Investigations of behavior and control of voluntary stereotyped rhythmic movement contribute to the enhancement of motor function and performance of disabled, sick, injured, healthy, and exercising humans. The present article presents examples of unprompted alteration of freely chosen movement rate during voluntary stereotyped rhythmic movements. The examples, in the form of both increases and decreases of movement rate, are taken from activities of cycling, finger tapping, and locomotion. It is described that, for example, strength training, changed power output, repeated bouts, and changed locomotion speed can elicit an unprompted alteration of freely chosen movement rate. The discussion of the examples is based on a tripartite interplay between descending drive, rhythm-generating spinal neural networks, and sensory feedback, as well as terminology from dynamic systems theory.
Mark Holten Mora-Jensen, Pascal Madeleine, and Ernst Albin Hansen
The present study analyzed (a) whether a recently reported phenomenon of repeated bout rate enhancement in finger tapping (i.e., a cumulating increase in freely chosen finger tapping frequency following submaximal muscle activation in the form of externally unloaded voluntary tapping) could be replicated and (b) the hypotheses that the faster tapping was accompanied by changed vertical displacement of the fingertip and changed peak force during tapping. Right-handed, healthy, and recreationally active individuals (n = 24) performed two 3-min index finger tapping bouts at freely chosen tapping frequency, separated by 10-min rest. The recently reported phenomenon of repeated bout rate enhancement was replicated. The faster tapping (8.8 ± 18.7 taps/min, corresponding to 6.0 ± 11.0%, p = .033) was accompanied by reduced vertical displacement (1.6 ± 2.9 mm, corresponding to 6.3 ± 14.9%, p = .012) of the fingertip. Concurrently, peak force was unchanged. The present study points at separate control mechanisms governing kinematics and kinetics during finger tapping.
Ernst Albin Hansen, Anders Emanuelsen, Robert Mørkegaard Gertsen, and Simon Schøler Raadahl Sørensen
It was tested whether a marathon was completed faster by applying a scientifically based rather than a freely chosen nutritional strategy. Furthermore, gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated. Nonelite runners performed a 10 km time trial 7 weeks before Copenhagen Marathon 2013 for estimation of running ability. Based on the time, runners were divided into two similar groups that eventually should perform the marathon by applying the two nutritional strategies. Matched pairs design was applied. Before the marathon, runners were paired based on their prerace running ability. Runners applying the freely chosen nutritional strategy (n = 14; 33.6 ± 9.6 years; 1.83 ± 0.09 m; 77.4 ± 10.6 kg; 45:40 ± 4:32 min for 10 km) could freely choose their in-race intake. Runners applying the scientifically based nutritional strategy (n = 14; 41.9 ± 7.6 years; 1.79 ± 0.11 m; 74.6 ± 14.5 kg; 45:44 ± 4:37 min) were targeting a combined in-race intake of energy gels and water, where the total intake amounted to approximately 0.750 L water, 60 g maltodextrin and glucose, 0.06 g sodium, and 0.09 g caffeine per hr. Gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed by a self-administered postrace questionnaire. Marathon time was 3:49:26 ± 0:25:05 and 3:38:31 ± 0:24:54 hr for runners applying the freely chosen and the scientifically based strategy, respectively (p = .010, effect size=-0.43). Certain runners experienced diverse serious gastrointestinal symptoms, but overall, symptoms were low and not different between groups (p > .05). In conclusion, nonelite runners completed a marathon on average 10:55 min, corresponding to 4.7%, faster by applying a scientifically based rather than a freely chosen nutritional strategy. Furthermore, average values of gastrointestinal symptoms were low and not different between groups.