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James G. Wrightson, Emma Z. Ross and Nicholas J. Smeeton

In a number of studies in which a dual-task gait paradigm was used, researchers reported a relationship between cognitive function and gait. However, it is not clear to what extent these effects are dependent on the type of cognitive and walking tasks used in the dual-task paradigm. This study examined whether stride-time variability (STV) and trunk range of motion (RoM) are affected by the type of cognitive task and walking speed used during dual-task gait. Participants walked at both their preferred walking speed and at 25% of their preferred walking speed and performed a serial subtraction and a working memory task at both speeds. Although both tasks significantly reduced STV at both walking speeds, there was no difference between the two tasks. Trunk RoM was affected by the walking speed and type of cognitive task used during dual-task gait: Mediolateral trunk RoM was increased at the slow walking speed, and anterior-posterior trunk RoM was higher only when performing the serial subtraction task at the slow walking speed. The reduction of STV, regardless of cognitive-task type, suggests that healthy adults may redirect cognitive processes away from gait toward cognitive-task performance during dual-task gait.

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Mark Hayes, Paul C. Castle, Emma Z. Ross and Neil S. Maxwell

Purpose:

To examine the effect of a hot humid (HH) compared with a hot dry (HD) environment, matched for heat stress, on intermittent-sprint performance. In comparison with HD, HH environments compromise evaporative heat loss and decrease exercise tolerance. It was hypothesized that HH would produce greater physiological strain and reduce intermittent-sprint exercise performance compared with HD.

Method:

Eleven male team-sport players completed the cycling intermittent-sprint protocol (CISP) in 3 conditions, temperate (TEMP; 21.2°C ± 1.3°C, 48.6% ± 8.4% relative humidity [rh]), HH (33.7°C ± 0.5°C, 78.2% ± 2.3% rh), and HD (40.2°C ± 0.2°C, 33.1% ± 4.9% rh), with both heat conditions matched for heat stress.

Results:

All participants completed the CISP in TEMP, but 3 failed to completed the full protocol of 20 sprints in HH and HD. Peak power output declined in all conditions (P < .05) but was not different between any condition (sprints 1–14 [N = 11]: HH 1073 ± 150 W, HD 1104 ± 127 W, TEMP, 1074 ± 134; sprints 15–20 [N = 8]: HH 954 ± 114 W, HD 997 ± 115 W, TEMP 993 ± 94; P > .05). Physiological strain was not significantly different in HH compared with HD, but HH was higher than TEMP (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Intermittent-sprint exercise performance of 40 min duration is impaired, but it is not different in HH and HD environments matched for heat stress despite evidence of a trend toward greater physiological strain in an HH environment.