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Jace A. Delaney, Heidi R. Thornton, Grant M. Duthie and Ben J. Dascombe

Background:

Rugby league coaches adopt replacement strategies for their interchange players to maximize running intensity; however, it is important to understand the factors that may influence match performance.

Purpose:

To assess the independent factors affecting running intensity sustained by interchange players during professional rugby league.

Methods:

Global positioning system (GPS) data were collected from all interchanged players (starters and nonstarters) in a professional rugby league squad across 24 matches of a National Rugby League season. A multilevel mixed-model approach was employed to establish the effect of various technical (attacking and defensive involvements), temporal (bout duration, time in possession, etc), and situational (season phase, recovery cycle, etc) factors on the relative distance covered and average metabolic power (Pmet) during competition. Significant effects were standardized using correlation coefficients, and the likelihood of the effect was described using magnitude-based inferences.

Results:

Superior intermittent running ability resulted in very likely large increases in both relative distance and Pmet. As the length of a bout increased, both measures of running intensity exhibited a small decrease. There were at least likely small increases in running intensity for matches played after short recovery cycles and against strong opposition. During a bout, the number of collision-based involvements increased running intensity, whereas time in possession and ball time out of play decreased demands.

Conclusions:

These data demonstrate a complex interaction of individual- and match-based factors that require consideration when developing interchange strategies, and the manipulation of training loads during shorter recovery periods and against stronger opponents may be beneficial.

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Marcin Baranowski, Jan Górski, Barbara Klapcinska, Zbigniew Waskiewicz and Ewa Sadowska-Krepa

We have previously shown that acute exercise increases the level of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in plasma and ceramide in erythrocytes of untrained subjects. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of ultramarathon run on the plasma and erythrocyte levels of the following bioactive sphingolipids: S1P, sphinganine-1-phosphate (SA1P), sphingosine, sphinganine, and ceramide. Blood samples were collected from seven male amateur runners participating in a 48-hr ultramarathon race before the run, after 24 and 48 hr of running, and following 24 and 48 hr of recovery. The sphingolipids were quantified by means of HPLC. Sustained running for 48 hr resulted in a progressive decline in plasma S1P to a level significantly lower than at prerace, and then remained stable over the next 48 hr of recovery. In erythrocytes, S1P content was stable until 24 hr of recovery, then rose abruptly to reach peak values after 48 hr of recovery. The plasma level of SA1P decreased progressively during the competition and remained unchanged over the recovery. In erythrocytes, the level of SA1P increased after 24 hr running and normalized thereafter. The level of ceramide, both in plasma and erythrocytes, was not significantly affected by the ultraendurance run. We speculate that reduction in plasma level of S1P during and after the run reduces its biological actions and might be responsible for some negative side-effects of the ultraendurance effort.

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Veronika Leichtfried, Friedrich Hanser, Andrea Griesmacher, Markus Canazei and Wolfgang Schobersberger

Context:

Demands on concentrative and cognitive performance are high in sport shooting and vary in a circadian pattern, aroused by internal and external stimuli. The most prominent external stimulus is light. Bright light (BL) has been shown to have a certain impact on cognitive and physical performance.

Purpose:

To evaluate the impact of a single half hour of BL exposure in the morning hours on physical and cognitive performance in 15 sport shooters. In addition, courses of sulfateoxymelatonin (aMT6s), tryptophan (TRP), and kynurenine (KYN) were monitored.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 15 sport shooters were exposed to 30 min of BL and dim light (DL) in the early-morning hours. Shooting performance, balance, visuomotor performance, and courses of aMT6s, TRP, and KYN were evaluated.

Results:

Shooting performance was 365.4 (349.7–381.0) and 368.5 (353.9–383.1), identical in both light setups. Numbers of right reactions (sustained attention) and deviations from the horizontal plane (balance-related measure) were higher after BL. TRP concentrations decreased from 77.5 (73.5–81.4) to 66.9 (60.7–67.0) in the DL setup only.

Conclusions:

The 2 light conditions generated heterogeneous visuomotor and physiological effects in sport shooters. The authors therefore suggest that a single half hour of BL exposure is effective in improving cognitive aspects of performance, but not physical performance. Further research is needed to evaluate BL’s impact on biochemical parameters.

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Randall L. Wilber

“Live high-train low” (LH+TL) altitude training allows athletes to “live high” for the purpose of facilitating altitude acclimatization, as characterized by a significant and sustained increase in endogenous erythropoietin and subsequent increase in erythrocyte volume, while simultaneously enabling them to “train low” for the purpose of replicating sea-level training intensity and oxygen flux, thereby inducing beneficial metabolic and neuromuscular adaptations. In addition to natural/terrestrial LH+TL, several simulated LH+TL devices have been developed including nitrogen apartments, hypoxic tents, and hypoxicator devices. One of the key issues regarding the practical application of LH+TL is what the optimal hypoxic dose is that is needed to facilitate altitude acclimatization and produce the expected beneficial physiological responses and sea-level performance effects. The purpose of this review is to examine this issue from a research-based and applied perspective by addressing the following questions: What is the optimal altitude at which to live, how many days are required at altitude, and how many hours per day are required? It appears that for athletes to derive the hematological benefits of LH+TL while using natural/terrestrial altitude, they need to live at an elevation of 2000 to 2500 m for >4 wk for >22 h/d. For athletes using LH+TL in a simulated altitude environment, fewer hours (12-16 h) of hypoxic exposure might be necessary, but a higher elevation (2500 to 3000 m) is required to achieve similar physiological responses.

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Dru A. Henson, David C. Nieman, Andy D. Blodgett, Diane E. Butterworth, Alan Utter, J. Mark Davis, Gerald Sonnenfeld, Darla S. Morton, Omar R. Fagoaga and Sandra L. Nehlsen-Cannarella

The influence of exercise mode and 6% carbohydrate (C) versus placebo (P) beverage ingestion on lymphocyte proliferation, natural killer cell cytotoxicily (NKCA), Interleukin (IL)-1ß production, and hormonal responses to 2.5 hr of intense running and cycling (~75% V˙O2max) was measured in 10 triathletes serving as their own controls. The C versus P condition (but not exercise mode) resulted in higher plasma glucose concentrations, lower plasma cortisol concentrations, reduced poslexercise lymphocytosis and NKCA, and a lessened T-cell reduction during recovery. No condition or mode effects were observed for concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphocyte proliferation. Significant mode (but not condition) effects were observed for lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-1ß production over time. However, when expressed per monocyte, the mode effect was abolished and a sustained suppression in IL-1 ß/monocyte was observed in all sessions throughout recovery. These data indicate that carbohydrate ingestion significantly affects plasma glucose and cortisol concentrations, blood lymphocyte counts, and NKCA, whereas exercise mode has no effect on these parameters.

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Joshua Lowndes, Robert F. Zoeller, George A. Kyriazis, Mary P. Miles, Richard L. Seip, Niall M. Moyna, Paul S. Visich, Linda S. Pescatello, Paul M. Gordon, Paul D. Thompson and Theodore J. Angelopoulos

The purpose of this study was to examine whether leptin levels affect the response of leptin to exercise training (ET) and whether this is also affected by C-reactive protein (CRP) or the three common Apolipoprotein E genotypes (APOE). Ninety-seven (male = 45, female = 52) sedentary individuals underwent 6 months of supervised ET. Blood was sampled before the initiation of ET, and again 24 and 72 hr after completion of the final training session. ET resulted in a small reduction in body mass (80.47 ± 18.03 vs 79.42 ± 17.34 kg, p < .01). Leptin was reduced 24 hr after the final exercise session (p < .01), but returned to normal after 72 hr (p > .05)—Pre: 13.51 ± 12.27, 24hr: 12.14 ± 12.34, 72hr: 12.98 ± 11.40 ng/ml. The most hyperleptinemic individuals had a greater initial response, which was sustained through to 72 hr after the final session in the pooled study population (p < .01), and in both males (p < .05) and females (p < .05) separately. CRP was related to leptin independently of body weight and positively related to the reductions in leptin. APOE genotype was not related to leptin levels and did not affect the response to ET. Leptin levels may only be reduced by ET in those with hyperleptinemia. In addition, both the initial extent of hyperleptinemia and the subsequent reduction in leptin may be related to low grade chronic systemic inflammation.

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Fiona Pelly, Nanna L. Meyer, Jeni Pearce, Sarah J. Burkhart and Louise M. Burke

The aim of this study was to evaluate the food provision and nutrition support at the London 2012 Olympic (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) from the perspective of sports nutrition experts attending the event. Participants (n = 15) were asked to complete an online survey and rate on a Likert scale menu qualities, food safety, sustainability practices, nutrition labeling, and provision for cultural needs, dietary regimes and specific situations. Open-ended responses were incorporated to explore expert opinion and areas for improvement. Participants rated their overall experience of the food provision as 7.6 out of 10 (range 5 to 10), with the majority (n = 11) rating it greater than 7. The variety, accessibility, presentation, temperature, and freshness of menu items rated as average to good. A below average rating was received for recovery food and beverages, provision of food for traveling to other venues, taking suitable snacks out of the dining hall and provision of food at other venues. However, the variety and accessibility of choices for Ramadan, and provision of postcompetition food were rated highly. A number of comments were received about the lack of gluten free and lower energy/fat items. The inclusion of allergens on nutrition labeling was considered more important than nutrient content. While dietetic review of the menu in advance of the OG and PG is clearly a valuable process that has resulted in improvements in the food supply, there are still areas that need to be addressed that are currently not implemented during the event.

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Alessandro Moura Zagatto, Jorge Vieira de Mello Leite, Marcelo Papoti and Ralph Beneke

Purpose:

To test the hypotheses that the metabolic profile of table tennis is dominantly aerobic, anaerobic energy is related to the accumulated duration and intensity of rallies, and activity and metabolic profile are interrelated with the individual fitness profile determined via table tennis–specific tests.

Methods:

Eleven male experienced table tennis players (22 ± 3 y, 77.6 ± 18.9 kg, 177.1 ± 8.1 cm) underwent 2 simulated table tennis matches to analyze aerobic (WOXID) energy, anaerobic glycolytic (WBLC) energy, and phosphocreatine breakdown (WPCr); a table tennis–specific graded exercise test to measure ventilatory threshold and peak oxygen uptake; and an exhaustive supramaximal table tennis effort to determine maximal accumulated deficit of oxygen.

Results:

WOXID, WBLC, and WPCr corresponded to 96.5% ± 1.7%, 1.0% ± 0.7%, and 2.5% ± 1.4%, respectively. WOXID was interrelated with rally duration (r = .81) and number of shots per rally (r = .77), whereas match intensity was correlated with WPCr (r = .62) and maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (r = .58).

Conclusions:

The metabolic profile of table tennis is predominantly aerobic and interrelated with the individual fitness profile determined via table tennis–specific tests. Table tennis–specific ventilatory threshold determines the average oxygen uptake and overall WOXID, whereas table tennis–specific maximal accumulated oxygen deficit indicates the ability to use and sustain slightly higher blood lactate concentration and WBLC during the match.

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Ana Sousa, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pendergast, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Swimming has become an important area of sport science research since the 1970s, with the bioenergetic factors assuming a fundamental performance-influencing role. The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical evaluation of the literature concerning oxygen-uptake (VO2) assessment in swimming, by describing the equipment and methods used and emphasizing the recent works conducted in ecological conditions. Particularly in swimming, due to the inherent technical constraints imposed by swimming in a water environment, assessment of VO2max was not accomplished until the 1960s. Later, the development of automated portable measurement devices allowed VO2max to be assessed more easily, even in ecological swimming conditions, but few studies have been conducted in swimming-pool conditions with portable breath-by-breath telemetric systems. An inverse relationship exists between the velocity corresponding to VO2max and the time a swimmer can sustain it at this velocity. The energy cost of swimming varies according to its association with velocity variability. As, in the end, the supply of oxygen (whose limitation may be due to central—O2 delivery and transportation to the working muscles—or peripheral factors—O2 diffusion and utilization in the muscles) is one of the critical factors that determine swimming performance, VO2 kinetics and its maximal values are critical in understanding swimmers’ behavior in competition and to develop efficient training programs.

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Ronald J. Maughan, Susan M. Shirreffs and Alan Vernec

The use of dietary supplements is widespread among athletes in all sports and at all levels of competition, as it is in the general population. For the athlete training at the limits of what is sustainable, or for those seeking a shortcut to achieving their aims, supplements offer the prospect of bridging the gap between success and failure. Surveys show, however, that this is often not an informed choice and that the knowledge level among consumers is often low and that they are often influenced in their decisions by individuals with an equally inadequate understanding of the issues at stake. Supplement use may do more harm than good, unless it is based on a sound analysis of the evidence. Where a deficiency of an essential nutrient has been established by appropriate investigations, supplementation can provide a rapid and effective correction of the problem. Supplements can also provide a convenient and time-efficient solution to achieving the necessary intake of key nutrients such as protein and carbohydrate. Athletes contemplating the use of supplements should consider the potential for both positive and negative outcomes. Some ergogenic supplements may be of benefit to some athletes in some specific contexts, but many are less effective than is claimed. Some may be harmful to health of performance and some may contain agents prohibited by anti-doping regulations. Athletes should make informed choices that maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks.