disinfectant before and after use, and always wash your hands. Also, don’t walk around the gym barefoot, change after class, and wash your sportswear regularly.

2 Watching Porn Helps Athletes Lift More Weight

Powerlifter. You must have watched erotica. Image: Alora Griffiths/Unsplash

Passionate health freaks like to pit exercise against adult sites—as if the two were mutually exclusive. Young men are motivated to take care of themselves with phrases like “Stop watching porn, go to the rocking chair!”.

But real powerlifters are well aware that erotica is not an enemy, but a friend of an athlete. And the common belief that sexual abstinence is necessary before physical activity is wrong – this was established by scientists from the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

In addition, their research has shown that watching porn causes a testosterone surge, which in turn improves strength performance. Athletes who watched these videos then performed more weighted squats than those who limited themselves to humorous or educational videos.

Professor Emmanuele Giannini claims that after three months without sex, the amount of testosterone in athletes drops sharply – to levels close to children’s. Do you think it’s good for a boxer?

So, if you are unhappy that your weight is growing too slowly, do not rush to run for steroids. Perhaps adult videos will cheer you up just as much.

  1. Completely inappropriate drugs used to be used as doping

Greek runners on an Attic vase. Image: Wikimedia Commons

At all times, athletes have sought to increase their physical capabilities by taking various substances that are not entirely healthy for health. And in an era when doping and anabolic steroids had not yet been invented, athletes had a hard time.

For example, in ancient Greece, before the Olympic Games, athletes drank various herbal infusions to increase their endurance. The ingredients for these concoctions included opiates, mushrooms, and the hearts and testicles of various animals.

By the way, such training was not forbidden by the rules. But it was strictly forbidden to cast spells on your opponents with the help of black magic.

Even Greek and Roman athletes who imitated them loved to push the boundaries of the body’s capabilities by taking goat dung mixed with vinegar and heated over a fire as a dope. And if the animal was not at hand, they managed with simple ash, diluted water – such a mixture allegedly also accelerated recovery from injuries.

It was believed that such a drink is an energy drink , allowing you to maintain vigor and strength during training and competition. He was especially appreciated by the charioteers who competed in chariot races.

But even in eras closer to us, professional athletes dabbled in strange types of doping. For example, the 1904 Olympic marathon was won by runner Thomas Hicks, who drank a glass of brandy and ate it with strychnine before the start.

Thomas Hicks after the marathon. Image: Wikimedia Commons

This substance at the beginning of the 20th century was considered useful and tonic. Only later did chemists realize that it was deadly, and they began to use strychnine as rat poison.

By the time Hicks got to the finish line, he began to hallucinate. And after the end of the race, two coaches had to literally carry him, while the athlete was unconsciously moving his legs, thinking that he was still running.

At the famous Tour de France, up until the 60s, it was considered absolutely normal to drink wine, beer, whiskey and champagne. Everyone was sure that these drinks help keep you awake while riding. And cigarettes allegedly “increased the volume of the lungs”, so they were smoked before steep climbs.

  1. The treadmill was invented to punish convicts

Cubitt’s treadmill. Image: Wikimedia Commons

For a person who is not accustomed to physical activity, running or even walking on a treadmill seems like a real torment. And it is not surprising, because initially this device was invented specifically for punishment.

It happened like this. In 1818, an English engineer, William Cubitt, noticed in the courtyard of Bury St. Edmunds Prison in Suffolk idly staggering prisoners. “Disorder,” he thought, “why are they walking around doing nothing? They eat and drink on our taxes, but do no useful work. Is this the way to reform the offender?”

And the enterprising engineer created an apparatus on which the prisoner had to walk along special ledges, rotating around its axis, as if climbing an endless staircase.

Prison staff liked Cubitt’s design so much that the British Prison Act of 1865 even introduced a new rule.

Now every prisoner had to spend at least three months of his sentence on a treadmill.

Such installations were placed in many prisons in England and America. Rotating the axis of the device for six or more hours a day, the convicts not only received their well-deserved punishment, but also pumped water, ground flour, turned fans in the mines and performed other work.

However, by the end of the 19th century, Cubitt’s penitentiary treadmill was forgotten. However, in 1913, the American Claude Hagen decided to revive the idea and patented a similar device – but this time not for convicts, but for people who lack physical activity.

Later, in the 1960s, Dr. Kenneth Cooper proved that aerobic exercise was good for health, and people began to happily get on treadmills. And the places of prison guards were taken by personal trainers.

  1. There is a disease called boxing dementia.

Normal brain and brain with CTE. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The brain is a fragile and delicate thing, it requires the most careful handling. Regular blows to the head are never in vain. And confirmation of this is the diagnosis of “chronic traumatic encephalopathy”, it is also “boxer’s dementia” or “boxer’s dementia”.

It has been established that CTE occurs in about a third of people with a history of multiple head injuries. The onset of the disease is delayed, with symptoms typically appearing 8 to 10 years after a person experiences repetitive mild brain damage.

In addition to boxers, CTE was recorded in football players, rugby players, wrestlers and hockey players.

Symptoms of “boxing dementia”: impaired memory, ability to swallow, speech problems, twitching of the eyelids, tremors, dizziness, headaches, deafness, depression and suicidal thoughts, morbid jealousy and paranoia.

At the same time, it has not yet been possible to accurately establish the amount of damage necessary for the occurrence of “boxing dementia”. A final diagnosis can only be made at autopsy.

There is still no cure for CTE, but some symptoms, such as hand tremors, can be treated with the same medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease .

Prevention of the disease can be only one – reducing the frequency and severity of blows to the head. Therefore, do not neglect the helmet . But mouthguards from injuries leading to CTE do not help.


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