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Denver M.Y. Brown and Steven R. Bray

physical endurance performance following exposure to a mentally fatiguing cognitive control task. The secondary purpose was to investigate the effects of mental fatigue and incentives on muscle activation (i.e., EMG amplitude) during physical performance. Based on prior ego-depletion research in exercise

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Roberta E. Rikli and C. Jessie Jones

The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability and validity of a 6-min walk test as a measure of physical endurance in older adults. Seventy-seven subjects, ages 60-87. performed three separate 6-min walk tests and a treadmill test and completed questionnaire items assessing physical activity level and functional status. The 6-min walk had good test-retest reliability (.88 <R < .94). particularly when a practice trial preceded the test trial. Convergent validity of the 6-min walk was demonstrated by its moderate correlation (.71 < r < .82) with treadmill performance. Construct validity was assessed by determining the ability of the test to detect differences between different age and activity level groups. As expected, walking scores decreased significantly across decades and were significantly lower for low-active subjects compared to high-active subjects. There was a moderate relationship between 6-min walk scores and self-reported functional ability. It was concluded that the 6-min walk can be used to obtain reasonably reliable and valid measures of physical endurance in older adults and that it moderately reflects overall physical functional performance.

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Martin D. Hoffman

Participation in ultraendurance sports has been increasing in recent years. This participation growth has been associated with an increase in research focused on such events. While the total amount of research related to these sports remains relatively small compared with other sports, the research growth is encouraging. New sources for research funding for ultraendurance sports should advance the science. In addition to continued opportunities with observational studies, promising areas of investigation remain for experimental studies and research that uses ultraendurance-sport environments as models for studies relevant to wider populations. Insight into the breadth of research opportunities in ultraendurance sports can be gained by reviewing the abstracts published online in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from the annual Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference that took place this year in Chamonix, France.

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Michelle S.M. Silva, Wladimir Bolani, Cleber R. Alves, Diogo G. Biagi, José R. Lemos Jr, Jeferson L. da Silva, Patrícia A. de Oliveira, Guilherme B. Alves, Edilamar M. de Oliveira, Carlos E. Negrão, José E. Krieger, Rodrigo G. Dias and Alexandre C. Pereira

Aim:

To study the relationship between the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism and oxygen uptake (VO2) before and after exercise training.

Methods:

Police recruits (N = 206, 25 ± 4 y) with RR (n = 75), RX (n = 97), and XX (n = 33) genotypes were selected. After baseline measures, they underwent 18 wk of running endurance training. Peak VO2 was obtained by cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

Results:

Baseline body weight was not different among genotypes. At baseline, XX individuals displayed higher VO2 at anaerobic threshold, respiratory compensation point, and exercise peak than did RR individuals (P < .003). Endurance training significantly increased VO2 at anaerobic threshold, respiratory compensation point, and exercise peak (P < 2 × 10−6), but the differences between XX and RR were no longer observed. Only relative peak VO2 exercise remained higher in XX than in RR genotype (P = .04). In contrast, the increase in relative peak VO2 was greater in RR than in XX individuals (12% vs 6%; P = .02).

Conclusion:

ACTN3 R577X polymorphism is associated with VO2. XX individuals have greater aerobic capacity. Endurance training eliminates differences in peak VO2 between XX and RR individuals. These findings suggest a ceiling-effect phenomenon, and, perhaps, trained individuals may not constitute an adequate population to explain associations between phenotypic variability and gene variations.

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Martin D. Hoffman

Purpose:

To examine pacing among the most successful runners in the 161-km Western States Endurance Run (WSER) to determine if variations in segmental speed relate to performance, ambient temperature, and calendar year.

Methods:

Segmental speed and coefficient of variation (CV) in speed were analyzed for 10 race segments of 24 races from 1985 through 2013.

Results:

Segmental speeds did not differ between the eventual winners and lead runners and only differed between the 1st and 2nd finishers in the 2nd half of the race. Mean CV in speed was lower (P < .01) for the winners (12%) than for the other top-5 finishers (14–15%). CV in speed was related (r = .80, P = .006) to finish time for the fastest 10 finish times at the WSER. Multiple linearregression analysis revealed mean CV in speed for the top-5 runners to be related to maximum ambient temperature (coefficient =.14, P < .05) and calendar year (coefficient = –.086, P = .034).

Conclusions:

Mountain trail running is characterized by wide variations in speed, but the fastest times are achieved when speed fluctuations are limited. This is generally accomplished by the winners remaining relatively close behind the lead runners before taking the lead in the middle half of the race, and then avoiding slowing as much as the other top runners in the latter race stages. Variations in speed increase with high ambient temperatures, and the small decrease in segmental speed variability among top runners across the nearly 30 y of this study suggests that the best runners have improved at pacing this race.

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Joel B. Chidley, Alexandra L. MacGregor, Caoimhe Martin, Calum A. Arthur and Jamie H. Macdonald

Purpose:

To identify physiological, psychological, and skill characteristics that explain performance in downhill (DH) mountainbike racing.

Methods:

Four studies were used to (1) identify factors potentially contributing to DH performance (using an expert focus group), (2) develop and validate a measure of rider skill (using video analysis and expert judge evaluation), (3) evaluate whether physiological, psychological, and skill variables contribute to performance at a DH competition, and (4) test the specific contribution of aerobic capacity to DH performance.

Results:

Study 1 identified aerobic capacity, handgrip endurance, anaerobic power, rider skill, and self-confidence as potentially important for DH. In study 2 the rider-skill measure displayed good interrater reliability. Study 3 found that rider skill and handgrip endurance were significantly related to DH ride time (β = –0.76 and –0.14, respectively; R 2 = .73), with exploratory analyses suggesting that DH ride time may also be influenced by self-confidence and aerobic capacity. Study 4 confirmed aerobic capacity as an important variable influencing DH performance (for a DH ride, mean oxygen uptake was 49 ± 5 mL · kg−1 · min−1, and 90% of the ride was completed above the 1st ventilatory threshold).

Conclusions:

In order of importance, rider skill, handgrip endurance, self-confidence, and aerobic capacity were identified as variables influencing DH performance. Practically, this study provides a novel assessment of rider skill that could be used by coaches to monitor training and identify talent. Novel intervention targets to enhance DH performance were also identified, including self-confidence and aerobic capacity.

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Nanci S. Guest and Susan I. Barr

High levels of cognitive dietary restraint (CDR) have been associated with subclinical menstrual cycle irregularities and increased cortisol levels, both of which can affect bone mineral density (BMD). Low BMD has been implicated in stress fracture risk. We assessed CDR in female runners (≥ 20 km/wk) with a recent stress fracture (SF) and with no stress fracture history (NSF). A sample of 79 runners (n = 38 SF, 29 ± 5 y; n = 41 NSF, 29 ± 6 y) completed a 3-d food record and questionnaire assessing physical activity, menstrual cycle history, and perceived stress. SF and NSF runners had similar body mass index (21.2 ± 1.8 vs. 22.0 ± 2.5 kg/m2), physical activity (35.7 ± 13.5 vs. 33.4 ± 1.34 km/wk), perceived stress, and dietary intakes. CDR, however, was higher in SF runners (11.0 ± 5.4 vs. 8.4 ± 4.3, P < 0.05). Subclinical menstrual cycle disturbances and increased cortisol levels that are associated with high CDR, might in turn contribute to lowered BMD and increased stress fracture risk.

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Carol A. Parise and Martin D. Hoffman

Background:

Even pacing has been recommended for optimal performances in running distances up to 100 km. Trail ultramarathons traverse varied terrain, which does not allow for even pacing.

Purpose:

This study examined differences in how runners of various abilities paced their efforts in the Western States Endurance Run (WSER), a 161 km trail ultramarathon in North America, under hot vs cooler temperatures.

Method:

Temperatures in 2006 (hot) and 2007 (cooler) ranged from 7-38°C and 2-30°C, respectively. Arrival times at 13 checkpoints were recorded for 50 runners who finished the race in both years. After stratification into three groups based on finish time in 2007 (<22, 22-24, 24-30 h), paired t tests were used to compare the difference in pace across checkpoints between the years within each group. The χ2 test was used to compare differences between the groups on the number of segments run slower in the hot vs cooler years.

Results:

For all groups, mean pace across the entire 161 km race was slower in 2006 than in 2007 (9:23 ± 1:13 min/km vs 8:42 ± 1:15 min/km, P < .001) and the pace was slower from the start of the race when temperatures were still relatively cool. Overall, the <22 h cohort ran slower in 2006 than 2007 over 12 of the 14 segments examined, the 22–24 h cohort was slower across 10 of the segments, and the >24 h cohort was slower across only 6 of the segments χ2 2 = 6.00, P = .050). Comparable pacing between the 2 y corresponded with onset of nighttime and cooling temperatures.

Conclusions:

Extreme heat impairs all runners’ ability to perform in 161 km ultramarathons, but faster runners are at a greater disadvantage compared with slower competitors because they complete a greater proportion of the race in the hotter conditions.

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Gregory W. Heath, Ross C. Brownson, Judy Kruger, Rebecca Miles, Kenneth E. Powell, Leigh T. Ramsey and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services

Background:

Although a number of environmental and policy interventions to promote physical activity are being widely used, there is sparse systematic information on the most effective approaches to guide population-wide interventions.

Methods:

We reviewed studies that addressed the following environmental and policy strategies to promote physical activity: community-scale urban design and land use policies and practices to increase physical activity; street-scale urban design and land use policies to increase physical activity; and transportation and travel policies and practices. These systematic reviews were based on the methods of the independent Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Exposure variables were classified according to the types of infrastructures/policies present in each study. Measures of physical activity behavior were used to assess effectiveness.

Results:

Two interventions were effective in promoting physical activity (community-scale and street-scale urban design and land use policies and practices). Additional information about applicability, other effects, and barriers to implementation are provided for these interventions. Evidence is insufficient to assess transportation policy and practices to promote physical activity.

Conclusions:

Because community- and street-scale urban design and land-use policies and practices met the Community Guide criteria for being effective physical activity interventions, implementing these policies and practices at the community-level should be a priority of public health practitioners and community decision makers.

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Kristy Martin, Kevin G. Thompson, Richard Keegan and Ben Rattray

would observe smaller decrements in performance on a physical endurance test following a prolonged mental exertion task. We further investigated the effect of cardiorespiratory fitness on tolerance to mental fatigue, given the high level of cardiorespiratory fitness observed in the participants of