For centuries, the general consensus has been that vigorous, competitive exercise was harmful and shortened life expectancy. Recent data from prospective cohort studies conducted on marathon runners, professional cyclists, and Olympic athletes indicate, however, that regular intense endurance-exercise training has protective benefits against cardiovascular disease and premature death. There are still important questions to be answered, such as what is the optimal dose, in terms of both duration and intensity of training or competition, beyond which the health benefits of regular exercise stabilize or might even potentially disappear.
Jonatan R. Ruiz, Carmen Fiuza-Luces, Nuria Garatachea and Alejandro Lucia
Nuria Garatachea, Zoraida Verde, Alejandro Santos-Lozano, Thomas Yvert, Gabriel Rodriguez-Romo, Francisco J. Sarasa, Sonsoles Hernández-Sánchez, Catalina Santiago and Alejandro Lucia
To determine the association of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism with leg-muscle explosive power in Spanish (white) elite basketball players and controls.
100 (60 men) elite basketball players (cases) and 283 nonathletic controls.
The authors assessed power performance by means of the vertical-squat and countermovement-jump tests.
Genotype distributions did not differ between groups (cases: 37.0% [RR], 42.0% [RX], and 21.0% [XX]; controls: 31.8% [RR], 49.8% [RX], and 18.4% [XX]; P = .353). The authors did not observe any effect of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism on study phenotypes in either group, including when they performed the analyses separately in men and women. They found no association between the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism and the likelihood of being an elite basketball player using the dominant or the recessive model, and the results remained unaltered when the analyses were adjusted for sex, weight, height, and age or when performed for men and women separately.
Although the ACTN3 R577X is associated with explosive muscle performance and this phenotype is important in the sport of basketball (ie, during jumps), the authors found no association with leg explosive power in elite basket players or with the status of being this type of athlete.
Gabriel Rodríguez-Romo, Thomas Yvert, Alfonso de Diego, Catalina Santiago, Alfonso L. Díaz de Durana, Vicente Carratalá, Nuria Garatachea and Alejandro Lucia
The authors compared ACTN3 R577X genotype and allele frequencies in the majority of all-time-best Spanish judo male athletes (n = 108) and 343 ethnically matched nonathletic men. No between-groups differences were found in allele (P = .077) or genotype distributions (P = .178). Thus, the R577X polymorphism was not significantly associated with the status of being an elite judo athlete, at least in the Spanish population. The contribution of genetics to sports-related phenotype traits is undeniable with some genotypes, of which ACTN3 R577X is currently the leading candidate, partly distinguishing individuals predisposed to either endurance or power sports. However, few athletic events can be categorized as purely power or endurance based. Although genetic testing (ie, for ACTN3 R577X) is already being marketed to predict sports talent and potential of young children, its usefulness is still questionable, at least in competitive judo.
Thomas Yvert, Catalina Santiago, Elena Santana-Sosa, Zoraida Verde, Felix Gómez-Gallego, Luis Lopez-Mojares, Margarita Pérez, Nuria Garatachea and Alejandro Lucia
In patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), physical capacity (PC) has been correlated with mortality risk. In turn, PC is dependent on genetic factors. This study examines several polymorphisms associated with PC and healthrelated phenotype traits (VO2peak, FEV1, FVC, PImax and muscular strength) in a group of children with CF (n = 66, primary purpose). The same analyses were also performed in a control group of healthy children (n = 113, secondary purpose). The polymorphisms determined were classified as muscle function polymorphisms (ACE rs1799752; AGT rs699; ACTN3 rs1815739; PTK2 rs7843014 and rs7460; MSTN rs1805086; TRHR rs7832552; NOS3 rs2070744) or energy metabolism polymorphisms (PPARGC1A rs8192678; NRF1 rs6949152; NRF2 rs12594956; TFAM rs1937; PPARD rs2267668; ACSL1 rs6552828). No significant polymorphism/phenotype correlations were detected in children with CF, with marginal associations being observed between NOS3 rs2070744 and VO2peak and FEV1, as well as between PPARGC1A rs8192678 and FEV1. Overall, similar findings were observed in the control group, i.e., no major associations. The PC-related polymorphisms examined seem to have no effects on the PC or health of children with CF.
Alejandro Santos-Lozano, Ana M. Angulo, Pilar S. Collado, Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, Helios Pareja-Galeano, Carmen Fiuza-Luces, Alejandro Lucia and Nuria Garatachea
Most studies on aging and marathon have analyzed elite marathoners, yet the latter only represent a very small fraction of all marathon participants. In addition, analysis of variance or unpaired Student t tests are frequently used to compare mean performance times across age groups. In this report the authors propose an alternative methodology to determine the impact of aging on marathon performance in both nonelite and elite marathoners participating in the New York City Marathon. In all, 471,453 data points corresponding to 370,741 different runners over 13 race editions (1999–2011) were retrieved. Results showed that the effect of aging on marathon performance was overall comparable in both sexes, the effect of aging differed between the fastest and slowest runners in both sexes, and the magnitude of the sex differences was higher in the slowest runners than in the fastest ones. Current data suggest that the biological differences between sexes allow men to have better marathon performance across most of the human life span.
Adrián Hernández-Vicente, Alejandro Santos-Lozano, Carmen Mayolas-Pi, Gabriel Rodríguez-Romo, Helios Pareja-Galeano, Natalia Bustamante, Eva M. Gómez-Trullén, Alejandro Lucia and Nuria Garatachea
To objectively assess physical activity levels and sedentary behavior in a cohort of Spanish centenarians and their nonagenarian peers. Physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns were objectively measured by an ActiGraph GT3X accelerometer in centenarians (n = 18; 83% women; 100.8 ± 0.8 [100–103] years) and nonagenarians (n = 11; 91% women; 93.3 ± 2.5 [90–98] years). Centenarians showed less counts per minute (17.6 ± 7.1 vs. 46.1 ± 23.7, p = .003, d = 1.851) and steps per day (455 ± 237 vs. 1,249 ± 776, p = .007, d = 1.587) than nonagenarians. The daily number of sedentary breaks was also lower in the former (5.0 ± 1.5 vs. 6.7 ± 2.0, p = .019, d = 0.971). When observing time distribution, the most active day period in both groups was the morning, with a peak between 10:00 and 11:59. This data suggest that the decline in physical activity levels continues to worsen until the end of the human lifespan.