advertisement
10 August 2012

Too much travel tough on elite athletes

A new study suggests elite athletes may face a higher risk of becoming ill if they travel across more than five time zones to get to a competition than if they compete at home.

0

As thousands of elite athletes gather in London to make their respective runs for gold, a new study suggests they face a higher risk of becoming ill if they travel across more than five time zones to get to a competition than if they compete at home.

The researchers studied the health of more than 250 high-level rugby players who took part in a 16-week tournament in three countries during 2010. The teams were from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and they went to places that were at least two time zones from their own (and as many as 11).

More than 72% of them reported illnesses, and they were sick 21 out of every 1000 player days.

Those who played at home before going abroad had an illness rate of 15.4 for every 1000 player days, but the rate grew to 32.6 in places whose time zones were five or more hours away from the players' homes. It didn't matter in which direction the athletes travelled.

When the players got back home after being abroad, their illness rate fell to 10.6 per 1000 player days.

Travel not the only cause

About a third of illnesses were respiratory problems, followed by gut conditions (28%) and skin and soft tissue disorders (23%). Most of the illnesses were due to infections.

Could air travel itself account for the health issues? The researchers don't think so, since the illness rates dropped when the players got home.

"The results from our study indicate that the illness risk is not directly related to the travel itself, but rather the arrival and location of the team at a distant destination," the authors wrote.

Potential causes could include pollution, the aggravation of allergies, exposure to different foods and germs, and changes in temperature, humidity and altitude.

(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

Read More:

2012 Olympics Schedule

2012 Olympics

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Yoga »

Exercise time? Yoga mats matter Yoga and sleep

What yoga can do for you

Yoga is a stress-buster, but it also helps with anxiety, depression, insomnia, back pain and other ills.

Allergy alert »

Allergy myths Cold or allergy? Children and allergies

Allergy facts vs. fiction

Some of the greatest allergy myths and misconceptions can actually be damaging to your health.