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Exercise and Fitness: Keep On Keepin' On

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How on earth did you get the rugby idea? Admittedly, I didn't even know that France and Italy did rugby at all, for me it was entirely a UK + commonwealth thing, almost like Cricket or Polo. But overall I am pretty sure that even something like field/lawn hockey is bigger in most of Europe (ice hockey certainly is as a professional and spectator sport). The by far most popular European team sport that is almost ignored in the anglo-world is handball.

With rowing it is more complicated. As said, the Eight of Germany or the UK are objects of national pride and you will probably have a rowing club in every city with a lake or river. But I doubt that participation is even remotely comparable to tennis or the "simpler" endurance sports like swimming, cycling, running.

Probably because sports do not have the role in HS and college in Europe they have in the US the gap between (semi)professional or highly ambitious sport and hobby/fitness sport/exercise is larger, I believe. That is, there will be far fewer people than in the US who played or exercised a sport on the rather high level of many US HS or college teams in their youth.

Another difference is (or at least used to be) that in Europe, "fit" typically means slim and in good condition in general or for endurance sports whereas in the US it seems to mean (very) muscular and good at weightlifting.

 

Edited by Jo498

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1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

How on earth did you get the rugby idea? Admittedly, I didn't even know that France and Italy did rugby at all, for me it was entirely a UK + commonwealth thing, almost like Cricket or Polo. But overall I am pretty sure that even something like field/lawn hockey is bigger in most of Europe (ice hockey certainly is as a professional and spectator sport). The by far most popular European team sport that is almost ignored in the anglo-world is handball.

With rowing it is more complicated. As said, the Eight of Germany or the UK are objects of national pride and you will probably have a rowing club in every city with a lake or river. But I doubt that participation is even remotely comparable to tennis or the "simpler" endurance sports like swimming, cycling, running.

Probably because sports do not have the role in HS and college in Europe they have in the US the gap between (semi)professional or highly ambitious sport and hobby/fitness sport/exercise is larger, I believe. That is, there will be far fewer people than in the US who played or exercised a sport on the rather high level of many US HS or college teams in their youth.

Another difference is (or at least used to be) that in Europe, "fit" typically means slim and in good condition in general or for endurance sports whereas in the US it seems to mean (very) muscular and good at weightlifting.

 

Rugby is one of the bigger sports in France. Their domestic league is one of the best in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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Just a massive difference in attitudes towards exercise in the different countries (lifting weights especially)

Lots of American high schools have gyms better than the best paid for gyms in the UK. Where as over here lifting weights while still in school is still somewhat frowned upon (lifting will stunt your growth is still something I hear regularly) 

 

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10 hours ago, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

That's interesting to hear. I had always assumed that rugby was the second or third most popular sport in most European countries, and that rowing was just after that. Good to know. 

Football is huge in all of Europe but there are quite a few sports that are very popular in some European countries and almost non-existent in other European countries.

For example, very few people in UK care about basketball while it's huge almost everywhere else. Ice hockey is very popular in Russia, Scandinavian countries, Czech Republic (or is it Czechia now?), Slovakia and a few other countries and it's not even on the map in the rest of Europe.

45 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

How on earth did you get the rugby idea? Admittedly, I didn't even know that France and Italy did rugby at all, for me it was entirely a UK + commonwealth thing, almost like Cricket or Polo. But overall I am pretty sure that even something like field/lawn hockey is bigger in most of Europe (ice hockey certainly is as a professional and spectator sport). The by far most popular European team sport that is almost ignored in the anglo-world is handball.

With rowing it is more complicated. As said, the Eight of Germany or the UK are objects of national pride and you will probably have a rowing club in every city with a lake or river. But I doubt that participation is even remotely comparable to tennis or the "simpler" endurance sports like swimming, cycling, running.

Another difference is (or at least used to be) that in Europe, "fit" typically means slim and in good condition in general or for endurance sports whereas in the US it seems to mean (very) muscular and good at weightlifting.

I don't follow rugby that closely, but France and/or Italy used to play in Six Nations with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (Just checked, they still do - France ended up above England last year).

A friend of a friend used to play handball and went to US on some student exchange program. No one he met in the US has ever even heard of handball. :lol:

Rowing requires a big enough river or a lake so that's a bit limiting. Also is a very expensive sport so not everyone can take part - you need boats that cost tens of thousands of euros/dollars/pounds and, no less expensive, a place next to that river or a lake to store them in.

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I am a bit fluffy and eating way too much junk and haven't been to the gym in weeks. But I'm also really happy so I don't feel as bad about it as I otherwise would. Class starts again soon and I think that having a regular schedule, even though I'll have much less free time and flexibility, will actually be good for getting me back into my workout routine. I only need to lose about 5 pounds so nothing crazy, but if I keep letting it slide soon I'll be into point of no return territory where it will take me a year or more to dig my way out of.

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14 hours ago, Jo498 said:

How on earth did you get the rugby idea?

Outsider's perspective I guess. One stereotype you hear here is that rugby is why American football isn't played in more places. Who knows if that's true, but you will hear football talking heads say that. 

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With rowing it is more complicated. As said, the Eight of Germany or the UK are objects of national pride and you will probably have a rowing club in every city with a lake or river. But I doubt that participation is even remotely comparable to tennis or the "simpler" endurance sports like swimming, cycling, running.

Again, likely from stereotyping. A lot of sports that are seen as affluent here can be associated with the UK, and rowing is certainly one of them. As far as I'm aware, rowing is mainly just a sport played at Ivy League and East coast colleges and universities. And when you hear about tournaments, there are often teams from the UK involved. 

13 hours ago, baxus said:

Football is huge in all of Europe but there are quite a few sports that are very popular in some European countries and almost non-existent in other European countries.

For example, very few people in UK care about basketball while it's huge almost everywhere else. Ice hockey is very popular in Russia, Scandinavian countries, Czech Republic (or is it Czechia now?), Slovakia and a few other countries and it's not even on the map in the rest of Europe.

That's not surprising. It's the same here, where lots of sports are regional. I come from a place where hockey is the end all be all of sports, but it's not played seriously in most places. Football and basketball are really the only sports that are played everywhere with high enthusiasm, and that's not even entirely true of the latter. Baseball used to be, but it's becoming much more of a regional sport these days. 

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A friend of a friend used to play handball and went to US on some student exchange program. No one he met in the US has ever even heard of handball.

Yup. I had to look it up and then remembered I saw it during the Olympics. Looks pretty fun TBH. 

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futbol, football, Fußball, calcio... is the main reason American football is not popular elsewhere. I wonder about the history of rugby on the continent. To me it seemed non-existing (it certainly is in the normal German media), that is, I knew that it was played in Britain, I am surprised that France is so good there. Although a quick check reveals that it is the only non-commonwealth nation with considerable success.

Rowing is not really an elite sport in Germany. Germany never had the equivalent to Oxbridge or the Ivy League and while there are sports in HS and at university, they don't really play a role comparable to some other countries (and sports was never really mixed with academics here; I guess the Germans lost WWI because they had not been steeled on the playing fields of Eton or Rugby) . With rowing clubs people don't need to buy their own rowing boats. Sure, it is not "plebeian" as football but not as elite as e.g. tennis used to be until the Becker-triggered boom of the mid/late 1980s

Handball has an interesting history. Until the 1950/60s it was mainly played outside on a soccer field (but with smaller goals, I think) with 11 players. Because this was apparently rather boring and because of the inclement weather in the central/northern European countries where it was popular it moved inside and turned into a rather different fast-paced game. Before women's soccer became a thing it was the most popular analogue to football for girls in Germany (and probably many other European countries).

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I placed third in a fencing competition today. There were only seven other people competing in my weapon, but still. Very happy to get my first medal, and whilst I'm still very much a beginner, I'm happy with the progress I've been making. Best of all, I came away with a couple of solid learning points to work on. So yeah, a good day.

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Nice @Liffguard.  My son will be fencing with a club at his new school starting in a few weeks.  I’m hoping his weapons training at TaeKwonDo gives him a foundation but I think the footwork and technique will be very different. 

Just to clarify, but all the references above to handball mean the sport that combines basketball and soccer, not the one that’s like outdoor racquetball/squash without a racquet?  Is the latter only played in Ireland and New York?

For countries that don’t have rugby or American football, what sport is played by those with a heavy build?  That body type would struggle with soccer, tennis, basketball, handball, field hockey, track, etc but seems too commonplace to not have a popular sport that suits. 

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34 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Nice @Liffguard.  My son will be fencing with a club at his new school starting in a few weeks.  I’m hoping his weapons training at TaeKwonDo gives him a foundation but I think the footwork and technique will be very different. 

Yeah it's definitely the footwork that throws most beginners off, and is the hardest thing to master. I can't really think of any other activity that has similar footwork. But it really is so much fun, I'm sure your son will love it.

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I guess you could describe handball as a mix between basketball and soccer. I was not aware of the ambiguity, anyway it is this sport here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handball

I don't think all that many people have such "heavy build" naturally (most of us are not Samoans), i.e. without lots steroids (kidding) or specialized training, especially not as teenagers when most nonprofessional team sports take place. So depending on what and how one trains one might not develop such a heavy build or will in spite of it develop enough aerobic capacity and agility to do well in soccer or basketball. Many of them can still play defensive positions or goalie in soccer, probably also ice hockey. Or they have to forego team sports and do something else like shot put, weight lifting, maybe rowing or boxing.

But it is an interesting point. Maybe one reason why soccer is so immensely popular throughout the world is that it can accomodate lots of body types even at a professional level. I mean, what other professional sport could someone like Maradona (very short and slightly stocky) have excelled in? But even then, if one is slim/slight for ones age and not very fast and agile, one will typically not be good at any popular team sport.

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On 9/22/2018 at 12:22 AM, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

Yup. I had to look it up and then remembered I saw it during the Olympics. Looks pretty fun TBH. 

I've tried it out a couple of times and don't like it. It can be quite fun but it is quite rough and even dirty.

12 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

For countries that don’t have rugby or American football, what sport is played by those with a heavy build?  That body type would struggle with soccer, tennis, basketball, handball, field hockey, track, etc but seems too commonplace to not have a popular sport that suits. 

Handball is pretty popular, as is water polo. There's also weightlifting, all kinds of martial arts and some other stuff that's nowhere near as popular as football, basketball etc.

To be perfectly honest though, playing sports is not that big in Serbia. I mean, we do have some great athletes and all that but an average man is much more likely to watch those incredible athletes on TV than he is to play a sport with his friends. And the situation with women playing sports is even worse.

 

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Handball is said to be more rough and dirty than soccer which seems hard to believe at first. Fortunately I never had do play it at school. In my school time in the 1980s and in my region of Germany it was clearly the second favorite after soccer and professionally the local clubs were doing far better than the soccer clubs, several playing in the first German handball league, I think. (Although the best team from the major town is a basketball team and has been for decades.)

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Oh, it's clearly rougher and dirtier than football, hands down. I mean, all the grabbing, dragging, pushing, elbows/punching in ribs...

I don't mind a rough sport but the line between rough and dirty is so blurry in handball that it just never appealed to me. 

Also, a major drawback in handball is that refs can easily determine the winner. Every now and again you can see it plainly, even though you're no expert.

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If one has to wear glasses no sport involving a ball is really very good... my favorite in school was volleyball but I was never tall enough to play it competitively (and my decen aerobic capacity as a kid was also wasted there).

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Shame.  Regret.  Self-loathing.

I ate a disgusting amount of chocolate cake last week.  My wife bought a cake for my birthday, but she and our son only had a small slice each.  They are bizarrely indifferent to chocolate cake.  So there I was, exhausted from jet lag and no reserves of will power to resist, eating the entire cake slice by slice, night by night.  This was not a small or lightweight cake.

Our vacation had already left me with ten days of unhealthy eating, and then I added another five.  Now I really need to clean up my diet and shed a few pounds.

I got back to the gym at the weekend for my first heavy weights in three weeks.  It went pretty well.  Just slightly below my PB levels immediately prior to vacation, but pretty respectable and still leaves my room to progressively improve again.  Lots of muscle soreness afterward though, much more than I experienced prior to vacation.

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After watching a few more clips, I would absolutely play handball. It looks like a blast. 

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I know that feeling, I recently did the same thing with my birthday cake. Plus it's like, you know, for your birthday so you feel extra entitled to it, as if the universe is just going to ignore that it's unhealthy because it's your birthday. Sounds like you're doing well with your workouts though, even with all the traveling, and I'm sure it'll be fine!

I made it to the gym today for the first time in a few weeks. Now I have limp noodle arms. Not sure how I'm going to wash my hair. :lol: Unfortunately I won't be getting back into tip-top shape soon as I am having surgery on Thursday to remove a cyst from my wrist. This will limit my upper body workouts, and anything involving gripping with both hands, for weeks (not sure exactly how long I can expect for recovery). Ah well. I'll be glad to have the damn thing gone, it's really been irritating me for over a year now. I had this same surgery in college and all was well for a while, but it was a persistent little guy and came back. Hopefully I don't have to do this again in another 11 years.

Also I noticed one of the feet on my scale at home had become lopsided. I straightened it out, and weighed myself again, and it was about 4 pounds more. So I've been underweighing myself for an indeterminate amount of time now! I know it's just a number and doesn't change anything about my actual body, but it's still really disheartening and means I actually need to lose TEN pounds. 

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1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Shame.  Regret.  Self-loathing.

I ate a disgusting amount of chocolate cake last week.  My wife bought a cake for my birthday, but she and our son only had a small slice each.  They are bizarrely indifferent to chocolate cake.  So there I was, exhausted from jet lag and no reserves of will power to resist, eating the entire cake slice by slice, night by night.  This was not a small or lightweight cake.

Our vacation had already left me with ten days of unhealthy eating, and then I added another five.  Now I really need to clean up my diet and shed a few pounds.

I'm sorry, but this is a hilarious visual to imagine. I kind of picture it like this:

 

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19 minutes ago, Starkess said:

I know that feeling, I recently did the same thing with my birthday cake. Plus it's like, you know, for your birthday so you feel extra entitled to it, as if the universe is just going to ignore that it's unhealthy because it's your birthday. Sounds like you're doing well with your workouts though, even with all the traveling, and I'm sure it'll be fine!

I made it to the gym today for the first time in a few weeks. Now I have limp noodle arms. Not sure how I'm going to wash my hair. :lol: Unfortunately I won't be getting back into tip-top shape soon as I am having surgery on Thursday to remove a cyst from my wrist. This will limit my upper body workouts, and anything involving gripping with both hands, for weeks (not sure exactly how long I can expect for recovery). Ah well. I'll be glad to have the damn thing gone, it's really been irritating me for over a year now. I had this same surgery in college and all was well for a while, but it was a persistent little guy and came back. Hopefully I don't have to do this again in another 11 years.

Also I noticed one of the feet on my scale at home had become lopsided. I straightened it out, and weighed myself again, and it was about 4 pounds more. So I've been underweighing myself for an indeterminate amount of time now! I know it's just a number and doesn't change anything about my actual body, but it's still really disheartening and means I actually need to lose TEN pounds. 

Best of luck with that surgery.  Sounds like an unfortunate interruption to exercise.  Didn't you say you were returning to school/work too?  I can't imagine that's helpful for typing or writing.

I still have not contacted the sports physician about my hamstring.  Obviously work travel and vacation was a big distraction, but I'm kind of hoping it will just get better itself.  Even though it's now 4-5 months.  Stop procrastinating!!

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