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  • Author: Dick H. J. Thijssen x
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Scott Cocking, Mathew G. Wilson, David Nichols, N. Timothy Cable, Daniel J. Green, Dick H. J. Thijssen and Helen Jones

Introduction: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) may enhance endurance performance. No previous study has directly compared distinct IPC protocols for optimal benefit. Purpose: To determine whether a specific IPC protocol (ie, number of cycles, amount of muscle tissue, and local vs remote occlusion) elicits greater performance outcomes. Methods: Twelve cyclists performed 5 different IPC protocols 30 min before a blinded 375-kJ cycling time trial (TT) in a laboratory. Responses to traditional IPC (4 × 5-min legs) were compared with those to 8 × 5-min legs and sham (dose cycles), 4 × 5-min unilateral legs (dose tissue), and 4 × 5-min arms (remote). Rating of perceived exertion and blood lactate were recorded at each 25% TT completion. Power (W), heart rate (beats/min), and oxygen uptake (V˙O2) (mL · kg−1 · min−1) were measured continuously throughout TTs. Magnitude-based-inference statistics were employed to compare variable differences to the minimal practically important difference. Results: Traditional IPC was associated with a 17-s (0, 34) faster TT time than sham. Applying more dose cycles (8 × 5 min) had no impact on performance. Traditional IPC was associated with likely trivial higher blood lactate and possibly beneficial lower V˙O2 responses vs sham. Unilateral IPC was associated with 18-s (−11, 48) slower performance than bilateral (dose tissue). TT times after remote and local IPC were not different (0 [−16, 16] s). Conclusion: The traditional 4 × 5-min (local or remote) IPC stimulus resulted in the fastest TT time compared with sham; there was no benefit of applying a greater number of cycles or employing unilateral IPC.

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Madelijn H. Oudegeest-Sander, Dick H.J. Thijssen, Paul Smits, Arie P.J. van Dijk, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert and Maria T.E. Hopman

It is currently unknown whether differences in physical fitness in older, nonexercising individuals affect cardiovascular risk profile and vascular function. To examine this, 40 healthy older individuals (age 69 ± 4 years) who were classified as nonexercising for the past 5-10 years were allocated to a lower physical fitness (LF; VO2max 20.7 ± 2.4 mlO2/min/kg) or higher physical fitness group (HF; VO2max 29.1 ± 2.8 mlO2/min/kg, p < .001). Cardiovascular risk profile was calculated using the Lifetime Risk Score (LRS). Vascular function was examined using the gold standard venous occlusion plethysmography to assess blood flow changes in response to intra-arterial infusion of acetylcholine, sodium nitroprusside, and L-NNMA. Daily life activity level of the HF group was higher compared with the LF group (p = .04). LRS was higher (p < .001) and blood flow ratio response to acetylcholine was lower (p = .04) in the LF group. This study shows that a higher physical fitness level is associated with better cardiovascular health and vascular function in nonexercising older individuals.