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Liam D. Harper, Adam Field, Liam D. Corr, and Robert J. Naughton

The aim of this investigation was to profile the physiological, physical, and biomechanical responses during walking football. A total of 17 male participants (aged 66 ± 6 years) participated. Heart rate; blood lactate; accelerometer variables (biomechanical load [PlayerLoad], changes of direction); and rating of perceived exertion were measured. Participants mean percentage of maximum heart rate was 76 ± 6% during the sessions, with rating of perceived exertion across all sessions at 13 ± 2. Blood lactate increased by ∼157% from presession (1.24 ± 0.4 mmol/L) to postsession (3.19 ± 1.7 mmol/L; p ≤ .0005). PlayerLoad values of 353 ± 67 arbitrary units were observed, as well as ∼100 changes of direction per session. In conclusion, walking football is a moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity. The longitudinal health benefits of walking football remain to be elucidated, particularly on bone health, cardiovascular fitness, and social and mental well-being.

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James A. Fleming, Liam D. Corr, James Earle, Robert J. Naughton, and Liam D. Harper

Purpose: To assess the training load, energy expenditure, dietary intake, and sleep quality and quantity of junior tennis players during a tennis training camp. Methods: Ten junior academy tennis players (14 [1] y) completed a 6-day camp with daily morning and afternoon training. Players wore accelerometer watches to measure activity energy expenditure and sleep. Global positioning system units were worn to monitor external training load (distance covered, maximum velocity, and PlayerLoad). Dietary intake was obtained from a food diary and supplementary food photography. Results: Players covered significantly more distance and had higher PlayerLoad during morning sessions than afternoon sessions (5370 [505] m vs 4726 [697] m, P < .005, d = 3.2; 725 [109] a.u. vs 588 [96] a.u., P < .005, d = 4.0). Players also ran further (5624 [897] m vs 4933 [343] m, P < .05, d = 1.0) and reached higher maximum velocities (5.17 [0.44] m·s−1 vs 4.94 [0.39] m·s−1, P < .05, d = 0.3) during simulated match play compared with drill sessions. Mean daily energy expenditure was 3959 (630) kcal. Mean energy intake was 2526 (183) kcal, resulting in mean energy deficits of 1433 (683) kcal. Players obtained an average of 6.9 (0.8) hours of sleep and recorded 28 (7) nightly awakenings. Conclusions: Junior academy tennis players failed to achieve energy balance and recorded suboptimal sleep quantity and quality throughout the training camp.

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Liam D. Corr, Adam Field, Deborah Pufal, Jenny Killey, Tom Clifford, Liam D. Harper, and Robert J. Naughton

Polyphenol consumption has become a popular method of trying to temper muscle damage. Cocoa flavanols (CF) have attracted attention due to their high polyphenol content and palatability. As such, this study will investigate whether an acute dose of CF can aid recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage. The study was a laboratory-based, randomized, single-blind, nutrient-controlled trial involving 23 participants (13 females and 10 males). Participants were randomized into either control ∼0 mg CF (n = 8, four females); high dose of 830 mg CF (CF830, n = 8, five females); or supra dose of 1,245 mg CF (CF1245, n = 7, four females). The exercise-induced muscle damage protocol consisted of five sets of 10 maximal concentric/eccentric hamstring curls and immediately consumed their assigned drink following completion. To measure muscle recovery, maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the knee flexors at 60° and 30°, a visual analog scale (VAS), and lower-extremity function scale were taken at baseline, immediately, 24-, 48-, and 72-hr postexercise-induced muscle damage. There was a main effect for time for all variables (p < .05). However, no significant differences were observed between groups for all measures (p ≥ .17). At 48 hr, there were large effect sizes between control and CF1245 for MVIC60 (p = .17, d = 0.8); MVIC30 (p = .26, d = 0.8); MVIC30 percentage change (p = .24 d = 0.9); and visual analog scale (p = .25, d = 0.9). As no significant differences were observed following the consumption of CF, there is reason to believe that CF offer no benefit for muscle recovery when ingested acutely.