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Alan J. McCubbin, Bethanie A. Allanson, Joanne N. Caldwell Odgers, Michelle M. Cort, Ricardo J.S. Costa, Gregory R. Cox, Siobhan T. Crawshay, Ben Desbrow, Eliza G. Freney, Stephanie K. Gaskell, David Hughes, Chris Irwin, Ollie Jay, Benita J. Lalor, Megan L.R. Ross, Gregory Shaw, Julien D. Périard and Louise M. Burke

It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that exercise in hot and/or humid environments, or with significant clothing and/or equipment that prevents body heat loss (i.e., exertional heat stress), provides significant challenges to an athlete’s nutritional status, health, and performance. Exertional heat stress, especially when prolonged, can perturb thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. Heat acclimation or acclimatization provides beneficial adaptations and should be undertaken where possible. Athletes should aim to begin exercise euhydrated. Furthermore, preexercise hyperhydration may be desirable in some scenarios and can be achieved through acute sodium or glycerol loading protocols. The assessment of fluid balance during exercise, together with gastrointestinal tolerance to fluid intake, and the appropriateness of thirst responses provide valuable information to inform fluid replacement strategies that should be integrated with event fuel requirements. Such strategies should also consider fluid availability and opportunities to drink, to prevent significant under- or overconsumption during exercise. Postexercise beverage choices can be influenced by the required timeframe for return to euhydration and co-ingestion of meals and snacks. Ingested beverage temperature can influence core temperature, with cold/icy beverages of potential use before and during exertional heat stress, while use of menthol can alter thermal sensation. Practical challenges in supporting athletes in teams and traveling for competition require careful planning. Finally, specific athletic population groups have unique nutritional needs in the context of exertional heat stress (i.e., youth, endurance/ultra-endurance athletes, and para-sport athletes), and specific adjustments to nutrition strategies should be made for these population groups.

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Nicole C.A. Strock, Kristen J. Koltun, Emily A. Southmayd, Nancy I. Williams and Mary Jane De Souza

Energy deficiency in exercising women can lead to physiological consequences. No gold standard exists to accurately estimate energy deficiency, but measured-to-predicted resting metabolic rate (RMR) ratio has been used to categorize women as energy deficient. The purpose of the study was to (a) evaluate the accuracy of RMR prediction methods, (b) determine the relationships with physiological consequences of energy deficiency, and (c) evaluate ratio thresholds in a cross-sectional comparison of ovulatory, amenorrheic, or subclinical menstrual disturbances in exercising women (n = 217). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and indirect calorimetry provided data on anthropometrics and energy expenditure. Harris–Benedict, DXA, and Cunningham (1980 and 1991) equations were used to estimate RMR and RMR ratio. Group differences were assessed (analysis of variance and Kruskal–Wallis tests); logistic regression and Spearman correlations related ratios with consequences of energy deficiency (i.e., low total triiodothyronine; TT3). Sensitivity and specificity calculations evaluated ratio thresholds. Amenorrheic women had lower RMR (p < .05), DXA ratio (p < .01), Cunningham1980 (p < .05) and Cunningham1991 (p < .05) ratio, and TT3 (p < .01) compared with the ovulatory group. Each prediction equation overestimated measured RMR (p < .001), but predicted (p < .001) and positively correlated with TT3 (r = .329–.453). A 0.90 ratio threshold yielded highest sensitivity for Cunningham1980 (0.90) and Harris–Benedict (0.87) methods, but a higher ratio threshold was best for DXA (0.94) and Cunningham1991 (0.92) methods to yield a sensitivity of 0.80. In conclusion, each ratio predicted and correlated with TT3, supporting the use of RMR ratio as an alternative assessment of energetic status in exercising women. However, a 0.90 ratio cutoff is not universal across RMR estimation methods.

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Michelle A. Sandrey

Clinical Question: Is there sufficient evidence to determine which low back instability tests should be incorporated into a stabilization classification exam for athletes? Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate level 2 evidence to include, but not to use in isolation, the prone instability test along with other instability tests in a stabilization classification exam.

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Mark Ward, Sarah Gibney, David O’Callaghan and Sinead Shannon

Despite the benefits, one in three older adults in Ireland has low activity levels. This study examined associations between the local social and built environment and physical activity of older adults to identify age-friendly factors that support physical activity among the aging population. Data were from the population-representative Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative Age-Friendly City and Counties Survey (N = 10,540). Physical activity was measured using a short-form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression models were adjusted for known health and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity. Results are reported as unstandardized beta coefficients (β) with standard errors. Loneliness, community participation, and difficulty in accessing green spaces partially explained the differences in the number of minutes that respondents were physically active. Combined with individual-level behavior change interventions, improvements to the local environment and promoting social connectedness may also be useful in promoting physical activity among older adults.

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Ka Man Leung and Pak-Kwong Chung

This study examined the associations between physical environment, social environment, and walking for transportation and recreation among older adults in Hong Kong. Cross-sectional data from 450 older adults (79 years or younger [71.9%], female [79.7%]) from 18 districts in Hong Kong were used. The participants’ perceptions of their physical and social environments were collected, and their walking behaviors were self-reported. The results revealed that positive physical environment facilitators and social environments were associated with increased total walking. Only positive physical environment facilitators were associated with increased walking for transportation, and physical and social environments had no notable effect on walking for recreation. These findings suggest that policy makers and walking intervention designers should develop strategies to enhance physical and social environments to promote total walking and walking for transportation.

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Julia C. Orri, Elizabeth M. Hughes, Deepa G. Mistry and Antone Scala

The authors compared the linear and nonlinear heart rate variability dynamics from rest through maximal exercise in postmenopausal women who trained at either moderate or high intensities. The outcome variables included the RR triangular index, TINN, SD1, SD2, SD1/SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, and α1/α2. Maximal exercise reduced SD1, SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, α1/α2, RRTri, and TINN in both groups and increased SD1/SD2 (p < .05). Two minutes of active recovery produced significant increases in SD1, SD2, DFA α1, and TINN, compared with exercise in both groups (p < .0001). There was also a significant main effect between groups for RRTri during exercise recovery, with the moderate group achieving higher levels (p < .04). The authors have shown that both moderate and vigorous exercise training can lead to a healthy response to maximal exercise and recovery, with the moderate group having a slightly improved recovery in the triangular index.

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Werner F. Helsen, Nikola Medic, Janet L. Starkes and Andrew M. Williams

Inequalities in relative age distribution have previously been demonstrated to influence participation and performance achievements in Masters athletes. The purpose of the present study was to examine the participation- and performance-related constituent year effect among Masters athletes (N = 2,474) from the European Masters Track and Field Championships across subdisciplines and age. The results indicated that a participation-related constituent year effect was observed. The likelihood of participation was significantly higher for athletes in their first year of any 5-year age category (χ2 = 149.8, p < .001) and decreased significantly when they were in the fourth or fifth year. The results also indicated a performance-related constituent year effect. Masters athletes in their first year won significantly more medals than expected based on observed participation rate (χ2 = 23.39, p < .001). We compare our results with the existing literature and discuss potential mechanisms for this constituent year effect.

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Yi-Ching Chen, I-Chen Lin, Yen-Ting Lin, Wei-Min Huang, Chien-Chun Huang and Ing-Shiou Hwang

This study contrasted the stochastic force component between young and older adults, who performed pursuit tracking/compensatory tracking by exerting in-phase/antiphase forces to match a sinusoidal target. Tracking force was decomposed into the force component containing the target frequency and the nontarget force fluctuations (stochastic component). Older adults with inferior task performance had higher complexity (entropy across time; p = .005) in total force. For older adults, task errors were negatively correlated with force fluctuation complexity (pursuit tracking: r = −.527 to −.551; compensatory tracking: r = −.626 to −.750). Notwithstanding an age-related increase in total force complexity (p = .004), older adults exhibited lower complexity of the stochastic force component than young adults did (low frequency: p = .017; high frequency: p = .035). Those older adults with a higher complexity of stochastic force had better task performance due to the underlying use of a richer gradation strategy to compensate for impaired oscillatory control.

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Darryn S. Willoughby, Kaitlan N. Beretich, Marcus Chen and LesLee K. Funderburk

Elevated circulating C-terminal agrin fragment (CAF) is a marker of neuromuscular junction degradation and sarcopenia. This study sought to determine if resistance training (RT) impacted the serum levels of CAF in perimenopausal (PERI-M) and postmenopausal (POST-M) women. A total of 35 women, either PERI-M or POST-M, participated in 10 weeks of RT. Body composition, muscle strength, and serum estradiol and CAF were determined before and after the RT. The data were analyzed with two-way analysis of variance (p ≤ .05). Upper body and lower body strength was significantly increased, by 81% and 73% and 86% and 79% for the PERI-M and POST-M participants, respectively; however, there were no significant changes in body composition. Estradiol was significantly less for the POST-M participants at pretraining compared with the PERI-M participants. CAF moderately increased by 22% for the PERI-M participants in response to RT, whereas it significantly decreased by 49% for the POST-M participants. Ten weeks of RT reduced the circulating CAF in the POST-M women and might play a role in attenuating degenerative neuromuscular junction changes.

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Pai-Yun Cheng, Hsiao-Feng Chieh, Chien-Ju Lin, Hsiu-Yun Hsu, Jia-Jin J. Chen, Li-Chieh Kuo and Fong-Chin Su

This study aims toward an investigation and comparison of the digital force control and the brain activities of older adults and young groups during digital pressing tasks. A total of 15 young and 15 older adults were asked to perform force ramp tasks at different force levels with a custom pressing system. Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to collect the brain activities in the prefrontal cortex and primary motor area. The results showed that the force independence and hand function of the older adults were worse than that of the young adults. The cortical activations in the older adults were higher than those in the young group during the tasks. A significant hemodynamic between-group response and mild negative correlations between brain activation and force independence ability were found. Older adults showed poor force independence ability and manual dexterity and required additional brain activity to compensate for the degeneration.