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Mark Glaister

Tests of repeated-sprint ability provide a simple way to evaluate the basic physical characteristics of speed and endurance necessary to excel in various multiple-sprint sports. Furthermore, such tests help overcome the complications associated with field-based evaluations of this type of exercise. Nevertheless, despite over 40 y of research, many issues regarding our understanding of multiple-sprint work remain unresolved. This commentary aims to raise awareness of issues relating to methodology, physiological responses, and the effectiveness of various ergogenic and training strategies; to promote a greater understanding; and to drive future research.

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Jennifer N. Ahrens, Lisa K. Lloyd, Sylvia H. Crixell and John L. Walker

People of all ages and fitness levels participate regularly in aerobic-dance bench stepping (ADBS) to increase fitness and control body weight. Any reasonable method for enhancing the experience or effectiveness of ADBS would be beneficial. This study examined the acute effects of a single dose of caffeine on physiological responses during ADBS in women. When compared with a placebo, neither a 3- nor a 6-mg/kg dose of caffeine altered physiological responses or rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in 20 women (age 19–28 y) of average fitness level, not habituated to caffeine, while they performed an ADBS routine. Since neither dose of caffeine had any effect on VO2, Vco2, minute ventilation, respiratory-exchange ratio, rate of energy expenditure, heart rate, or RPE during ADBS exercise, it would not be prudent for a group exercise leader to recommend caffeine to increase energy cost or decrease perception of effort in an ADBS session. Furthermore, caffeine ingestion should not interfere with monitoring intensity using heart rate or RPE during ADBS.

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Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner, Mareike Cordes, Henner Hanssen, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss and Oliver Faude

The study investigated physiological responses during 2-km walking at a certain intensity of a previously performed maximal exercise test where moderate perceived exertion was reported. Twenty seniors were examined by an incremental walking treadmill test to obtain maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). A submaximal 2-km walking test was applied 1 wk later. The corresponding moderate perceived exertion (4 on the CR-10 scale) during the VO2max test was applied to the 2-km treadmill test. Moderate exertion (mean rating of perceived exertion [RPE]: 4 ± 1) led to 76% ± 8% of VO2max and 79% ± 6% of maximal heart rate. RPE values drifted with a significant time effect (p = .001, ηp = .58) during the 2-km test from 3 ± 0.7 to 4.6 ± 0.8. Total energy expenditure (EE) was 3.3 ± 0.5 kcal/kg. No gender differences in ventilatory, heart-rate, or EE data occurred. Brisk walking at moderate RPE of 3–5 would lead to a beneficial physiological response during endurance training and a weekly EE of nearly 1,200 kcal when exercising 5 times/wk for 30 min.

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Paul G. Montgomery, David B. Pyne and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose:

To characterize the physical and physiological responses during different basketball practice drills and games.

Methods:

Male basketball players (n = 11; 19.1 ± 2.1 y, 1.91 ± 0.09 m, 87.9 ± 15.1 kg; mean ± SD) completed offensive and defensive practice drills, half court 5on5 scrimmage play, and competitive games. Heart rate, VO2 and triaxial accelerometer data (physical demand) were normalized for individual participation time. Data were log-transformed and differences between drills and games standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with the effect size (ES) statistic.

Results:

There was no substantial difference in the physical or physiological variables between offensive and defensive drills; physical load (9.5%; 90% confidence limits ±45); mean heart rate (-2.4%; ±4.2); peak heart rate (-0.9%; ±3.4); and VO2 (–5.7%; ±9.1). Physical load was moderately greater in game play compared with a 5on5 scrimmage (85.2%; ±40.5); with a higher mean heart rate (12.4%; ±5.4). The oxygen demand for live play was substantially larger than 5on5 (30.6%; ±15.6).

Conclusions:

Defensive and offensive drills during basketball practice have similar physiological responses and physical demand. Live play is substantially more demanding than a 5on5 scrimmage in both physical and physiological attributes. Accelerometers and predicted oxygen cost from heart rate monitoring systems are useful for differentiating the practice and competition demands of basketball.

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Gerhard Tschakert and Peter Hofmann

High-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) has been applied in competitive sports for more than 100 years. In the last decades, interval studies revealed a multitude of beneficial effects in various subjects despite a large variety of exercise prescriptions. Therefore, one could assume that an accurate prescription of HIIE is not relevant. However, the manipulation of HIIE variables (peak workload and peak-workload duration, mean workload, intensity and duration of recovery, number of intervals) directly affects the acute physiological responses during exercise leading to specific medium- and long-term training adaptations. The diversity of intermittent-exercise regimens applied in different studies may suggest that the acute physiological mechanisms during HIIE forced by particular exercise prescriptions are not clear in detail or not taken into consideration. A standardized and consistent approach to the prescription and classification of HIIE is still missing. An optimal and individual setting of the HIIE variables requires the consideration of the physiological responses elicited by the HIIE regimen. In this regard, particularly the intensities and durations of the peak-workload phases are highly relevant since these variables are primarily responsible for the metabolic processes during HIIE in the working muscle (eg, lactate metabolism). In addition, the way of prescribing exercise intensity also markedly influences acute metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses. Turn-point or threshold models are suggested to be more appropriate and accurate to prescribe HIIE intensity than using percentages of maximal heart rate or maximal oxygen uptake.

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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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Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby and Christopher Ring

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of moral identity on physiological responses to affective pictures, namely, the startle blink reflex and pain-related evoked potential. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 46) athletes participating in contact team sports were randomly assigned to either a moral identity group or a non-moral identity group and viewed a series of unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant sport-specific pictures. During picture viewing, a noxious electrocutaneous stimulus was delivered as the startle probe and the startle blink and pain-related evoked potential were measured. Upon completion of physiological measures, participants reviewed the pictures and rated them for valence and arousal. ANOVAs revealed that participants in the moral identity group displayed larger startle blinks and smaller pain-related potentials than did those in the non-moral identity group across all picture valence categories. However, the difference in the magnitude of startle blinks between the moral and non-moral identity groups was larger in response to unpleasant than pleasant and neutral pictures. Our findings suggest that moral identity affects physiological responses to sport-specific affective pictures, thereby providing objective evidence for the link between moral identity and emotion in athletes.

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Owen Spendiff and Ian G. Campbell

Eight men with spinal cord injury ingested glucose (CHO) or placebo (PLA) 20-min prior to exercise. Participants performed arm crank ergometry for one-hour at 65% V̇O2peak, followed by a 20-min performance test in which athletes were asked to achieve their greatest possible distance. Physiological responses during the one-hour tests were similar between CHO and PLA trials. At the onset of exercise, the CHO trial blood glucose concentrations were higher than PLA (p < .05) but returned to resting values after 20-min exercise. Respiratory exchange ratio responses during the CHO trial were indicative of a higher rate of CHO oxidation (p < .05). A greater distance (km) was covered in the 20-min performance tests after CHO ingestion (p < .05). Results show preingestion of glucose improves endurance performance of wheelchair athletes.

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John G. Seifert, Greg L. Paul, Dennis E. Eddy and Robert Murray

The effects of preexercise hyperinsulinemia on exercising plasma glucose, plasma insulin, and metabolic responses were assessed during 50 min cycling at 62% VO2max. Subjects were fed a 6% sucrose/glucose solution (LCHO) or a 20% maltodextrin/glucose solution (HCHO) to induce changes in plasma insulin. During exercise, subjects assessed perceived nauseousness and lightheadedness. By the start of exercise, plasma glucose and plasma insulin had increased. In the LCHO trial, plasma glucose values significantly decreased below the baseline value at 30 min of exercise. However, by 40 min, exercise plasma glucose and insulin values were similar to the baseline value. Exercise plasma glucose and insulin did not differ from baseline values in the HCHO trial. Ingestion of LCHO or HCHO was not associated with nausea or lightheadedness. It was concluded that the hyperinsulinemia induced by preexercise feediigs of CHO did not result in frank hypoglycemia or adversely affect sensory or physiological responses during 50 min of moderate-intensity cycling.

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Jerry Mayo, Brian Lyons, Kendal Honea, John Alvarez and Richard Byrum

Context:

Rehabilitation specialists should understand cardiovascular responses to different movement patterns.

Objective:

To investigate physiological responses to forward- (FM), backward- (BM), and lateral-motion (LM) exercise at self-selected intensities.

Design:

Within-subjects design to test independent variable, movement pattern; repeated-measures ANOVA to analyze oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE).

Participants:

10 healthy women.

Results:

VO2 and HR were significantly higher during LM than during FM and BM exercise. The respective VO2 (ml · kg · min–1) and HR (beats/min) values for each condition were FM 25.19 ± 3.6, 142 ± 11; BM 24.24 ± 2.7, 145 ± 12; and LM 30.5 ± 4.6, 160 ± 13. No differences were observed for RER or RPE.

Conclusions:

At self-selected intensities all 3 modes met criteria for maintaining cardiovascular fitness. Practitioners can use these results to develop rehabilitation programs based on clients’ perception and level of discomfort