Performance medicine

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Performance Medicine is a sub-speciality of clinical and diagnostic medicine that is focussed on the optimisation of emotional, mental, and emotional performance in (but not limited to) athletes. It aims to maximise human performance in terms of endurance,[1] physical fitness,[2] basal metabolic rate [3] and the ability to resist, postpone or prevent disease and/or injury.[4] It is a new and innovative medical speciality that merges the goals of internal medicine, anti-ageing medicine, functional medicine, sports medicine and preventative health care.

The J curve demonstrates the relationship between performance or longevity (NX) and exposure to any given environmental factor (such as exercise) over time. Performance or longevity is improved at A compared to B. At C improvement with time deteriorates until a negative or harmful effect is predicted.

The goals of performance medicine have been summarised and include the following:

  1. a focus on maintaining an individuals endurance capacity, strength and speed throughout adult life
  2. the maximisation of an individuals metabolic efficiency
  3. the adoption of strategies that increase an individuals resistance to disease and postpone or prevent disease where possible

Performance medicine differs fundamentally from other areas of medicine by focusing on the healthy non-injured individual that is at low risk of sub-clinical or clinical disease. This population of individuals respond poorly to the current medical paradigm.

Performance medicine physicians aim to measure physiological and biochemical performance over time and to modify exposure to environmental factors in such a way that an individuals health is optimised by operating at the "sweet spot" on their J- curve where both performance and longevity are maximimised. (see J-curve illustration for further explanation).

Improving Adaptation in Athletes[edit]

The basis of Performance Medicine in improving athletic performance lies in the understanding that the functions of the immune system, nervous system, hormonal system, and digestive system govern adaptation to training. All environmental stimuli (including training and nutrition) are processed by these systems, which will then respond with adaptation. It is therefore the functions of these systems, which determine the result of all training stimuli.

Performance Medicine is to be clearly distinguished from sports science and sports coaching, which is mostly concerned with the optimal composition of training stimuli. In Performance Medicine the main concern is the functional status of the athlete's adaptive systems.

Domains[edit]

  1. Specialty: Performance Medicine
  2. Diagnostic clinic: Performance Medicine Lab
  3. Promotion and Education
  4. Clinical Research

Organisations[edit]

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References[edit]

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