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Andreas M. Kasper, S. Andy Sparks, Matthew Hooks, Matthew Skeer, Benjamin Webb, Houman Nia, James P. Morton and Graeme L. Close

Rugby is characterized by frequent high-intensity collisions, resulting in muscle soreness. Players consequently seek strategies to reduce soreness and accelerate recovery, with an emerging method being cannabidiol (CBD), despite anti-doping risks. The prevalence and rationale for CBD use in rugby has not been explored; therefore, we recruited professional male players to complete a survey on CBD. Goodness of fit chi-square (χ2) was used to assess CBD use between codes and player position. Effects of age on use were determined using χ2 tests of independence. Twenty-five teams provided 517 player responses. While the majority of players had never used CBD (p < .001, V = 0.24), 26% had either used it (18%) or were still using it (8%). Significantly more CBD use was observed in rugby union compared with rugby league (p = .004, V = 0.13), but player position was not a factor (p = .760, V = 0.013). CBD use increased with players’ age (p < .001, V = 0.28), with mean use reaching 41% in the players aged 28 years and older category (p < .0001). The players using CBD primarily used the Internet (73%) or another teammate (61%) to obtain information, with only 16% consulting a nutritionist. The main reasons for CBD use were improving recovery/pain (80%) and sleep (78%), with 68% of players reporting a perceived benefit. These data highlight the need for immediate education on the risks of CBD, as well as the need to explore the claims regarding pain and sleep.

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William Boyer, James Churilla, Amy Miller, Trevor Gillum and Marshare Penny

Background: The effects of aerobic physical activity (PA) and muscular strengthening activity (MSA) on all-cause mortality risk need further exploration among ethnically diverse populations. Purpose: To examine potential effect modification of race-ethnicity on meeting the PA guidelines and on all-cause mortality. Methods: The study sample (N = 14,384) included adults (20–79 y of age) from the 1999–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. PA was categorized into 6 categories based on the 2018 PA guidelines: category 1 (inactive), category 2 (insufficient PA and no MSA), category 3 (active and no MSA), category 4 (no PA and sufficient MSA), category 5 (insufficient PA and sufficient MSA), and category 6 (meeting both recommendations). Race-ethnic groups examined included non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Mexican American. Cox-proportional hazard models were used. Results: Significant risk reductions were found for categories 2, 3, and 6 for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black. Among Mexican American, significant risk reductions were found in category 6. Conclusion: In support of the 2018 PA guidelines, meeting both the aerobic PA and MSA guidelines significantly reduced risk for all-cause mortality independent of race-ethnicity. The effects of aerobic PA alone seem to be isolated to non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black.

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Jessica G. Hunter, Alexander M.B. Smith, Lena M. Sciarratta, Stephen Suydam, Jae Kun Shim and Ross H. Miller

Studies of running mechanics often use a standardized lab shoe, ostensibly to reduce variance between subjects; however, this may induce unnatural running mechanics. The purpose of this study was to compare the step rate, vertical average loading rate, and ground contact time when running in standardized lab shoes versus participants’ normal running shoes. Ground reaction forces were measured while the participants ran overground in both shoe conditions at a self-selected speed. The Student’s t-test revealed that the vertical average loading rate magnitude was smaller in lab shoes versus normal shoes (42.09 [11.08] vs 47.35 [10.81] body weight/s, P = .013), while the step rate (170.92 [9.43] vs 168.98 [9.63] steps/min, P = .053) and ground contact time were similar (253 [25] vs 251 [20] ms, P = .5227) and the variance of all outcomes was similar in lab shoes versus normal shoes. Our results indicate that using standardized lab shoes during testing may underestimate the loads runners actually experience during their typical mileage.

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Benjamin J. Narang, Greg Atkinson, Javier T. Gonzalez and James A. Betts

The analysis of time series data is common in nutrition and metabolism research for quantifying the physiological responses to various stimuli. The reduction of many data from a time series into a summary statistic(s) can help quantify and communicate the overall response in a more straightforward way and in line with a specific hypothesis. Nevertheless, many summary statistics have been selected by various researchers, and some approaches are still complex. The time-intensive nature of such calculations can be a burden for especially large data sets and may, therefore, introduce computational errors, which are difficult to recognize and correct. In this short commentary, the authors introduce a newly developed tool that automates many of the processes commonly used by researchers for discrete time series analysis, with particular emphasis on how the tool may be implemented within nutrition and exercise science research.

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Daniel H. Aslan, Joshua M. Collette and Justus D. Ortega

The decline of walking performance is a key determinant of morbidity among older adults. Healthy older adults have been shown to have a 15–20% lower walking economy compared with young adults. However, older adults who run for exercise have a higher walking economy compared with older adults who walk for exercise. Yet, it remains unclear if other aerobic exercises yield similar improvements on walking economy. The purpose of this study was to determine if regular bicycling exercise affects walking economy in older adults. We measured metabolic rate while 33 older adult “bicyclists” or “walkers” and 16 young adults walked on a level treadmill at four speeds between (0.75–1.75 m/s). Across the range of speeds, older bicyclists had a 9–17% greater walking economy compared with older walkers (p = .009). In conclusion, bicycling exercise mitigates the age-related deterioration of walking economy, whereas walking for exercise has a minimal effect on improving walking economy.

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Damiano Formenti, Luca Cavaggioni, Marco Duca, Athos Trecroci, Mattia Rapelli, Giampietro Alberti, John Komar and Pierpaolo Iodice

Background: Recent evidence has suggested that chronic physical activities including balance exercises have positive effects on cognition, but their acute effects are still unknown. In the present study, the authors tested the hypothesis that an acute bout of balance exercise would enhance cognitive performance compared with aerobic activity. Methods: A total of 20 healthy middle-aged adults completed 2 acute 30-minute balance and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise sessions on 2 counterbalanced separate occasions. To assess cognitive functions, performance tasks in executive control, perceptual speed, and simple reaction time were tested before and immediately after each exercise session. Results: Although there were no significant interactions (time × exercise condition, P > .05), the main effects of time were significant in executive control (P < .05), perceptual speed (P < .05), and simple reaction time (P < .001), showing improvements after both exercises. Conclusions: These findings highlight that both types of exercise (aerobic, more metabolic and less cognitively demanding; balance, more cognitively and less metabolically demanding) were able to positively affect simple reaction time performance, perceptual speed, and executive control independently of physiological adjustments occurring during aerobic or balance exercise.

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Andy J. King, Joshua T. Rowe and Louise M. Burke

The benefits of ingesting exogenous carbohydrate (CHO) during prolonged exercise performance are well established. A recent food technology innovation has seen sodium alginate and pectin included in solutions of multiple transportable CHO, to encapsulate them at pH levels found in the stomach. Marketing claims include enhanced gastric emptying and delivery of CHO to the muscle with less gastrointestinal distress, leading to better sports performance. Emerging literature around such claims was identified by searching electronic databases; inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials investigating metabolic and/or exercise performance parameters during endurance exercise >1 hr, with CHO hydrogels versus traditional CHO fluids and/or noncaloric hydrogels. Limitations associated with the heterogeneity of exercise protocols and control comparisons are noted. To date, improvements in exercise performance/capacity have not been clearly demonstrated with ingestion of CHO hydrogels above traditional CHO fluids. Studies utilizing isotopic tracers demonstrate similar rates of exogenous CHO oxidation, and subjective ratings of gastrointestinal distress do not appear to be different. Overall, data do not support any metabolic or performance advantages to exogenous CHO delivery in hydrogel form over traditional CHO preparations; although, one study demonstrates a possible glycogen sparing effect. The authors note that the current literature has largely failed to investigate the conditions under which maximal CHO availability is needed; high-performance athletes undertaking prolonged events at high relative and absolute exercise intensities. Although investigations are needed to better target the testimonials provided about CHO hydrogels, current evidence suggests that they are similar in outcome and a benefit to traditional CHO sources.

Open access

Erin Kraft, Diane M. Culver and Cari Din

The following practice paper introduces an innovative women-only training program for coach developers in a Canadian provincial sport organization. The dearth of women in coaching and sport leadership positions informs the program as a whole and the participant perspectives on what is working, in practice, for them specifically in a way that could support future sport leaders interested in increasing gender equity in their sport organizations and leadership skills in their female leaders. The aims of the coach developer program are two-fold: to promote women in leadership and to create a social learning space for women to connect and support each other in their leadership development. The purpose of this practice paper is to discuss the supports that have enabled the facilitation of this program and to explore the value of a women-only training program. Two women (out of a total of 10) participating in the program and two leads facilitating the program were interviewed for their perspectives. The lessons learned touch on the types of value that were created (immediate, potential, and applied) and the specific supports (micro, meso, and macro) that enabled the facilitation of the program. Finally, the authors discuss additional considerations (e.g., consistent buy-in from the organization is needed) with practical insights in the hopes of inspiring other sport organizations to implement similar initiatives for promoting women in leadership and coaching in sport.

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Jim Potvin

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Julie Minikel-Lacocque

Gender-based discrimination in sport is omnipresent and manifests in various forms, including unequal pay, disparate access to facilities, and imbalanced media exposure. This discrimination also extends to those female athletes who do not meet stereotypical notions of how females should look and how they should move on the sporting field. Four gender nonconforming youth athletes who have faced gender and gender-identity discrimination in sport were recruited for this study, as well as their families and two of their coaches. A qualitative case study was conducted and data from in-depth interviews with each participant, one focus group with the young athletes, and observational field notes are analyzed. Through the lens of Critical Feminist Theory, this study examines the gender and gender-identity discrimination these young athletes have endured, the perpetrators of which are adults charged with organizing and regulating youth sport. The study finds that these athletes are repeatedly accused of lying about their identities, that they are often subjected to gender identity denial, and that their bodies are routinely policed and objectified. Implications for institutions of higher education, sport management, coaches, referees, and fans are discussed and include targeted education on nuanced understandings of gender, sex, misgendering, and gender identity denial. This study also calls for sport to believe youth athletes regarding their identities as well as for a re-examination of the gendered structure of youth sport.