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Hang in there! Climbing towards a new normal in sport and exercise medicine and sports physiotherapy
  1. Arnlaug Wangensteen1,2,
  2. Hilde Moseby Berge1,3
  1. 1 Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2 Norges Idrettsmedisinske Institutt (NIMI), Oslo, Norway
  3. 3 The Norwegian Olympic Sports Center (Olympiatoppen), Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arnlaug Wangensteen, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, PB 4014 Ullevål Stadion, 0806 Oslo, Norway; Arnlaug.Wangensteen{at}

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Introduction: climbing towards a new normality (and opportunity for new perspectives)

Flatanger in the middle of Norway is known for some of the hardest climbing routes in the world. The spectacular Hanshelleren cave (figure 1) is referred to as the ‘crown jewel’ in this area, attracting climbers from all over the world to test their physical and mental strength on high-quality rock. When you stand at the bottom, the massive overwhelming granite structure may appear frightening and entirely insurmountable. However, if you climb up and inside the cave, the perspective changes, revealing a stunning view of the fiords and the surroundings.

Figure 1

From Flatanger cave (Norway), Lars Ole Gudvang climbs the route Nordic Flower (8c). Photographer: Henning Wang. Permission obtained.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have seemed as scary and frightening to us as standing at the bottom of the Hanshelleren cave. We have taken a significant fall:

  • Professional sport has been postponed or cancelled.

  • Gyms have been closed.

  • Children and youth sports and activities have been put on hold.

Now, we are standing at the bottom of the cave facing a steep climb ahead. At the time of writing, the society in Norway is about to reopen. The athletic population is gradually returning to their sporting activities, in the setting of a new kind of normality.

In this issue, we therefore focus on returning to sport from a variety of perspectives. We place particular emphasis on the athlete’s heart, as the evidence regarding cardiorespiratory complications and/or consequences following COVID-19 is yet unclear.

Sit less, move more and more often!

Lockdown and quarantine life have had a negative impact on …

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