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Erin L. McCleave, Katie M. Slattery, Rob Duffield, Stephen Crowcroft, Chris R. Abbiss, Lee K. Wallace and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To examine whether concurrent heat and intermittent hypoxic training can improve endurance performance and physiological responses relative to independent heat or temperate interval training. Methods: Well-trained male cyclists (N = 29) completed 3 weeks of moderate- to high-intensity interval training (4 × 60 min·wk−1) in 1 of 3 conditions: (1) heat (HOT: 32°C, 50% relative humidity, 20.8% fraction of inspired oxygen, (2) heat + hypoxia (H+H: 32°C, 50% relative humidity, 16.2% fraction of inspired oxygen), or (3) temperate environment (CONT: 22°C, 50% relative humidity, 20.8% fraction of inspired oxygen). Performance 20-km time trials (TTs) were conducted in both temperate (TTtemperate) and assigned condition (TTenvironment) before (base), immediately after (mid), and after a 3-week taper (end). Measures of hemoglobin mass, plasma volume, and blood volume were also assessed. Results: There was improved 20-km TT performance to a similar extent across all groups in both TTtemperate (mean ±90% confidence interval HOT, −2.8% ±1.8%; H+H, −2.0% ±1.5%; CONT, −2.0% ±1.8%) and TTenvironment (HOT, −3.3% ±1.7%; H+H, −3.1% ±1.6%; CONT, −3.2% ±1.1%). Plasma volume (HOT, 3.8% ±4.7%; H+H, 3.3% ±4.7%) and blood volume (HOT, 3.0% ±4.1%; H+H, 4.6% ±3.9%) were both increased at mid in HOT and H+H over CONT. Increased hemoglobin mass was observed in H+H only (3.0% ±1.8%). Conclusion: Three weeks of interval training in heat, concurrent heat and hypoxia, or temperate environments improve 20-km TT performance to the same extent. Despite indications of physiological adaptations, the addition of independent heat or concurrent heat and hypoxia provided no greater performance benefits in a temperate environment than temperate training alone.

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Lewis Keane, Emma Sherry, Nico Schulenkorf, Joel Negin, Ding Ding, Adrian Bauman, Edward Jegasothy and Justin Richards

Background: The purpose of this paper was to identify personal, social, and environmental mediators of recreational physical activity (PA) in a 6-month netball-based intervention for women and girls in Tonga. Methods: Tonga Netball’s “low-engagement village program” was implemented in 10 villages and aimed to increase the recreational PA levels in women and girls through a comprehensive, structured community-level netball program addressing key barriers to participation. In a mixed-methods approach, these mediating barriers were identified through qualitative interviews based on the socioecological model. Quantitative measures for mediators and recreational PA were then developed, and data from 301 women and girls were collected. Standard mediation analyses methods were then applied. Results: Program participation appeared to significantly increase PA levels. Statistically significant personal mediators were body issues, preferring competitions, and clothing. Social mediators were support from sports council, community leaders, friends, and church. Environmental mediators were travel time and access to balls, bibs, and umpires. Conclusion: A comprehensive community-level program addressing key participation barriers can increase recreational PA among women and girls in Tonga. Triangulating these results with mediation analyses of variables on the causal pathway can strengthen our understanding of causation and inform funding prioritization for critical program components in similar contexts.

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Jennifer R. Pharr, Mary Angela M. Terencio and Timothy Bungum

Background: People who are physically active enjoy a multitude of health benefits across their lifespan compared with people who are not physically active. However, little research has sought to determine whether those who meet the physical activity (PA) guidelines also engage in other healthy behaviors. The purpose of this study was to compare healthy behaviors of people who met the PA guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to those who did not meet the guidelines. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey conducted in 2017. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed using chi-square tests. Odds and adjusted odds ratios were calculated using multiple logistic regressions. Results: Those who met the PA guidelines were more likely to get a flu shot, have a medical checkup, take human immunodeficiency virus tests, wear seatbelts, and binge drink more frequently, compared with those who did not meet the guidelines. This group is also less likely to be smokers and be overweight or obese in comparison to their inactive counterparts. Conclusion: The positive association between PA and other healthy behaviors represents synergistic health activities, with healthy behaviors supporting others.

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Alanna Weisberg, Alexandre Monte Campelo, Tanzeel Bhaidani and Larry Katz

Traditional physical activity tracking tools, such as self-report questionnaires, are inherently subjective and vulnerable to bias. Physical activity tracking technology, such as activity tracking wristbands, is becoming more reliable and readily available. As such, researchers are employing these objective measurement tools in both observational- and intervention-based studies. There remains a gap in the literature on how to properly select activity tracking wristbands for research, specifically for the older adult population. This paper outlines considerations for choosing the most appropriate wrist-worn wearable device for use in research with older adults. Device features, outcome measures, population, and methodological considerations are explored.

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Sascha Ketelhut, Sebastian R. Ketelhut and Kerstin Ketelhut

Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based exercise intervention on endurance performance (EP), blood pressure (BP), and arterial stiffness in children. Methods: A total of 105 students (mean age = 8.2 [0.6] y; 51% girls; body mass index = 17.8 [3.0] kg/m2) were randomized to the intervention group (IG, n = 51) and control group (CG, n = 54). During a 37-week experimental period, the IG received an exercise intervention (2 × 45 min/wk) in addition to their regular school physical education class (3 × 45 min/wk). EP, peripheral and central BP, pulse pressure, augmentation pressure, augmentation index, and aortic pulse wave velocity were assessed. Results: Following the intervention, significant changes (P < .05) in EP, peripheral and central systolic BP, pulse pressure, augmentation pressure, augmentation index, and aortic pulse wave velocity were found in the IG. Children in the CG displayed significant changes in peripheral and central diastolic BP. An analysis of the baseline-to-post changes revealed significant between-group differences in EP (P < .001), pulse pressure (P = .028), augmentation pressure (P = .007), and aortic pulse wave velocity (P = .037) that favored the IG and in peripheral and central diastolic BP that favored the CG. Conclusion: The school-based exercise intervention had beneficial effects not only on EP but also on different hemodynamic parameters.

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Alejandro Pérez-Castilla and Amador García-Ramos

Objective: To compare the short-term effect of power- and strength-oriented resistance-training programs on the individualized load–velocity profiles obtained during the squat (SQ) and bench-press (BP) exercises. Methods: Thirty physically active men (age = 23.4 [3.5] y; SQ 1-repetition maximum [1RM] = 126.5 [26.7] kg; BP 1RM = 81.6 [16.7] kg) were randomly assigned to a power- (exercises: countermovement jump and BP throw; sets per exercise: 4–6; repetitions per set: 5–6; load: 40% 1RM) or strength-training group (exercises: SQ and BP; sets per exercise: 4–6; repetitions per set: 2–8; load: 70%–90% 1RM). The training program lasted 4 wk (2 sessions/wk). The individualized load–velocity profiles (ie, velocity associated with the 30%–60%–90% 1RM) were assessed before and after training through an incremental loading test during the SQ and BP exercises. Results: The power-training group moderately increased the velocity associated with the full spectrum of % 1RM for the SQ (effect size [ES] range: 0.70 to 0.93) and with the 30% 1RM for the BP (ES: 0.67), while the strength-training group reported trivial/small changes across the load–velocity spectrum for both the SQ (ES range: 0.00 to 0.35) and BP (ES range: −0.06 to −0.33). The power-training group showed a higher increase in the mean velocity associated with all % 1RM compared with the strength-training group for both the SQ (ES range: 0.54 to 0.63) and BP (ES range: 0.25 to 0.53). Conclusions: The individualized load–velocity profile (ie, velocity associated with different % 1RM) of lower-body and upper-body exercises can be modified after a 4-wk resistance-training program.

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Roland van den Tillaar, Erna von Heimburg and Guro Strøm Solli

Purpose: To compare the assessment of the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) in a traditional graded exercise test (GXT) with a 1-km self-paced running test on a nonmotorized treadmill in men and women. Methods: A total of 24 sport-science students (12 women: age 23.7 [7.7] y, body height 1.68 [0.02] m, body mass 66.6 [4.3] kg; 12 men: 22.1 [3.1] y, body height 1.82 [0.06] m, body mass 75.6 [11.0] kg) performed a traditional GXT on a motorized treadmill and a 1-km self-paced running test on a nonmotorized treadmill. VO2max, blood lactate, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion, together with running velocity and duration at each test, were measured. Results: The main findings of the study were that the 1-km test produced significantly higher VO2max values (53.2 [9.9] vs 51.8 [8.8] mL/kg/min ) and blood lactate concentrations (11.9 [1.8] vs 11.1 [2.2] mmol/L) than the GXT (F ≥ 4.8, P ≤ .04, η 2 ≥ .18). However, after controlling for sex, these differences were only present in men (60.6 [8.1] vs 58.1 [8.0] mL/kg/min , P = .027). Peak running velocity was higher in the GXT than in the 1-km test (15.7 [2.7] vs 13.0 [2.8] km/h). Men had higher VO2max values and running velocities than women in both tests. However, men and women used approximately similar pacing strategies during the 1-km test. Conclusions: Higher VO2max values were observed in a 1-km self-paced test than in the GXT. This indicates that a 1-km running test performed on a nonmotorized treadmill could serve as a simple and sport-specific alternative for the assessment of VO2max.

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Rafael Gnat, Agata Dziewońska, Maciej Biały and Martyna Wieczorek

Low back pain constitutes a multidimensional problem of largely unknown origin. One of the recent theories explaining its frequent occurrence includes speculative statements on patterns of central nervous system activity associated with the control of so-called local and global muscles of the lower trunk. The objective of the study was to verify whether there is a difference in the activity of the brain during selective, voluntary contraction of the local and global abdominal muscles as assessed by functional MRI. Twenty healthy subjects participated. An experimental design was applied with repeated measurements of the blood-oxygen-level–dependent signal from the brain during voluntary contraction of the local and global abdominal muscles, performed in random order. Prior to registration, a 2-week training period was introduced, aiming to master the experimental motor tasks. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were processed using the FMRIB Software Library (Oxford, UK). Brain areas showing significant activations/deactivations were identified and averaged across all participants, and intercondition differential maps were computed. Areas of significant intercondition differences were linked to the corresponding anatomical structures and ascribed to the default mode functional brain network and to the sensorimotor network. Contraction of the local abdominal muscles elicited more pronounced activity of the brain cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. This suggests that motor control of the abdominal musculature consists of two modes of brain activity and that control of the local muscles may be a more challenging task for the brain. Moreover, contraction of the local muscles elicited more distinct deactivation of the default mode network, which may have implications for diagnostics and therapy of low back pain.

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Adam E. Jagodinsky, Rebecca Angles, Christopher Wilburn and Wendi H. Weimar

Current theoretical models suggest that ankle sprain copers exhibit movement adaptations contributing to the avoidance of chronic ankle instability. However, few studies have examined adaptations at the level of biomechanical motor synergies. The purpose was to examine characteristics of the support moment synergy between individuals with chronic ankle instability, copers, and healthy individuals. A total of 48 individuals participated in the study. Lower-extremity kinetics and variability in the moment of force patterns were assessed during the stance phase of walking trials. The copers exhibited reductions in the support moment during the load response and preswing phase compared with the chronic ankle instability group, as well as during the terminal stance and preswing phase compared the healthy group. The copers also exhibited reductions in the hip extensor moment and ankle plantarflexion moment compared with healthy and chronic ankle instability groups during intervals of stance phase. Variability of the support moment and knee moment was greater in the copers compared with the chronic ankle instability group. Dampening of the support moment and select joint moments exhibited by the copers may indicate an adaptive mechanism to mitigate loading perturbations on the previously injured ankle. Heightened motor variability in copers may be indicative of a more adaptable motor synergy compared with individuals with chronic ankle instability.

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David C. Nieman, Francesca Ferrara, Alessandra Pecorelli, Brittany Woodby, Andrew T. Hoyle, Andrew Simonson and Giuseppe Valacchi

Inflammasomes are multiprotein signaling platforms of the innate immune system that detect markers of physiological stress and promote the maturation of caspase-1 and interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), IL-18, and gasdermin D. This randomized, cross-over trial investigated the influence of 2-week mixed flavonoid (FLAV) versus placebo (PL) supplementation on inflammasome activation and IL-1β and IL-18 production after 75-km cycling in 22 cyclists (42 ± 1.7 years). Blood samples were collected before and after the 2-week supplementation, and then 0 hr, 1.5 hr, and 21 hr postexercise (176 ± 5.4 min, 73.4 ± 2.0 %VO2max). The supplement (678 mg FLAVs) included quercetin, green tea catechins, and bilberry anthocyanins. The pattern of change in the plasma levels of the inflammasome adaptor oligomer ASC (apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing caspase recruitment domain) was different between the FLAV and PL trials, with the FLAV ASC levels 52% lower (Cohen’s d = 1.06) than PL immediately following 75-km cycling (interaction effect, p = .012). The plasma IL-1β levels in FLAV were significantly lower than PL (23–42%; Cohen’s d = 0.293–0.644) throughout 21 hr of recovery (interaction effect, p = .004). The change in plasma gasdermin D levels were lower immediately postexercise in FLAV versus PL (15% contrast, p = .023; Cohen’s d = 0.450). The patterns of change in plasma IL-18 and IL-37 did not differ between the FLAV and PL trials (interaction effects, p = .388, .716, respectively). These data indicate that 2-week FLAV ingestion mitigated inflammasome activation, with a corresponding decrease in IL-1β release in cyclists after a 75-km cycling time trial. The data from this study support the strategy of ingesting high amounts of FLAV to mitigate postexercise inflammation.