Brief Morning Light Exposure, Visuomotor Performance, and Biochemistry in Sport Shooters

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Context:

Demands on concentrative and cognitive performance are high in sport shooting and vary in a circadian pattern, aroused by internal and external stimuli. The most prominent external stimulus is light. Bright light (BL) has been shown to have a certain impact on cognitive and physical performance.

Purpose:

To evaluate the impact of a single half hour of BL exposure in the morning hours on physical and cognitive performance in 15 sport shooters. In addition, courses of sulfateoxymelatonin (aMT6s), tryptophan (TRP), and kynurenine (KYN) were monitored.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 15 sport shooters were exposed to 30 min of BL and dim light (DL) in the early-morning hours. Shooting performance, balance, visuomotor performance, and courses of aMT6s, TRP, and KYN were evaluated.

Results:

Shooting performance was 365.4 (349.7–381.0) and 368.5 (353.9–383.1), identical in both light setups. Numbers of right reactions (sustained attention) and deviations from the horizontal plane (balance-related measure) were higher after BL. TRP concentrations decreased from 77.5 (73.5–81.4) to 66.9 (60.7–67.0) in the DL setup only.

Conclusions:

The 2 light conditions generated heterogeneous visuomotor and physiological effects in sport shooters. The authors therefore suggest that a single half hour of BL exposure is effective in improving cognitive aspects of performance, but not physical performance. Further research is needed to evaluate BL’s impact on biochemical parameters.

Leichtfried and Schobersberger are with the Inst for Sports Medicine, and Hanser, the Inst of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tyrol, Austria. Griesmacher is with the Central Inst of Medical and Chemical Diagnostics, University Hospital of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Canazei is with the Dept of Visual Perception, Bartenbach GmbH, Aldrans, Austria.

Address author correspondence to Veronika Leichtfried at veronika.leichtfried@umit.at.