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Dennis Hamacher, Daniel Hamacher, Kathrin Rehfeld, Anita Hökelmann and Lutz Schega

Dancing is a complex sensorimotor activity involving physical and mental elements which have positive effects on cognitive functions and motor control. The present randomized controlled trial aims to analyze the effects of a dancing program on the performance on a motorcognitive dual task. Data of 35 older adults, who were assigned to a dancing group or a health-related exercise group, are presented in the study. In pretest and posttest, we assessed cognitive performance and variability of minimum foot clearance, stride time, and stride length while walking. Regarding the cognitive performance and the stride-to-stride variability of minimum foot clearance, interaction effects have been found, indicating that dancing lowers gait variability to a higher extent than conventional health-related exercise. The data show that dancing improves minimum foot clearance variability and cognitive performance in a dual-task situation. Multi-task exercises (like dancing) might be a powerful tool to improve motor-cognitive dual-task performance.

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Achraf Ammar, Stephen J. Bailey, Omar Hammouda, Khaled Trabelsi, Nabil Merzigui, Kais El Abed, Tarak Driss, Anita Hökelmann, Fatma Ayadi, Hamdi Chtourou, Adnen Gharbi and Mouna Turki

Purpose: The effect of playing surface on physical performance during a repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test and the mechanisms for any potential playing-surface-dependent effects on RSA performance are equivocal. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of natural grass (NG) and artificial turf (AT) on physical performance, ratings of perceived exertion, feeling scale, and blood biomarkers related to anaerobic contribution (blood lactate [Lac]), muscle damage (creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase), inflammation (C-reactive protein), and immune function (neutrophils [NEU], lymphocytes [LYM], and monocytes) in response to an RSA test. Methods: A total of 9 male professional football players from the same regional team completed 2 sessions of RSA testing (6 × 30 s interspersed with a 35-s recovery) on NG and AT in a randomized order. During the RSA test, total (sum of distances) and peak (highest distance covered in a single repetition) distance covered were determined using a measuring tape, and the decrement in sprinting performance from the first to the last repetition was calculated. Before and after the RSA test, ratings of perceived exertion, feeling scale, and Lac, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, NEU, LYM, and monocytes were recorded in both NG and AT conditions. Results: Although physical performance declined during the RSA blocks on both surfaces (P = .001), the distance covered declined more on NG (15%) than on AT (11%; P = .04; effect size [ES] = −0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.21 to 0.56) with a higher total distance covered (+6% [2%]) on AT (P = .018; ES = 1.15; 95% CI, 0.16 to 2.04). In addition, lower ratings of perceived exertion (P = .04; ES = −0.49; 95% CI, −1.36 to 0.42), Lac, NEU, and LYM (P = .03; ES = −0.80; 95% CI, −1.67 to 0.14; ES = −0.16; 95% CI, −1.03 to 0.72; and ES = −0.94; 95% CI, −1.82 to 0.02, respectively) and more positive feelings (P = .02; ES = 0.81; 95% CI, −0.13 to 1.69) were observed after the RSA test performed on AT than on NG. No differences were observed in the remaining physical and blood markers. Conclusion: These findings suggest that RSA performance is enhanced on AT compared with NG. This effect was accompanied by lower fatigue perception and Lac, NEU, and LYM and a more pleasurable feeling. These observations might have implications for physical performance in intermittent team-sport athletes who train and compete on different playing surfaces.