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Anne O. Brady, Chad R. Straight and Ellen M. Evans

The aging process leads to adverse changes in body composition (increases in fat mass and decreases in skeletal muscle mass), declines in physical function (PF), and ultimately increased risk for disability and loss of independence. Specific components of body composition or muscle capacity (strength and power) may be useful in predicting PF; however, findings have been mixed regarding the most salient predictor of PF. The development of a conceptual model potentially aids in understanding the interrelated factors contributing to PF with the factors of interest being physical activity, body composition, and muscle capacity. This article also highlights sex differences in these domains. Finally, factors known to affect PF, such as sleep, depression, fatigue, and self-efficacy, are discussed. Development of a comprehensive conceptual model is needed to better characterize the most salient factors contributing to PF and to subsequently inform the development of interventions to reduce physical disability in older adults.

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Arnel L. Aguinaldo, Janet Buttermore and Henry Chambers

High rotational torques during baseball pitching are believed to be linked to most overuse injuries at the shoulder. This study investigated the effects of trunk rotation on shoulder rotational torques during pitching. A total of 38 pitchers from the professional, college, high school, and youth ranks were recruited for motion analysis. Professional pitchers demonstrated the least amount of rotational torque (p = .001) among skeletally mature players, while exhibiting the ability to rotate their trunks significantly later in the pitching cycle, as compared to other groups (p = .01). It was concluded that the timing of their rotation was optimized as to allow the throwing shoulder to move with decreased joint loading by conserving the momentum generated by the trunk. These results suggest that a specific pattern in throwing can be utilized to increase the efficiency of the pitch, which would allow a player to improve performance with decreased risk of overuse injury.

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Damien McKay, Carolyn Broderick and Katharine Steinbeck

With the advent of long-term athlete development programs and early sport specialization, the training of elite athletes now spans the period of adolescence. Adolescence represents a period of physical, psychosocial and cognitive development, but also a time of physical and psychological vulnerability. Changes in skeletal and physiological attributes coincide with an increased risk of sport related injury. A window of vulnerability is shaped by the properties of the musculoskeletal system, the influence of pubertal hormones and the lag time between physical and cognitive development. This article aims to challenge the assumption of adolescence as a time of increased vigor alone, by highlighting the presence of specific vulnerabilities, and proposing that the hormonal, musculoskeletal, and neurocognitive changes of adolescence may represent intrinsic risk factors for sport related injury.

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Susan K. Grimston and Ronald F. Zernicke

Physical exercise is touted as being beneficial for enhancing the functional quality of the skeletal system, as well as the cardiovascular and muscular systems. Unwise training practices, however, combined with potential risk factors may dispose an individual to a bone stress reaction (bone responses to repetitive loads within the physiological range) or stress fracture (frank fracture of a bone from clinically significant stress reactions that produce structural failure). Here, we trace the terms that have been used to describe these injuries and recount the etiology of stress reactions and fractures. Epidemiological data have been reported for military and athletic populations, and in many instances recurring risk factors have been identified, both those that can be modified and those that cannot. In this paper, we review epidemiological data and potential risk factors for stress fractures and summarize current thought about the treatment and prevention of these exercise-related injuries.

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Akinori Nagano, Senshi Fukashiro and Taku Komura

Contribution of series elasticity of the human mm. triceps surae in cyclic heel-raise exercise (similar to hopping but the feet do not leave the floor) was examined via computer modeling and simulation. A two-dimensional skeletal model of the human body was constructed. Upright posture was maintained throughout the simulation to prevent the model from falling. A mathematical representation of the mm. triceps surae was implemented in the skeletal model. The muscle was activated by the neural activation input signal with a time resolution of 0.050 sec. Cyclic heel-raise exercises of cycle duration ranging from 0.300 sec to 0.900 sec, corresponding to the motion frequency of 200 to 66.7 cycles/min, were generated using an optimization approach. The goal of the numerical optimization was to generate cyclic motions with as much range of motion as possible. As a result, realistic heel-raise motions were generated with the range of motion between 0.0023 m (cycle duration = 0.300 sec) and 0.0414 m (cycle duration = 0.900 sec). It was found that contribution of the series elasticity in positive mechanical work output of the muscle-tendon complex during the pushoff phase (from the lowest position to the termination of a cycle) increased as motion frequency increased (3% at 66.7 cycles/min to 47% at 200 cycles/min). Relatively higher muscle activation was found during the downward moving phase when the motion frequency was higher. These tendencies are consistent with the findings reported in preceding studies involving experimental animals as well as human participants. It is suggested that series elasticity plays an integral role in the generation of cyclic human motions.

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Jenna B. Gillen, Jorn Trommelen, Floris C. Wardenaar, Naomi Y.J. Brinkmans, Joline J. Versteegen, Kristin L. Jonvik, Christoph Kapp, Jeanne de Vries, Joost J.G.C. van den Borne, Martin J. Gibala and Luc J.C. van Loon

Dietary protein intake should be optimized in all athletes to ensure proper recovery and enhance the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training. In addition to total protein intake, the use of specific proteincontaining food sources and the distribution of protein throughout the day are relevant for optimizing protein intake in athletes. In the present study, we examined the daily intake and distribution of various proteincontaining food sources in a large cohort of strength, endurance and team-sport athletes. Well-trained male (n=327) and female (n=226) athletes completed multiple web-based 24-hr dietary recalls over a 2-4 wk period. Total energy intake, the contribution of animal- and plant-based proteins to daily protein intake, and protein intake at six eating moments were determined. Daily protein intake averaged 108±33 and 90±24 g in men and women, respectively, which corresponded to relative intakes of 1.5±0.4 and 1.4±0.4 g/kg. Dietary protein intake was correlated with total energy intake in strength (r=0.71, p <.001), endurance (r=0.79, p <.001) and team-sport (r=0.77, p <.001) athletes. Animal and plant-based sources of protein intake was 57% and 43%, respectively. The distribution of protein intake was 19% (19±8 g) at breakfast, 24% (25±13 g) at lunch and 38% (38±15 g) at dinner. Protein intake was below the recommended 20 g for 58% of athletes at breakfast, 36% at lunch and 8% at dinner. In summary, this survey of athletes revealed they habitually consume > 1.2 g protein/kg/d, but the distribution throughout the day may be suboptimal to maximize the skeletal muscle adaptive response to training.

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Tibor Hortobágyi, Jeff Money, Donghai Zheng, Ronald Dudek, David Fraser and Lynis Dohm

This study compared muscle adaptations after 7 days of exercise with eccentric-overload (EO) or standard (ST) resistive training in young (20 years) and older (69 years) adults. Young EO and ST gained 103 and 30 N, respectively, and older EO and ST gained 63 and 25 N of strength, respectively (all p < .05). Types I and IIa MHC mRNA levels were not altered, but Type IIx levels decreased 31% and 63% after the first and seventh exercise bouts, respectively, in young and decreased 30% after the seventh bout in older participants (all p < 05), independent of loading type. Type 11a fiber increased. Type IIx decreased, and Type IIa increased in both age groups independent of loading type (all p < 05). Electron microscopy revealed no myofibrillar disruption in young or older muscle. These data suggest that short-term EO produces larger strength gains than does ST without muscle-cell disruption or loading-type-specific changes in MHC mRNA isoforms in young and older skeletal muscle.

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Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa, Saeed A. Al-Refaee, Muhammed A. Sulaiman, Ma’ed Y. Dafterdar, Abdullah S. Al-Herbish and Andrew C. Chukwuemeka

The purpose of this study was to examine the maximal cardiorespiratory responses of trained adolescent male swimmers (SWM, N = 18), soccer players (SOC, N = 18), and moderately active reference subjects (CON, N = 16) to treadmill running (TRD) and arm ergometry (ARM). Mean values (±SD)for skeletal age were similar among the three groups (12.5± 1.9, 12.7 ± 1.1, and 12.5 ± 1.6 years, for the SWM, SOC, and CON, respectively). Allometric scaling procedures, relating VO2max and body mass, were used and mass exponents of .80 and .74 were identified for TRD and ARM data, respectively. During TRD testing SOC attained significantly higher VO2max values when expressed in ml · kg−1 · min−1, or ml · kg−0.80 · min−1 than the other two groups. However, during ARM testing, the SWM achieved significantly higher VO2peak values (ml · kg−0.74 · min−1 and scaled to arm-CSA) than SOC. The ratio of ARM-VAT to TRD-VAT was significantly higher in SWM (50.1± 9%) compared to SOC (41.2±5%), or CON (41.9 ± 6%).

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Dario I. Carrasco, John Lawrence III and Arthur W. English

The primary purpose of this study was to establish whether the neuromuscular compartments of cat lateral gastrocnemius produce different mechanical actions on the skeletal system, by determining the contributions made by these compartments to the torques produced about the ankle joint. It was postulated that neuromuscular compartments might represent output elements of the spinal circuits. If so, they should produce unique mechanical actions. Isometric torques about the center of the ankle joint produced by the neuromuscular compartments of the cat lateral gastrocnemius were measured with a multiaxis force-moment sensor connected to the plantar surface of the foot. Individual compartment torques were elicited by activation of the primary compartment branches of the lateral gastrocnemius nerve. The magnitude of the individual torque components, and thus of the resultant torque, was significantly different between compartments. In three of the four lateral gastrocnemius compartments, significantly different torque trajectories were noted. The results, together with those from previous studies demonstrating that compartments can be activated in a task-dependent manner, suggest that neuromuscular compartments represent anatomical substrates that can be used by the nervous system for regulating movement.

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Terry J. Housh, Jeffrey R. Stout, Dona J. Housh and Glen O. Johnson

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the covariate influence of estimated muscle mass on age-related increases in isokinetic peak torque for flexion and extension of the forearm and leg in high school wrestlers. One hundred thirteen high school wrestlers volunteered to be measured for strength at 30, 180, and 300°·s−1. Underwater weighing was performed to determine body composition characteristics, and the anthropometric equation of Martin et al. (10) was used to estimate total skeletal muscle mass (MM). There were significant (p < .05) relationships (r = .19 to .37) for age versus peak torque covaried independently for fat-free weight (FFW) and MM for forearm flexion at 30, 180, and 300°·s−1; forearm extension at 180 and 300°·s−1; and leg extension at 30, 180 and 300°·s−1. The results of this study indicated that there was no increase across age in MM per unit of FFW, and the age-related increases in peak torque in high school wrestlers could not be fully accounted for by changes in MM.