Sport, science and health: world record in marathon and concussions

How to run a marathon in less than two hours? In 2019, the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge was the first to do so in an unofficial race. Wind tunnel tests conducted by scientists at the École Centrale de Lyon showed that the athlete gained 3 minutes and 33 seconds thanks to the help of five runners who ran in a V-shape in front of him and two following closely behind the record holder. They set the pace and minimised air resistance in a process known as drafting. It reduced by about half the air resistance felt by the Kipchoge.

A digital headset designed to measure changes in brain function will help decide how quickly an athlete is ready to return to sport after a concussion. The device can help athletes, coaches and doctors concerned about the long-term effects of repetitive concussions associated with playing sports. These include chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Data collected over 50 years from over a million Swedish conscripts aged 16 to 25 show that engaging in cardio-respiratory fitness sports at a young age can significantly reduce the risk of nine types of cancer. Good cardiorespiratory fitness – a person’s ability to perform long-term aerobic exercises such as running, cycling and swimming – was associated with a 42% lower risk of lung cancer, a 40% lower risk of liver cancer and a 39% lower risk of esophageal cancer.

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