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Open access

Alannah K.A. McKay, Peter Peeling, David B. Pyne, Nicolin Tee, Marijke Welveart, Ida A. Heikura, Avish P. Sharma, Jamie Whitfield, Megan L. Ross, Rachel P.L. van Swelm, Coby M. Laarakkers, and Louise M. Burke

This study implemented a 2-week high carbohydrate (CHO) diet intended to maximize CHO oxidation rates and examined the iron-regulatory response to a 26-km race walking effort. Twenty international-level, male race walkers were assigned to either a novel high CHO diet (MAX = 10 g/kg body mass CHO daily) inclusive of gut-training strategies, or a moderate CHO control diet (CON = 6 g/kg body mass CHO daily) for a 2-week training period. The athletes completed a 26-km race walking test protocol before and after the dietary intervention. Venous blood samples were collected pre-, post-, and 3 hr postexercise and measured for serum ferritin, interleukin-6, and hepcidin-25 concentrations. Similar decreases in serum ferritin (17–23%) occurred postintervention in MAX and CON. At the baseline, CON had a greater postexercise increase in interleukin-6 levels after 26 km of walking (20.1-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 35.7]) compared with MAX (10.2-fold, 95% CI [3.7, 18.7]). A similar finding was evident for hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise (CON = 10.8-fold, 95% CI [4.8, 21.2]; MAX = 8.8-fold, 95% CI [3.9, 16.4]). Postintervention, there were no substantial differences in the interleukin-6 response (CON = 13.6-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 20.5]; MAX = 11.2-fold, 95% CI [6.5, 21.3]) or hepcidin levels (CON = 7.1-fold, 95% CI [2.1, 15.4]; MAX = 6.3-fold, 95% CI [1.8, 14.6]) between the dietary groups. Higher resting serum ferritin (p = .004) and hotter trial ambient temperatures (p = .014) were associated with greater hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise. Very high CHO diets employed by endurance athletes to increase CHO oxidation have little impact on iron regulation in elite athletes. It appears that variations in serum ferritin concentration and ambient temperature, rather than dietary CHO, are associated with increased hepcidin concentrations 3 hr postexercise.

Open access
Open access

Kobe C. Houtmeyers, Arne Jaspers, and Pedro Figueiredo

Elite sport practitioners increasingly use data to support training process decisions related to athletes’ health and performance. A careful application of data analytics is essential to gain valuable insights and recommendations that can guide decision making. In business organizations, data analytics are developed based on conceptual data analytics frameworks. The translation of such a framework to elite sport may benefit the use of data to support training process decisions. Purpose: The authors aim to present and discuss a conceptual data analytics framework, based on a taxonomy used in business analytics literature to help develop data analytics within elite sport organizations. Conclusions: The presented framework consists of 4 analytical steps structured by value and difficulty/complexity. While descriptive (step 1) and diagnostic analytics (step 2) focus on understanding the past training process, predictive (step 3) and prescriptive analytics (step 4) provide more guidance in planning the future. Although descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive analytics generate insights to inform decisions, prescriptive analytics can be used to drive decisions. However, the application of this type of advanced analytics is still challenging in elite sport. Thus, the current use of data in elite sport is more focused on informing decisions rather than driving them. The presented conceptual framework may help practitioners develop their analytical reasoning by providing new insights and guidance and may stimulate future collaborations between practitioners, researchers, and analytics experts.

Open access

Philip Friere Skiba and David C. Clarke

Since its publication in 2012, the W′ balance model has become an important tool in the scientific armamentarium for understanding and predicting human physiology and performance during high-intensity intermittent exercise. Indeed, publications featuring the model are accumulating, and it has been adapted for popular use both in desktop computer software and on wrist-worn devices. Despite the model’s intuitive appeal, it has achieved mixed results thus far, in part due to a lack of clarity in its basis and calculation. Purpose: This review examines the theoretical basis, assumptions, calculation methods, and the strengths and limitations of the integral and differential forms of the W′ balance model. In particular, the authors emphasize that the formulations are based on distinct assumptions about the depletion and reconstitution of W′ during intermittent exercise; understanding the distinctions between the 2 forms will enable practitioners to correctly implement the models and interpret their results. The authors then discuss foundational issues affecting the validity and utility of the model, followed by evaluating potential modifications and suggesting avenues for further research. Conclusions: The W′ balance model has served as a valuable conceptual and computational tool. Improved versions may better predict performance and further advance the physiology of high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Open access

Katja Siefken, Andrea Varela Ramirez, Temo Waqanivalu, and Nico Schulenkorf

Since 2020, the world has been navigating an epidemiologic transition with both infectious diseases (COVID-19) and noncommunicable diseases intertwined in complex and diverse ways. In fact, the pandemics of physical inactivity, noncommunicable diseases, and COVID-19 coincide in a tragically impactful ménage à trois with their detrimental long-term health consequences yet to be determined. We know that people in low- and middle-income countries not only have the highest risk of developing chronic diseases, they also develop the diseases at a younger age, they suffer longer, and they die earlier than people in high-income countries. This commentary features 5 compelling reasons for putting physical activity in low- and middle-income countries high up on the public health research agenda and calls for more commitment to inclusive and context-specific public health practices that are paired with locally relevant promotion and facilitation of PA practice, research, and policymaking.

Open access
Open access

Joseph J. Murphy, Fiona Mansergh, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Benny Cullen, Sarah O’Brien, Stephen Finn, Grainne O’Donoghue, Niamh Barry, Shirley O’Shea, Kevin M. Leyden, Peter Smyth, Jemima Cooper, Enrique G. Bengoechea, Nick Cavill, Andrew J. Milat, Adrian E. Bauman, and Catherine B. Woods

Physical activity (PA) promotion is a complex challenge, with the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) endorsing a systems approach and recommending countries assess existing areas of progress which can be strengthened. This paper reports a process facilitating a systems approach for identifying current good practice and gaps for promoting PA in Ireland. Elements of participatory action research were enabled through 3 stages: (1) aligning examples of actions from Irish policy documents (n = 3) to the GAPPA, (2) workshop with stakeholders across multiple sectors, and (3) review of outputs. Data collected through the workshop were analyzed using a deductive thematic analysis guided by the GAPPA. The policy context in Ireland aligns closely to the GAPPA with the creation of Active Systems the most common strategic objective across policy documents. Forty participants (50% male) took part in the systems approach workshop, which after revision resulted in 80 examples of good practice and 121 actions for greater impact. A pragmatic and replicable process facilitating a systems approach was adopted and showed current Irish policy and practices align with the GAPPA “good practices.” The process provides existing areas of progress which can be strengthened, as well as the policy opportunities and practice gaps.

Open access

Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele

Although women have been a part of the Paralympic Movement since its inauguration, they remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of parasport. Noting these gender-based discrepancies, the International Paralympic Committee and several National Paralympic Committees have made commitments to address the issue of gender balance across the movement. Guided theoretically by feminist and disability sport scholarship, this article explores the various initiatives and strategies implemented by the International Paralympic Committee and National Paralympic Committees to address the issue of gender parity. Through 29 qualitative interviews with Paralympic athletes, organizers, academics, and journalists, our study illustrates that initiatives and strategies implemented by these organizations have affected women differently based on a range of social, cultural, and political factors.