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William L. Siler and Philip E. Martin

In order to compare fast and slow runners with respect to the relative timing of the compensations they make to maintain a given running velocity during a prolonged effort, coordinate data were collected periodically for 9 fast and 10 slow volunteers performing a treadmill run to volitional exhaustion at a speed approximating their 10-km race pace. Statistically significant but small changes were noted in the average stride length, range of motion at the thigh, maximum thigh flexion, maximum knee extension, maximum knee flexion, and head-neck-trunk segment (HNT) angle at maximum thigh extension. No statistically significant differences were detected, however, with regard to the relative timing of the compensations demonstrated by the two groups. It was concluded that runners demonstrate subtle compensations in running pattern as they approach volitional exhaustion. In addition, it was concluded that the performance level of the runners as reflected by the ranges of 10-km run performance used in this investigation does not affect the relative timing of the compensations. Finally, it appears that some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of fatigue as evidenced by extreme compensations in running pattern.

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Dinesh John, Dixie L. Thompson, Hollie Raynor, Kenneth Bielak, Bob Rider and David R. Bassett

Purpose:

To determine if a treadmill-workstation (TMWS) increases physical activity (PA) and influences anthropometric, body composition, cardiovascular, and metabolic variables in overweight and obese office-workers.

Methods:

Twelve (mean age= 46.2 ± 9.2 years) overweight/obese sedentary office-workers (mean BMI= 33.9 ± 5.0 kg·m-2) volunteered to participate in this 9-month study. After baseline measurements of postural allocation, steps per day, anthropometric variables, body composition, cardiovascular, and metabolic variables, TMWS were installed in the participants’ offices for their use. Baseline measurements were repeated after 3 and 9 months. Comparisons of the outcome variables were made using repeated-measures ANOVAs or nonparametric Friedman’s Rank Tests.

Results:

Between baseline and 9 months, significant increases were seen in the median standing (146−203 min·day-1) and stepping time (52−90 min·day-1) and total steps/day (4351−7080 steps/day; P < .05). Correspondingly, the median time spent sitting/lying decreased (1238−1150 min·day-1; P < .05). Using the TMWS significantly reduced waist (by 5.5 cm) and hip circumference (by 4.8 cm), low-density lipoproteins (LDL) (by 16 mg·dL-1), and total cholesterol (by 15 mg·dL-1) during the study (P < .05).

Conclusion:

The additional PA energy expenditure from using the TMWS favorably influenced waist and hip circumferences and lipid and metabolic profiles in overweight and obese office-workers.

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Rishann Nielson, Pat R. Vehrs, Gilbert W. Fellingham, Ronald Hager and Keven A. Prusak

Background:

The purposes of this study were to determine the accuracy and reliability of step counts and energy expenditure as estimated by a pedometer during treadmill walking and to clarify the relationship between step counts and current physical activity recommendations.

Methods:

One hundred males (n = 50) and females (n = 50) walked at stride frequencies (SF) of 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, during which time step counts and energy expenditure were estimated with a Walk4Life Elite pedometer.

Results:

The pedometer accurately measured step counts at SFs of 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, but not 80 and 90 steps/min. Compared with energy expenditure as measured by a metabolic cart, the pedometer significantly underestimated energy expenditure at 80 steps/min and significantly overestimated measured energy expenditure at 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/ min.

Conclusions:

The pedometers’ inability to accurately estimate energy expenditure cannot be attributed to stride length entered into the pedometer or its ability to measure step counts. Males met 3 criteria and females met 2 criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity at SF of 110 to 120 steps/min. These results provide the basis for defining moderate-intensity physical activity based on energy expenditure and step counts and may lead to an appropriate steps/day recommendation.

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Mandy L. Gault, Richard E. Clements and Mark E.T. Willems

Cardiovascular responses of older adults to downhill (DTW, –10% incline) and level treadmill walking (0%) at self-selected walking speed (SSWS) were examined. Fifteen participants (age 68 ± 4 yr, height 1.69 ± 0.08 m, body mass 74.7 ± 8.1 kg) completed two 15-min walks at their SSWS (4.6 ± 0.6 km/hr). Cardiovascular responses were estimated using an arterial-volume finger clamp and infrared plethysmography. Oxygen consumption was 25% lower during DTW and associated with lower values for stroke volume (9.9 ml/beat), cardiac output (1.0 L/min), arteriovenous oxygen difference (a-v O2 diff, 2.4 ml/L), and systolic blood pressure (10 mmHg), with no differences in heart rate or diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure. Total peripheral resistance (TPR) was higher (2.11 mmHg) during DTW. During downhill walking, an exercise performed with reduced cardiac strain, endothelial changes, and reduced metabolic demand may be responsible for the different responses in TPR and a-v O2 diff. Future work is warranted on whether downhill walking is suitable for higher risk populations.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, A. Lynn Millar and Bo Fernhall

The purpose of this study was to compare test-retest reliability when measuring peak physiological capacities of children and adolescents (age = 13.6 ± 2.9 yr) with mental retardation (MR) and their peers (12.0 ± 2.9 yr) without mental retardation (NMR) using a discontinuous treadmill (TM) protocol. Forty-six participants (23 MR = 12 male and 11 female; 23 NMR = 12 male and 11 female) completed two peak performance treadmill tests with 3 to 7 days of rest between tests. Physiological values measured included V̇O2peak (1 $$ min-1 and ml $$ kg-1 $$ min-1), V̇Epeak (1 $$ mhr-1), HRpeak (bpm), and RER (V̇O2 $$ V̇O2 -1). Test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from .85 to .99 for participants with MR and from .55 to .99 for participants without MR. Test reliability and accuracy in the present study does not appear to differ between the NMR and MR participants.

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Hervé Assadi and Romuald Lepers

Purposes:

To compare the physiological responses and maximal aerobic running velocity (MAV) during an incremental intermittent (45-s run/15-s rest) field test (45-15FIT) vs an incremental continuous treadmill test (TR) and to demonstrate that the MAV obtained during 45-15FIT (MAV45-15) was relevant to elicit a high percentage of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) during a 30-s/30-s intermittent training session.

Methods:

Oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate (HR), and lactate concentration ([La]) were measured in 20 subjects during 2 maximal incremental tests and four 15-min intermittent tests. The time spent above 90% and 95% VO2max (t90% and t95% VO2max, respectively) was determined.

Results:

Maximal physiological parameters were similar during the 45-15FIT and TR tests (VO2max 58.6 ± 5.9 mL · kg−1 · min−1 for TR vs 58.5 ± 7.0 mL · kg−1 · min−1 for 45-15FIT; HRmax 200 ± 8 beats/min for TR vs 201 ± 7 beats/min for 45-15FIT). MAV45-15 was significantly (P < .001) greater than MAVTR (17.7 ± 1.1 vs 15.6 ± 1.4 km/h). t90% and t95% VO2max during the 30-s/30-s performed at MAVTR were significantly (P < .01) lower than during the 30-s/30-s performed at MAV45-15. Similar VO2 during intermittent tests performed at MAV45-15 and at MAVTR can be obtained by reducing the recovery time or using active recovery.

Conclusions:

The results suggested that the 45-15FIT is an accurate field test to determine VO2max and that MAV45-15 can be used during high-intensity intermittent training such as 30-s runs interspersed with 30-s rests (30-s/30-s) to elicit a high percentage of VO2max.

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Joshua M. Thomas and Timothy R. Derrick

The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of step uncertainty on shock attenuation and knee/subtalar synchrony. Uncertainty was manipulated by decreasing the intensity of light and introducing bumps to the running surface. Twelve experienced distance runners ran at their chosen pace on a treadmill with two surfaces (smooth and irregular) and three light intensities (light, medium, dark). Knee angle, subtalar angle, leg impacts, and head impacts were recorded at 1,000 Hz. Heart rate was also monitored. Injury potential was assessed by evaluating the impacts and asynchronous activity between the knee and subtalar joint. Stride length was not influenced by either source of uncertainty. Heart rate increased with the intensity of light on the smooth running surface but decreased with the intensity of light on the irregular surface. The knee was more flexed at heel contact during the irregular surface conditions but was not affected by the intensity of light. This decreased the effective mass of the impact and allowed greater peak leg accelerations and greater impact attenuation during irregular surface running. There was a decrease in the rearfoot angle at contact on the irregular surface that approached significance (p = 0.056). Knee/subtalar asynchrony increased with the intensity of light on the smooth surface but decreased on the irregular surface. It appears that participants used the knee joint to adapt to the irregular surface and thus accommodate changes in the terrain. The subtalar joint may have become more stable during irregular surface running to minimize the chance of inversion sprains. The effects of intensity of light were small and generally mediated the irregular surface effects. Overall, these adaptations likely reduced the potential for injury during irregular surface running but may have been detrimental to performance.

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Hanatsu Nagano, Rezaul K. Begg, William A. Sparrow and Simon Taylor

Although lower limb strength becomes asymmetrical with age, past studies of aging effects on gait biomechanics have usually analyzed only one limb. This experiment measured how aging and treadmill surface influenced both dominant and nondominant step parameters in older (mean 74.0 y) and young participants (mean 21.9 y). Step-cycle parameters were obtained from 3-dimensional position/time data during preferred-speed walking for 40 trials along a 10 m walkway and for 10 minutes of treadmill walking. Walking speed (young 1.23 m/s, older 1.24 m/s) and step velocity for the two age groups were similar in overground walking but older adults showed significantly slower walking speed (young 1.26 m/s, older 1.05 m/s) and step velocity on the treadmill due to reduced step length and prolonged step time. Older adults had shorter step length than young adults and both groups reduced step length on the treadmill. Step velocity and length of older adults’ dominant limb was asymmetrically larger. Older adults increased the proportion of double support in step time when treadmill walking. This adaptation combined with reduced step velocity and length may preserve balance. The results suggest that bilateral analyses should be employed to accurately describe asymmetric features of gait especially for older adults.

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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Michel Audiffren

Thirty-one young (mean age = 20.8 years) and 30 older (mean age = 71.5 years) men and women categorized as physically active (n = 30) or inactive (n = 31) performed an executive processing task while standing, treadmill walking at a preferred pace, and treadmill walking at a faster pace. Dual-task interference was predicted to negatively impact older adults’ cognitive flexibility as measured by an auditory switch task more than younger adults; further, participants’ level of physical activity was predicted to mitigate the relation. For older adults, treadmill walking was accompanied by significantly more rapid response times and reductions in local- and mixed-switch costs. A speed-accuracy tradeoff was observed in which response errors increased linearly as walking speed increased, suggesting that locomotion under dual-task conditions degrades the quality of older adults’ cognitive flexibility. Participants’ level of physical activity did not influence cognitive test performance.

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Ian G. Campbell, Clyde Williams and Henryk K.A. Lakomy

The purpose was to examine selected physiological responses of endurance-trained male wheelchair athletes in different Paralympic racing classes (T2, n = 3; T3, n = 8; T4, n = 7) during a 10-km treadmill time trial (TM:10-km). Peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2 peak) was determined, and a TM:10-km was completed on a motorized treadmill. From this, % V̇O2peak utilized and the relationship between V̇O2peak and TM:10-km were established. During the TM:10-km, the following dependent variables were examined: propulsion speed, oxygen uptake, respiratory exchange ratio, and heart rate. The results showed athletes utilize a high % V̇O2peak (78.4 –13.6%) during the TM:10-km. There was a moderate correlation (r = -.57, p < .01) between VO2peak and TM:10-km. No physiological differences were found between the paraplegic racing classes (T3, T4), which suggests that there is some justification in amalgamating these racing classes for endurance events.