Purpose : Although wearing a wetsuit while swimming, when permitted, is primarily for safety reasons (ie, to protect against hypothermia), changes in buoyancy, biomechanics, and exercise performance have been reported. This narrative review covers the benefits of different wetsuit models on performance in swimming and triathlon. Methods : A computer search of online databases was conducted to locate relevant published research until March 2021. After the screening process, 17 studies were selected for analysis. Results : Most of the selected studies involved pool swimmers or triathletes completing short or middle distances in a pool while using a full or a long sleeveless wetsuit. Swimming with wetsuit elicited significant improvements in performance (maximum 11%), mainly by decreasing drag and energy cost, by increasing buoyancy, and by affecting technique. Different rates of change in each factor were found according to swimming ability and wetsuit model. In addition, wearing a wetsuit was often rated as uncomfortable by athletes. Conclusions : Although improvement in swimming performance by wearing a wetsuit has been reported in the literature, the amplitude of the improvement remains questionable. The enhancement in swimming performance is attributable merely to improvements in propulsion proficiency and buoyancy, as well as a reduction in drag. The extent to which athletes are familiar with the use of a wetsuit, their swimming ability, and the wetsuit model may play important roles in this improvement. More studies simulating competition and comparing elite versus nonelite athletes are needed.
Claudio Quagliarotti, Matteo Cortesi, Giorgio Gatta, Marco Bonifazi, Paola Zamparo, Roberto Baldassarre, Veronica Vleck, and Maria Francesca Piacentini
Yasuki Sekiguchi, Courteney L. Benjamin, Samantha O. Dion, Ciara N. Manning, Jeb F. Struder, Erin E. Dierickx, Margaret C. Morrissey, Erica M. Filep, and Douglas J. Casa
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of heat acclimation (HA) on thirst levels, sweat rate, and percentage of body mass loss (%BML), and changes in fluid intake factors throughout HA induction. Twenty-eight male endurance athletes (mean ± SD; age, 35 ± 12 years; body mass, 73.0 ± 8.9 kg; maximal oxygen consumption, 57.4 ± 6.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed 60 min of exercise in a euhydrated state at 58.9 ± 2.3% velocity of maximal oxygen consumption in the heat (ambient temperature, 35.0 ± 1.3 °C; relative humidity, 48.0 ± 1.3%) prior to and following HA where thirst levels, sweat rate, and %BML were measured. Then, participants performed 5 days of HA while held at hyperthermia (38.50–39.75 °C) for 60 min with fluid provided ad libitum. Sweat volume, %BML, thirst levels, and fluid intake were measured for each session. Thirst levels were significantly lower following HA (pre, 4 ± 1; post, 3 ± 1, p < .001). Sweat rate (pre, 1.76 ± 0.42 L/hr; post, 2.00 ± 0.60 L/hr, p = .039) and %BML (pre, 2.66 ± 0.53%; post, 2.98 ± 0.83%, p = .049) were significantly greater following HA. During HA, thirst levels decreased (Day 1, 4 ± 1; Day 2, 3 ± 2; Day 3, 3 ± 2; Day 4, 3 ± 1; Day 5, 3 ± 1; p < .001). However, sweat volume (Day 1, 2.34 ± 0.67 L; Day 2, 2.49 ± 0.58 L; Day 3, 2.67 ± 0.63 L; Day 4, 2.74 ± 0.61 L; Day 5, 2.74 ± 0.91 L; p = .010) and fluid intake (Day 1, 1.20 ± 0.45 L; Day 2, 1.52 ± 0.58 L; Day 3, 1.69 ± 0.63 L; Day 4, 1.65 ± 0.58 L; Day 5, 1.74 ± 0.51 L; p < .001) increased. In conclusion, thirst levels were lower following HA even though sweat rate and %BML were higher. Thirst levels decreased while sweat volume and fluid intake increased during HA induction. Thus, HA should be one of the factors to consider when planning hydration strategies.
Jeffrey J. Martin, Erin E. Snapp, E. Whitney G. Moore, Lauren J. Lieberman, Ellen Armstrong, and Staci Mannella
Youth with visual impairments (VIs) often experience unique barriers to physical activity compared with their sighted peers. A psychometrically sound scale for assessing barriers to physical activity for youth with VI is needed to facilitate research. The purpose of this study was to confirm the ability of the previously identified three-factor structure of the Physical Activity Barriers Questionnaire for youth with Visual Impairments (PABQ-VI) to produce scores considered to be valid and reliable that perform equally well across age, VI severity, and gender. Our results supported the three-factor structure and that the PABQ-VI produces scores considered valid and reliable. Mean, variance, and correlation differences were found in personal, social, and environmental barriers for age and VI severity, but not gender. Researchers can use the PABQ-VI to test and evaluate ways to reduce barriers for this population.
Antoine Raberin, Elie Nader, Jorge Lopez Ayerbe, Patrick Mucci, Vincent Pialoux, Henri Meric, Philippe Connes, and Fabienne Durand
This study aimed to investigate the changes in blood viscosity, pulmonary hemodynamics, nitric oxide (NO) production, and maximal oxygen uptake (
Cindy M.T. van der Avoort, Luc J.C. van Loon, Lex B. Verdijk, Paul P.C. Poyck, Dick T.J. Thijssen, and Maria T.E. Hopman
Previous studies have used supplements to increase dietary nitrate intake in clinical populations. Little is known about whether effects can also be induced through vegetable consumption. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the impact of dietary nitrate, through nitrate-rich vegetables (NRV) and beetroot juice (BRJ) supplementation, on plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations, exercise tolerance, muscle oxygenation, and cardiovascular function in patients with peripheral arterial disease. In a randomized crossover design, 18 patients with peripheral arterial disease (age: 73 ± 8 years) followed a nitrate intake protocol (∼6.5 mmol) through the consumption of NRV, BRJ, and nitrate-depleted BRJ (placebo). Blood samples were taken, blood pressure and arterial stiffness were measured in fasted state and 150 min after intervention. Each intervention was followed by a maximal walking exercise test to determine claudication onset time and peak walking time. Gastrocnemius oxygenation was measured by near-infrared spectroscopy. Blood samples were taken and blood pressure was measured 10 min after exercise. Mean plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations increased (nitrate; Time × Intervention interaction; p < .001), with the highest concentrations after BRJ (494 ± 110 μmol/L) compared with NRV (202 ± 89 μmol/L) and placebo (80 ± 19 μmol/L; p < .001). Mean claudication onset time and peak walking time did not differ between NRV (413 ± 187 s and 745 ± 220 s, respectively), BRJ (392 ± 154 s and 746 ± 176 s), and placebo (403 ± 176 s and 696 ± 222 s) (p = .762 and p = .165, respectively). Gastrocnemius oxygenation, blood pressure, and arterial stiffness were not affected by the intervention. NRV and BRJ intake markedly increase plasma nitrate and nitrite, but this does not translate to improved exercise tolerance, muscle oxygenation, and/or cardiovascular function.
Oriana Wong, Keiko Marshall, Marc Sicova, Nanci S. Guest, Bibiana García-Bailo, and Ahmed El-Sohemy
Caffeine is commonly used to improve athletic performance across a variety of sports. Previously, the CYP1A2 gene has been shown to modify the effects of caffeine on endurance performance. The effect of caffeine on strength and power activities is unclear and may differ depending on an individual’s CYP1A2 genotype. A randomized controlled trial was used to determine whether caffeine impacts strength and power, determined by the handgrip and vertical jump tests, respectively, and whether CYP1A2 genotype modifies any effects. Competitive male athletes (age = 25 ± 4 years) completed vertical jump (n = 97), and handgrip tests (n = 102) under three conditions: 0 (placebo), 2, or 4 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body mass (in milligrams per kilogram). CYP1A2 (rs762551) genotype was determined from saliva samples. No differences between caffeine doses and placebo were observed for strength or power; however, significant Caffeine × Gene interactions were observed for all exercise tests. Individuals with the CC genotype experienced a 12.8% decrease in handgrip strength with 4 mg/kg of caffeine compared with placebo (53 ± 11 kg vs. 61 ± 17 kg, p = .02). No differences were observed in those with the AC or AA genotypes. Despite observing a significant Caffeine × Gene interaction for vertical jump performance, no differences were observed between caffeine doses and placebo for all genotypes. In summary, caffeine (4 mg/kg) worsened handgrip strength performance in those with the CC genotype, but no differences were observed in those with the AC or AA genotypes. Athletes may want to consider their CYP1A2 genotype prior to using caffeine to improve muscle strength.
Jaison L. Wynne and Patrick B. Wilson
Beer is used to socialize postexercise, celebrate sport victory, and commiserate postdefeat. Rich in polyphenols, beer has antioxidant effects when consumed in moderation, but its alcohol content may confer some negative effects. Despite beer’s popularity, no review has explored its effects on exercise performance, recovery, and adaptation. Thus, a systematic literature search of three databases (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science) was conducted by two reviewers. The search resulted in 16 studies that were appraised and reviewed. The mean PEDro score was 5.1. When individuals are looking to rehydrate postexercise, a low-alcohol beer (<4%) may be more effective. If choosing a beer higher in alcoholic content (>4%), it is advised to pair this with a nonalcoholic option to limit diuresis, particularly when relatively large volumes of fluid (>700 ml) are consumed. Adding Na+ to alcoholic beer may improve rehydration by decreasing fluid losses, but palatability may decrease. These conclusions are largely based on studies that standardized beverage volume, and the results may not apply equally to situations where people ingest fluids and food ad libitum. Ingesting nonalcoholic, polyphenol-rich beer could be an effective strategy for preventing respiratory infections during heavy training. If consumed in moderation, body composition and strength qualities seem largely unaffected by beer. Mixed results that limit sweeping conclusions are owed to variations in study design (i.e., hydration and exercise protocols). Future research should incorporate exercise protocols with higher ecological validity, recruit more women, prioritize chronic study designs, and use ad libitum fluid replacement protocols for more robust conclusions.
Margot A. Rogers, Michael K. Drew, Renee Appaneal, Greg Lovell, Bronwen Lundy, David Hughes, Nicole Vlahovich, Gordon Waddington, and Louise M. Burke
The Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire (LEAF-Q) was validated to identify risk of the female athlete triad (triad) in female endurance athletes. This study explored the ability of the LEAF-Q to detect conditions related to low energy availability (LEA) in a mixed sport cohort of female athletes. Data included the LEAF-Q, SCOFF Questionnaire for disordered eating, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry-derived body composition and bone mineral density, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, blood pressure, and blood metabolic and reproductive hormones. Participants were grouped according to LEAF-Q score (≥8 or <8), and a comparison of means was undertaken. Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of the overall score and subscale scores were calculated in relation to the triad and biomarkers relevant to LEA. Fisher’s exact test explored differences in prevalence of these conditions between groups. Seventy-five athletes (18–32 years) participated. Mean LEAF-Q score was 8.0 ± 4.2 (55% scored ≥8). Injury and menstrual function subscale scores identified low bone mineral density (100% sensitivity, 95% confidence interval [15.8%, 100%]) and menstrual dysfunction (80.0% sensitivity, 95% confidence interval [28.4%, 99.5%]), respectively. The gastrointestinal subscale did not detect surrogate markers of LEA. LEAF-Q score cannot be used to classify athletes as “high risk” of conditions related to LEA, nor can it be used as a surrogate diagnostic tool for LEA given the low specificity identified. Our study supports its use as a screening tool to rule out risk of LEA-related conditions or to create selective low-risk groups that do not need management as there were generally high negative predictive values (range 76.5–100%) for conditions related to LEA.
Bent R. Rønnestad, Joar Hansen, Thomas C. Bonne, and Carsten Lundby
Purpose: The present case report aimed to investigate the effects of exercise training in temperate ambient conditions while wearing a heat suit on hemoglobin mass (Hbmass). Methods: As part of their training regimens, 5 national-team members of endurance sports (3 males) performed ∼5 weekly heat suit exercise training sessions each lasting 50 minutes for a duration of ∼8 weeks. Two other male athletes acted as controls. After the initial 8-week period, 3 of the athletes continued for 2 to 4 months with ∼3 weekly heat sessions in an attempt to maintain acquired adaptations at a lower cost. Hbmass was assessed in duplicate before and after intervention and maintenance period based on automated carbon monoxide rebreathing. Results: Heat suit exercise training increased rectal temperature to a median value of 38.7°C (range 38.6°C–39.0°C), and during the initial ∼8 weeks of heat suit training, there was a median increase of 5% (range 1.4%–12.9%) in Hbmass, while the changes in the 2 control athletes were a decrease of 1.7% and an increase of 3.2%, respectively. Furthermore, during the maintenance period, the 3 athletes who continued with a reduced number of heat suit sessions experienced a change of 0.7%, 2.8%, and −1.1%, indicating that it is possible to maintain initial increases in Hbmass despite reducing the weekly number of heat suit sessions. Conclusions: The present case report illustrates that heat suit exercise training acutely raises rectal temperature and that following 8 weeks of such training Hbmass may increase in elite endurance athletes.