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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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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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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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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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Roy J. Shephard

Autonomic dysreflexia is a common response to painful stimuli following high level spinal injuries. Loss of normal control of sympathetic reflexes leads to large increases in blood pressure, accompanied by headache and occasional more dangerous sequelae. Although now officially banned, intentional dysreflexia ("boosting") is still exploited by some competitors to gain an unfair advantage. It is thus important to consider physiological mechanisms, consequences for health and performance, and methods of controlling this abuse. Boosters perceive the practice as frequent, performance enhancing, and of low immediate risk. Effective methods of eliminating the practice may include more stringent control of competitors, evaluating and publicizing short-and long-term risks, and countering arguments that boosting is an ethically acceptable method of restoring a normal physiological response.

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Lawrence E. Armstrong, Roger W. Hubbard, E. Wayne Askew, Jane P. De Luca, Catherine O'Brien, Angela Pasqualicchio and Ralph P. Francesconi

This investigation examined whether low sodium (Na+) (LNA; 68 mEq Na+·d-1) or moderate Na+ (MNA; 137 mEq Na+.d-1) intake allowed humans to maintain health, exercise, and physiologic function during 10 days of prolonged exercise-heat acclimation (HA). Seventeen volunteers, ages 19 to 21, consumed either LNA (n=8) or MNA (n=9) during HA (41°C, 21% RH; treadmill walking for 30 min.h-1, 8 h·d-1 at 5.6 kmh-l, 5% grade), which resulted in significantly reduced heart rate, rectal temperature, and urine Na+ for both groups. There were few between-diet differences in any variables measured. Mean plasma volume in LNA expanded significantly less than in MNA by Days 11 and 15, but reached the MNA level on Day 17 (+12.3 vs. +12.4%). The absence of heat illness, the presence of normal physiologic responses, and the total distance walked indicated successful and similar HA with both levels of dietary Na+.

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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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Richard B. Kreider

The physiological effects of endurance exercise have been a primary area of research in exercise science for many years. This research has led not only to a greater understanding of human physiology but also the limits of human performance. This is especially true regarding the effects of endurance exercise on energy metabolism and nutrition. However, as science has attempted to understand the physiological and nutritional demands of endurance exercise lasting 1 to 3 hours, an increasing number of athletes have begun participating in ultraendurance events lasting 4 to 24 hours. Consequently some research groups are now investigating the physiological responses to ultraendurance training and performance. This paper reviews the literature on ultraendurance performance and discusses nutritional factors that may affect bioenergetic, thermoregulatory, endocrinological, and hematological responses to ultraendurance performance.

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Thomas W. Rowland

Performance in all forms of motor activity related to sport performance improves progressively during the course of the childhood years as a consequence of normal growth and development. Whether (a) sport training can accelerate and ultimately enhance this biological development and (b) the existence of certain ages when training might prove to be more effective in improving performance, particularly early in childhood, remains uncertain. Physiological adaptations to endurance training in prepubertal children (improvements in maximal oxygen uptake) are dampened compared with adults, but enhancements of strength following resistance training are equally effective at all ages. The extent that intensive training regimens characteristic of early sport specialization in children can trigger physiological and performance adaptations may therefore depend on the form of exercise involved. Clearly, additional research is needed to enhance the understanding of the physiological responses to intensive sport training in prepubertal individuals.