Advances in sport equipment have revolutionized athletic competition with engineers developing equipment that can enhance performance. However, not all athletes are able to benefit from the new, ideal equipment, with some athletes performing worse. Although the engineering may be sound, the interaction between the piece of equipment, the athlete, and the action is missing. The purely mechanical system of the piece of equipment becomes a biomechanical system once it is interacting with the athlete. Research into the underlying mechanisms of performance in sport has relied heavily on biomechanical studies. The review of these studies has identified important performance and injury variables that can be influenced by sport equipment. This baseline information helps provide a fundamental understanding of human performance that guide equipment designers and developers. A flawlessly engineered mechanical piece of sport equipment can still fail if the athlete–equipment interaction is not properly addressed in the design process. How an athlete uses a piece of equipment and furthermore how an athlete may change or adapt to changes in properties of a piece of equipment must be taken into consideration.
Using properties of footwear as an example, research has provided understanding of the biomechanical limiting factors regarding the influence of footwear traction on athletic performance. Data on other footwear properties such as cushioning and forefoot bending stiffness are limited. Intrinsic musculoskeletal properties, such as the force–length and force–velocity relationships of skeletal muscle, can be exploited through equipment design, as has been shown during cycling. Modifications to equipment parameters can shift the operating range of an athlete within these relationships to maximize force or power output, which was shown during the development of the clap skate. Additionally, these properties vary slightly from athlete to athlete and minor adjustments to a piece of sporting equipment can help optimize individual athletes according to their specific biomechanical characteristics.
Back in the days before Spandex and aerobics, when there were no health clubs or high-tech exercise machines, people who wanted to get fit did calisthenics. Staples of the military, sports teams and gym classes, these basic conditioning exercises–push-ups and pull-ups and the like–were considered the best way to get strong and fit. In fact, the popularity of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s calisthenics program in the late 1950s helped launch the modern fitness movement.
Since the 1960s, the nature of recreational physical fitness activity in the United States has changed considerably. By 2000, private fitness centers were ubiquitous features on the American landscape. Increasingly centralized ownership characterized the field from 1970 onward. Men and, more significantly, women, joined, left, and rejoined these ever-more mechanized establishments. Images of health, beauty, professional success, and sexuality emphasized athleticism and muscle tone. Fitness took on an especially powerful meaning to women affected by the burgeoning feminist movement, their new economic roles, the rise of women‘s sports, and the volatile marital and social environment. Fitness centers also emerged as social centers where people went to see and meet members of the opposite or same sex. Paradoxically, as this greater focus on the body and formalized exercise occurred for some, a larger portion of the population grew increasingly unhealthy and obesity became a problem among all age cohorts.
Today, fitness gyms and private health clubs are a huge global business. Fitness has turned into a folk movement, but not one comparable to the old 20th-century movements, often connected to national sentiments, but instead a highly individualized preoccupation.
The bicycle festival VELOBerlin has been established in 2011 by Messe Friedrichshafen, organizer of world’s leading trade fair EUROBIKE, and the Berlin based bicycle agency Velokonzept, as the leading public bicycle show in the German capital, with an impact not only on consumers, but also on politics and the media.
The VeloBerlin is a visitors’ fair all about bicycles and urban mobility. At the former Tempelhof Airport, around 500 international brands and over 270 exhibitors will present the complete range of bicycles, including city and trekking bikes, e-bikes, single speeders, mountain bikes and racing bikes (also with electric drive), children’s and youth bikes as well as special bikes. Visitors will have the opportunity to buy the bicycles and accessories on offer at the trade fair.
Several theme-specific special shows present innovations and trends in the bicycle industry at VeloBerlin. Suppliers of “bike boxes”, for example, will show how bicycles will be protected in the future. The “Smart Cycling” exhibition offers an overview of innovations in the field of “networked bicycles”. In the supporting programme, visitors can find out about worldwide bicycle travel, e-mobility and ergonomics.
Exhibitors from Germany and all over the world will be presenting facets of the bike market, and current models from the manufacturers can be tested on various test tracks and courses.
There will be a programme of experts, bike shows and ‘hands-on’ activities, as well as events on special topics to provide information and networking opportunities for visitors.
Competitions on racing bikes, fixed-gear bikes, and cargo bikes as well as BMX, bike trial, bike polo, cycleball and artistic cycling tournaments will also take place.
After seven years at the Messe Berlin fairgrounds, VELOBerlin has moved to Tempelhof Airport in 2018. The great atmosphere, the historic magnitude and the vast possibilities of the former city airport fit just perfect to the new concept of VELOBerlin: to attract the best bicycle exhibitors in the exhibition areas of URBAN & ELECTRO, LIFESTYLE & PERFORMANCE, TRAVEL & ADVENTURES, and offering great TESTING opportunities as well as thrilling SIDE-EVENTS such as bike races, shows, group rides and an exciting stage program with experts, bike travelers and panel guests.
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