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Special Issue "Stress and Training Load Effects on Recovery, Well-Being and Sports Performance"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure, 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
Interests: football; soccer; match analysis; performance analysis; network analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Juan Pedro Fuentes García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Didactic and Behavioral Analysis of Sports (ADICODE) Research Group, Faculty of Sport Sciences, The University of Extremadura, 10003 Cáceres, Spain
Interests: psychophysiological evaluation; sports medicine and exercise; brain activity; cardiovascular physiology; rehabilitation; motor learning tennis training
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Human Performance, Quality of Life and Wellness Research Group, Department of Physical Activity Sciences, Universidad de Los Lagos, Osorno 5290000, Chile
Interests: resistance training; plyometric training; interval training; neuromuscular performance optimization; muscle strength; muscle hypertrophy; soccer
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A growing body of literature demonstrates the influence of stress and training load on the recovery process and well-being of exercise practitioners and athletes. The dependent relationships between stress, training load, recovery, and well-being may constrain overall performance, considering the body of evidence. However, the magnitude of such relationships may vary according to many contextual factors and adaptability of the practitioners and athletes. Considering that more research should be done and published about such important topics, the aim of the Special Issue “Stress and Training Load Effects on Recovery, Well-Being and Sports Performance” is to publish high-quality original investigations or systematic reviews in the field of stress, training load, recovery, well-being and sports performance.

We look forward to receiving contributions related (but not limited) to the following topics: training load monitoring, stress and physiological responses during exercise or sports, recovery process after exercise, psychobiological changes after stress and/or training load. We welcome papers related to evidence of successful intervention strategies. All manuscripts will be peer reviewed by experts in the field by October 2020.

Prof. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Dr. Juan Pedro Fuentes García
Dr. Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • stress
  • training load monitoring
  • recovery
  • well-being
  • fatigue
  • sleep
  • delayed onset muscle soreness
  • mood
  • psychobiological changes
  • immunological responses
  • neuromuscular performance
  • cognitive performance

Published Papers (25 papers)

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Article
Physical Activity and Perceived Physical Fitness during the COVID-19 Epidemic: A Population of 40- to 69-Year-Olds in Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4832; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094832 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an abrupt change in lifestyle for many people with restrictions, often leading to a decrease in physical activity (PA), and thus contributing to a negative perception of health status. The purpose of this study was to examine the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an abrupt change in lifestyle for many people with restrictions, often leading to a decrease in physical activity (PA), and thus contributing to a negative perception of health status. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on physical activity and perceived physical fitness in Japanese adults aged 40 to 69 years. Data were collected from an online survey conducted between October 19 and 28, 2020. The analytic sample consisted of 1989 Japanese adults (mean age, 50.1 ± 6.9 years; women, 38.9%) who were aged between 40 and 69 years and completed the online survey. Overall, the PA time per week decreased by 32.4% between October 2019 and April 2020. A decrease in PA time was recorded in October 2020; however, a decline of 15.5% was observed. Compared to individuals who did not perceive a decline in physical fitness, individuals who perceived declining physical fitness during the COVID-19 state of emergency demonstrated a greater decrease in PA time in April 2020 (–50.5%), and this trend continued into October 2020 (–25.0%). These findings may indicate that Japanese adults aged 40 to 69 years who perceived declining physical fitness experienced a greater decrease in physical activity. Full article
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Article
Response of Knee Extensor Muscle-Tendon Unit Stiffness to Unaccustomed and Repeated High-Volume Eccentric Exercise
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4510; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094510 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
The purposes of this study were to investigate the muscle-tendon unit stiffness response and to compare the stiffness with those of other indirect markers induced by two bouts of unaccustomed eccentric exercise. Eleven untrained men performed two bouts of 200 maximal eccentric contractions [...] Read more.
The purposes of this study were to investigate the muscle-tendon unit stiffness response and to compare the stiffness with those of other indirect markers induced by two bouts of unaccustomed eccentric exercise. Eleven untrained men performed two bouts of 200 maximal eccentric contractions of the right quadriceps 4 weeks apart. Changes in stiffness, pain evoked by stretching and pressure, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity, and muscle thickness were followed for 7 days after each bout. Stiffness and pain peaked immediately and 1 day after the first exercise bout, whereas CK and thickness were highest 4 and 7 days after the first exercise bout, respectively (p < 0.05 for all). Muscular pain, thickness, and stiffness responses were lower by 53.3%, 99%, and 11.6%, respectively, after the repeated bout compared to after the first bout (p < 0.05 for all), while CK activity response did not differ significantly between bouts. High responders for an increase in muscle-tendon unit stiffness showed a repeated-bout effect for stiffness, pain, and CK activity (by 29%, 65%, and 98%, p < 0.05 for all), but the repeated-bout effect was not that clear in low responders. These findings suggest that a repeated eccentric exercise bout effect on stiffness in quadriceps is mostly not associated with muscle pain and CK activity, but there are large individual differences. Full article
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Article
Impact of Real and Simulated Flights on Psychophysiological Response of Military Pilots
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 787; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020787 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1071
Abstract
Objective: The present research aimed to analyse the autonomic, anxiety, perceived exertion, and self-confidence response during real and simulated flights. Methods: This cross-sectional study participated 12 experienced male pilots (age = 33.08 (5.21)) from the Spanish Air Force. Participants had to complete a [...] Read more.
Objective: The present research aimed to analyse the autonomic, anxiety, perceived exertion, and self-confidence response during real and simulated flights. Methods: This cross-sectional study participated 12 experienced male pilots (age = 33.08 (5.21)) from the Spanish Air Force. Participants had to complete a real and a simulated flight mission randomly. The heart rate variability (HRV), anxiety, self-confidence, and rating of perceived exertion were collected before and after both manoeuvres, and HRV was also collected during both simulated and real flights. Results: When studying the acute effects of real and simulated flights, the mean heart rate, the R-to-R interval, the cognitive anxiety and the perceived exertion were significantly impacted only by real flights. Furthermore, significant differences in the mean heart rate and RR interval were found when compared to the acute effects of real and simulated flights (with higher acute effects observed in real flights). Additionally, when compared the HRV values during simulated and real flights, significant differences were observed in the RR and heart rate mean (with lower RR interval and higher heart rate mean observed during real flights). Conclusion: Real flights significantly reduced the RR interval and cognitive anxiety while increased the heart rate mean and the rating of perceived exertion, whereas simulated flights did not induce any significant change in the autonomic modulation. Full article
Article
Body Composition in International Sprint Swimmers: Are There Any Relations with Performance?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249464 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1010
Abstract
The paper addresses relations between the characteristics of body composition in international sprint swimmers and sprint performance. The research included 82 swimmers of international level (N = 46 male and N = 36 female athletes) from 8 countries. We measured body composition using [...] Read more.
The paper addresses relations between the characteristics of body composition in international sprint swimmers and sprint performance. The research included 82 swimmers of international level (N = 46 male and N = 36 female athletes) from 8 countries. We measured body composition using multifrequency bioelectrical impedance methods with “InBody 720” device. In the case of male swimmers, it was established that the most important statistically significant correlation with sprint performance is seen in variables, which define the quantitative relationship between their fat and muscle with the contractile potential of the body (Protein-Fat Index, r = 0.392, p = 0.007; Index of Body Composition, r = 0.392, p = 0.007; Percent of Skeletal Muscle Mass, r = 0.392, p = 0.016). In the case of female athletes, statistically significant relations with sprint performance were established for variables that define the absolute and relative amount of a contractile component in the body, but also with the variables that define the structure of body fat characteristics (Percent of Skeletal Muscle Mass, r = 0.732, p = 0.000; Free Fat Mass, r = 0.702, p = 0.000; Fat Mass Index, r = −0.642, p = 0.000; Percent of Body Fat, r = −0.621, p = 0.000). Using Multiple Regression Analysis, we managed to predict swimming performance of sprint swimmers with the help of body composition variables, where the models defined explained 35.1 and 75.1% of the mutual variability of performance, for male and female swimmers, respectively. This data clearly demonstrate the importance of body composition control in sprint swimmers as a valuable method for monitoring the efficiency of body adaptation to training process in order to optimize competitive performance. Full article
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Article
Effects of Eccentric Single-Leg Decline Squat Exercise on the Morphological and Structural Properties of the Vastus Lateralis and Patellar Tendon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9410; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249410 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
The purpose was to examine the effect of 6-week eccentric single-leg decline squat (SLDSe) training with two technical execution times (3 s or 6 s) on changes related to the structural properties of the vastus lateralis (VL) and patellar tendon (PT). Thirty-six physical [...] Read more.
The purpose was to examine the effect of 6-week eccentric single-leg decline squat (SLDSe) training with two technical execution times (3 s or 6 s) on changes related to the structural properties of the vastus lateralis (VL) and patellar tendon (PT). Thirty-six physical active volunteers were randomly divided into three groups: control group (CG, n = 13, age = 20.8 ± 1.9 years, no intervention program), experimental group 1 (EG1, n = 11, age = 21.6 ± 2.5 years, execution time = 6 s) and experimental group 2 (EG2, n = 12, 21.1 ± 1.2 years, execution time = 3 s). Participants completed a 6-week SLDSe training program (80% of 1-RM) three days a week. The structural characteristics of the VL and the PT were measured with ultrasonography before and after 6-week SLDSe training and after 6 weeks of de-training. Our results indicate that EG1 increased ≈21.8% the thickness of the PT and EG2 increased ≈15.7% the thickness of the VL after the 6-week intervention program. EG1 and EG2 showed greater values (p < 0.05) of lean mass and lower values (p < 0.05) of fat percentage on the thigh after the intervention program. In conclusion, the SLDSe training carried out with the execution time of 6 s had greater effects on the structural and elastic properties of the PT, and the exercise with the execution time of 3 s caused greater structural adaptations in the VL musculature. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Balance and Sand Training on Postural Control in Elite Beach Volleyball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8981; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238981 - 02 Dec 2020
Viewed by 965
Abstract
The aim of this work was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 12-week-long balance training program on the postural control of elite male beach volleyball players and the effect on balance when swapping to specific sports training in the sand in the following [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 12-week-long balance training program on the postural control of elite male beach volleyball players and the effect on balance when swapping to specific sports training in the sand in the following 12 weeks. Six elite players were tested before and after the balance training program and also 12 weeks after the balance training had finished. To this aim, a pressure platform was used to collect the following center of pressure parameters: path length, speed, mean position, and root-mean-square amplitude in the medial-lateral and anteroposterior planes. Romberg quotients for the center of pressure parameters were also calculated. The results of the present study showed better static postural control after specific balance training: smaller path length and speed under open eyes condition in dominant (p = 0.015; p = 0.009, respectively) and non-dominant monopedal stances (p = 0.005; p = 0.004, respectively). Contrastingly, 12 weeks after the balance training program, the path length and speed values under open eyes condition in bipedal stance increased significantly (p = 0.045; p = 0.004, respectively) for sand training. According to our results, balance training is effective to achieve positive balance test scores. It is speculated, and yet to be proven, that sand training could be effective to improve dynamic and open eyes postural control during beach volleyball practice. In beach volleyball players, a balance training program is effective to develop static balance but the effect of ecological sand training on dynamic performance deserves specific investigation. Full article
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Article
Performance and Training Load Profiles in Recreational Male Trail Runners: Analyzing Their Interactions during Competitions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238902 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
Endurance sports like trail running constitute an extensive individual modality causing numerous physiological changes to occur in the athlete. In this sense, an adequate monitoring of training load appears to be essential to improve competition performance. The aim of this study was two-fold: [...] Read more.
Endurance sports like trail running constitute an extensive individual modality causing numerous physiological changes to occur in the athlete. In this sense, an adequate monitoring of training load appears to be essential to improve competition performance. The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to analyze trail runners’ weekly load variations in the four weeks leading up to a trail running competition, and (ii) to determine the relationship between the runners’ pacing in competitions and their physical fitness and workload parameters. Twenty-five amateur male trail runners (age: 36.23 ± 8.30 years old; minimum International Trail Running Association performance index: 600) were monitored daily for the duration of a season (52 weeks). External load (distance covered, pace) and internal load (rate of perceived exertion) were measured daily. Additionally, weekly workload measures of acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR), training monotony, and training strain were calculated. The runners were also assessed for maximal aerobic speed (MAS) every four months. No significant differences in workload measures (p > 0.05) were observed in the four weeks leading up to each short trail competition; however, leading up to the long trail, ultra-trail medium, and ultra-trail long/extra-long competitions, the differences in the runners’ workload measures were significant (p < 0.05). In the short trail, pace was found to be moderately correlated with the ACWR of total distance (r = −0.334) and with training monotony of rate of perceived exertion (RPE) (r = −0.303). In the ultra-trail, a large correlation was observed between pace and elevation accumulated (r = 0.677). We concluded that significant workload differences from one week to the next only occurred in preparation for longer-distance competitions, with sudden acute load decreases and very low ACWR values reported mainly in weeks 1 and 2 of the taper. Meaningful relationships were found between performance (pace) and MAS for longer trails and between pace and MAS for ultra-trail competitions. Full article
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Article
Effect of the Verbal Encouragement on Psychophysiological and Affective Responses during Small-Sided Games
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8884; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238884 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
Verbal encouragement (VE) is considered as external motivation provided by physical education teacher. For this reason, this study aimed to examine the effects of VE on psychophysiological and affective responses during small-sided games (SSG). Sixteen male school students (age: 17.37 ± 0.48 years) [...] Read more.
Verbal encouragement (VE) is considered as external motivation provided by physical education teacher. For this reason, this study aimed to examine the effects of VE on psychophysiological and affective responses during small-sided games (SSG). Sixteen male school students (age: 17.37 ± 0.48 years) completed four sessions of a 4-a-side SSG. Two sessions occurred with VE (SSGE), and two sessions did not include VE (SSGNE). Heart rate was continuously recorded, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and blood lactate concentration ([La]b) were measured after each training session. Physical enjoyment was assessed after each protocol. Mood state was recorded before and after each training session using the profile of mood-state. HR max, [La]b, RPE, Physical enjoyment, and vigor were higher in SSGE compared to SSGNE (all, p < 0.001). The SSGE and SSGNE resulted in a decreased total mood disturbance (TMD) (p = 0.001, ES = 0.60; p = 0.04, ES = 0.33, respectively) and tension (p < 0.001, ES = 0.91; p = 0.004, ES = 0.47, respectively), and the vigor was increased after the SSGE (p < 0.001, ES = 0.76). SSGE and SSGNE induce similar improvement in TMD and tension. However, SSGE induced higher physiological responses, RPE, enjoyment, and positive mood than SSGNE. Physical education teachers could use VE during specific soccer sessions to improve physical aspects, enjoyment, and mood in participants. Full article
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Article
Athlete-Specific Neural Strategies under Pressure: A fNIRS Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228464 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 715
Abstract
(1) Background: Stress and pressure during competition and training impair athletes’ performance in sports. However, the influence of mental stress on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) functioning in an athlete during the visual simulation task is unknown. The purpose of this pilot study was [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Stress and pressure during competition and training impair athletes’ performance in sports. However, the influence of mental stress on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) functioning in an athlete during the visual simulation task is unknown. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate hemodynamic responses during the visual-simulation task that induces pressure and stress using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. (2) Methods: Ten archers and ten non-athlete collegiate students performed a visual-simulation task. Participants’ current stress levels were collected using a visual analog scale before and after the task. Average oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO), deoxygenated hemoglobin (HbR), and total hemoglobin (HbT) levels and their variability (standard deviation (SD) HbO, SD HbR, and SD HbT) were computed to compare the neural efficiency between athlete and non-athlete. (3) Results: In general, both groups exhibited increased stress levels after the simulation task, and there was no group difference in overall average hemodynamic response from PFC and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). While the average hemodynamic response level did not differ between groups, variability in hemodynamic responses from the archer group showed a more stable pattern than the non-athlete group. (4) Conclusion: Under this experimental setting, decreasing the variability in hemodynamic responses during the visual simulation, potentially via stabilizing the fluctuation of PFC, was characterized by the stress-related compensatory neural strategy of elite archers. Full article
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Article
Predicting Caregiver Burden in Informal Caregivers for the Elderly in Ecuador
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7338; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17197338 - 08 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
Informal caregivers are the main providers of care for the elderly. The aim of this study is to examine the predictive value of different variables regarding caregivers and their elderly patients with respect to the caregiver’s burden. A convenience sample of 688 informal [...] Read more.
Informal caregivers are the main providers of care for the elderly. The aim of this study is to examine the predictive value of different variables regarding caregivers and their elderly patients with respect to the caregiver’s burden. A convenience sample of 688 informal caregivers and 688 elderly people from Ecuador was surveyed. Only households with one caregiver and one elderly person were considered for the study. For informal caregivers, the following standardized measures were obtained: burden (Zarit Burden Interview), neuroticism (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised-Abbreviated, EPQR-A), caregiver’s general health (GHQ-12), and social support (modified Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire, FSSQ11). For the elderly, we employed standardized measures of cognitive function (short portable mental status questionnaire, SPMSQ), Pfeiffer’s test, and functional dependency (Barthel scale/Index, BI). Females were over-represented in caregiving and reported significantly higher burden levels than those of males. In both male and female caregivers, the burden was best predicted by the time of caring, neuroticism, and elderly cognitive impairment. However, some predictors of burden were weighted differently in males and females. The functional independence of the elderly was a significant predictor of burden for male caregivers but not females, while caregiver competence was a significant predictor for females but not males. These variables accounted for more than 88% of the variability in informal caregivers. Full article
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Article
Hematological and Running Performance Modification of Trained Athletes after Reverse vs. Block Training Periodization
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4825; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17134825 - 04 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of block (BP) and a reverse training periodization (RP) in the hematological and running performance of amateur trained athletes. Modifications in hematological, aerobic, and anaerobic running performance and countermovement jump before and [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of block (BP) and a reverse training periodization (RP) in the hematological and running performance of amateur trained athletes. Modifications in hematological, aerobic, and anaerobic running performance and countermovement jump before and after twelve weeks of BP vs. RP training programs were analyzed in 16 trained athletes (eight males: 40.0 ± 6.2 years; 179.2 ± 12.8 cm; 73.8 ± 12.2 kg; and eight females: 34.2 ± 4.1 years; 163.4 ± 9.6 cm; 57.0 ± 11.0 kg). A significant decrease in heart rate (HR) at ventilatory threshold (VT1) (p = 0.031; ES = 1.40) was observed in RP without changes in BP. In addition, RP increased significantly VO2max (p = 0.004; ES = 0.47), speed at VO2max (p = 0.001; ES = 1.07), HR at VT2 (p < 0.001; ES = 1.32) and VT1 (p = 0.046; ES = 0.57), while BP improved VO2max (p = 0.004; ES = 0.51), speed at VO2max (p = 0.016; ES = 0.92), and HR at VT2 (p = 0.023; ES = 0.78). In addition, only RP increased anaerobic performance in a running-based anaerobic sprint test (RAST) (mean sprint: p = 0.009; ES = 0.40, best sprint: p = 0.019; ES = 0.30 and total time: p = 0.009; ES = 0.40). Moreover, both types of training periodization proposed in this study maintained hematological values and efficiently improved jump performance (p = 0.044; ES = 0.6) in RP and p = 0.001; ES = 0.75 in BP). Therefore, twelve weeks of either RP or BP is an effective strategy to increase jump and aerobic running performance maintaining hematological values, but only RP increases anaerobic running performance. Full article
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Article
Post-Exercise Recovery of Ultra-Short-Term Heart Rate Variability after Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test and Repeated Sprint Ability Test
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4070; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17114070 - 07 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the agreement and acceptance of ultra-short-term heart rate (HR) variability (HRVUST) measures during post-exercise recovery in college football players. Twenty-five male college football players (age: 19.80 ± 1.08 years) from the first division of national university [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the agreement and acceptance of ultra-short-term heart rate (HR) variability (HRVUST) measures during post-exercise recovery in college football players. Twenty-five male college football players (age: 19.80 ± 1.08 years) from the first division of national university championship voluntarily participated in the study. The participants completed both a repeated sprint ability test (RSA) and a Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (YYIR1) in a randomized order and separated by 7 days. Electrocardiographic signals (ECG) were recorded in a supine position 10 min before and 30 min after the exercise protocols. The HR and HRV data were analyzed in the time segments of baseline 5~10 min (Baseline), post-exercise 0~5 min (Post 1), post-exercise 5~10 min (Post 2), and post-exercise 25~30 min (Post 3). The natural logarithm of the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (LnSDNN), root mean square of successive normal-to-normal interval differences (LnRMSSD), and LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio was compared in the 1st min HRVUST and 5-min criterion (HRVcriterion) of each time segment. The correlation of time-domain HRV variables to 5-min natural logarithm of low frequency power (LnLF) and high frequency power (LnHF), and LF:HF ratio were calculated. The results showed that the HRVUST of LnSDNN, LnRMSSD, and LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio showed trivial to small effect sizes (ES) (−0.00~0.49), very large and nearly perfect interclass correlation coefficients (ICC) (0.74~0.95), and relatively small values of bias (RSA: 0.01~−0.12; YYIR1: −0.01~−0.16) to the HRVcriterion in both exercise protocols. In addition, the HRVUST of LnLF, LnHF, and LnLF:LnHF showed trivial to small ES (−0.04~−0.54), small to large ICC (−0.02~0.68), and relatively small values of bias (RSA: −0.02~0.65; YYIR1: 0.03~−0.23) to the HRVcriterion in both exercise protocols. Lastly, the 1-min LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio was significantly correlated to the 5-min LnLF:LnHF ratio with moderate~high level (r = 0.43~0.72; p < 0.05) during 30-min post-exercise recovery. The post-exercise 1-min HRV assessment in LnSDNN, LnRMSSD, and LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio was acceptable and accurate in the RSA and YYIR1 tests, compared to the 5-min time segment of measurement. The moderate to high correlation coefficient of the HRVUST LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio to the HRVcriterion LnLF:LnHF ratio indicated the capacity to facilitate the post-exercise shortening duration of HRV measurement after maximal anaerobic or aerobic shuttle running. Using ultra-short-term record of LnSDNN:LnRMSSD ratio as a surrogate for standard measure of LnLF:LnHF ratio after short-term bouts of maximal intensity field-based shuttle running is warranted. Full article
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Article
Can the Performance Gap between Women and Men be Reduced in Ultra-Cycling?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2521; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072521 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
This study examined a large dataset of ultra-cycling race results to investigate the sex difference in ultra-cycling performance (100 to 500 miles) according to age and race distance. Data from the time period 1996–2018 were obtained from online available database of the ultra-cycling [...] Read more.
This study examined a large dataset of ultra-cycling race results to investigate the sex difference in ultra-cycling performance (100 to 500 miles) according to age and race distance. Data from the time period 1996–2018 were obtained from online available database of the ultra-cycling marathon association (UMCA), including distance-limited ultra-cycling races (100, 200, 400, and 500 miles). A total of 12,716 race results were analyzed to compare the performance between men and women by calendar year, age group (18–34, 35–44, 45–59, and 60+ years), and race distance. Men were faster than women in 100 and 200 mile races, but no sex differences were identified for the 400 and 500 mile races. The performance ratio (average cycling speedmen/average cycling speedwomen) was smaller in the 200 mile races compared to the 100 mile races and remained stable in the 400 and 500 mile races. In all race distances, the difference in average cycling speed between women and men decreased with increasing age. The gender gap in performance was closed in several distance-limited ultra-cycling races, such as the 400 and 500 mile races. Full article
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Article
The Age-Related Performance Decline in Ironman 70.3
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17062148 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1193
Abstract
Although the age-related decline in sport events has been well studied, little is known on such a decline in recreational triathletes for the Half Ironman distance. Indeed, the few existing studies concentrated on specific aspects such as top events, elite groups, some consecutive [...] Read more.
Although the age-related decline in sport events has been well studied, little is known on such a decline in recreational triathletes for the Half Ironman distance. Indeed, the few existing studies concentrated on specific aspects such as top events, elite groups, some consecutive years, single locations, or age categories instead of analyzing all the data available. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine recreational triathletes’ performance in three split disciplines (swimming, cycling, and running) as well as in overall race time by analyzing all data of Half Ironman finishers found on ironman.com (i.e., 690 races; years 2004 through 2018; 206,524 women (24.6%) and 633,576 men (75.4%), in total 840,100 athletes). The age-dependent decline in Half Ironman started earliest in swimming (from the very first age group on) with a smallest age group delta between 35–49 years in men and 40–54 years in women. The performance decline started at 26 and 28 years in men and women for running; at 34 years for men and 35 years for women in cycling; and at 32 years for men and 31 years for women with regard to overall race time. The results may be used by coaches and recreational athletes alike to plan a triathlon career. Full article
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Article
Tower Running—Participation, Performance Trends, and Sex Difference
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17061902 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1533
Abstract
Though there are exhaustive data about participation, performance trends, and sex differences in performance in different running disciplines and races, no study has analyzed these trends in stair climbing and tower running. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate these [...] Read more.
Though there are exhaustive data about participation, performance trends, and sex differences in performance in different running disciplines and races, no study has analyzed these trends in stair climbing and tower running. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate these trends in tower running. The data, consisting of 28,203 observations from 24,007 climbers between 2014 and 2019, were analyzed. The effects of sex and age, together with the tower characteristics (i.e., stairs and floors), were examined through a multivariable statistical model with random effects on intercept, at climber’s level, accounting for repeated measurements. Men were faster than women in each age group (p < 0.001 for ages ≤69 years, p = 0.003 for ages > 69 years), and the difference in performance stayed around 0.20 km/h, with a minimum of 0.17 at the oldest age. However, women were able to outperform men in specific situations: (i) in smaller buildings (<600 stairs), for ages between 30 and 59 years and >69 years; (ii) in higher buildings (>2200 stairs), for age groups <20 years and 60–69 years; and (iii) in buildings with 1600–2200 stairs, for ages >69 years. In summary, men were faster than women in this specific running discipline; however, women were able to outperform men in very specific situations (i.e., specific age groups and specific numbers of stairs). Full article
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Article
Psychobiological Changes during National Futsal Team Training Camps and Their Relationship with Training Load
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1843; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17061843 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
The aim of this study was two-fold: (1) to analyze the within-week variations of heart rate, session-rated of perceived exertion (sRPE), total distance, distance in 8.0–11.99 km/h−1, recovery distance in 12.0–17.99 km/h−1, distance in >18.0 km/h−1, maximum [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was two-fold: (1) to analyze the within-week variations of heart rate, session-rated of perceived exertion (sRPE), total distance, distance in 8.0–11.99 km/h−1, recovery distance in 12.0–17.99 km/h−1, distance in >18.0 km/h−1, maximum speed, number of sprints, heart rate variability, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and fatigue during training camps of a national futsal team; and (2) to analyze the relationships between load and the well-being. Twenty-eight men from the Chinese Taipei U−20 national futsal team were analyzed. Comparisons of training days revealed that the total distance was significantly smaller on day 1 (d = −1.22) and day 6 (d = −1.95) than on day 3. The sRPE values were significantly lower on day 1 than days 4 (d = −1.53), 5 (d = −2.07), and 6 (d = −2.59). The relationships between training load and recovery parameters revealed moderate correlations between the DOMS and the sRPE recorded one (r = −0.321) and two days before training (r = −0.289). It is possible conclude that first day imposed a smaller external load and internal load, and that the internal load had a greater dependent relationship with reported DOMS and fatigue during the training camps. Full article
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Article
Supplementation with a Bioactive Melon Concentrate in Humans and Animals: Prevention of Oxidative Damages and Fatigue in the Context of a Moderate or Eccentric Physical Activity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041142 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Exercise is recognized to provide both physical and psychological health benefits. However, oxidative stress can occur and induce muscular damages. SOD B®; M is a melon concentrate, well known to counteract oxidative stress and prevent its side effects. The present study [...] Read more.
Exercise is recognized to provide both physical and psychological health benefits. However, oxidative stress can occur and induce muscular damages. SOD B®; M is a melon concentrate, well known to counteract oxidative stress and prevent its side effects. The present study aimed to evaluate the potential of the melon concentrate in the context of both a strong and isolated effort associated with deleterious effects, and a moderate and regular physical activity considered as beneficial. First, a preclinical study was set up on rats to evaluate its potential on the prevention of damages induced by an eccentric exercise. Secondly, the combined effect of the melon concentrate and a regular standardized physical training was studied on the overall physical condition of healthy subjects in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Repeated measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), student’s t test and Mann–Whitney test were used for statistical analyses. Melon concentrate helped to prevent gastrocnemius damages induced by the eccentric exercise. It allowed a reduction of fibrosis by approximately 38% and a reduction of Tumor Necrosis Factor- α (TNF-α) plasma level by 28%. This supplementation also induced a rearrangement of myosin fibers and an increase in PGC-1α plasma level. In the clinical study, melon concentrate was able to decrease oxidative stress and C-Reactive protein (CRP) plasma level. Besides, magnesium (Mg) plasma level was higher in the context of a regular training performed by healthy subjects supplemented with the melon concentrate. Therefore, the melon concentrate allowed a better adaptation to effort linked to PGC-1α activation: a regulator of energy metabolism. The antioxidant properties of the melon concentrate and its ability to mobilize magnesium also suggest that the supplementation could induce a better resistance to fatigue and recovery during regular physical activity. Full article
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Article
Seven Weeks of Jump Training with Superimposed Whole-Body Electromyostimulation Does Not Affect the Physiological and Cellular Parameters of Endurance Performance in Amateur Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17031123 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1832
Abstract
Intramuscular density of monocarboxylate-transporter (MCT) could affect the ability to perform high amounts of fast and explosive actions during a soccer game. MCTs have been proven to be essential for lactate shuttling and pH regulation during exercise and can undergo notable adaptational changes [...] Read more.
Intramuscular density of monocarboxylate-transporter (MCT) could affect the ability to perform high amounts of fast and explosive actions during a soccer game. MCTs have been proven to be essential for lactate shuttling and pH regulation during exercise and can undergo notable adaptational changes depending on training. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence and direction of potential effects of a 7-weeks training period of jumps with superimposed whole-body electromyostimulation on soccer relevant performance surrogates and MCT density in soccer players. For this purpose, 30 amateur soccer players were randomly assigned to three groups. One group performed dynamic whole-body strength training including 3 x 10 squat jumps with WB-EMS (EG, n = 10) twice a week in addition to their daily soccer training routine. A jump training group (TG, n = 10) performed the same training routine without EMS, whereas a control group (CG, n = 8) merely performed their daily soccer routine. 2 (Time: pre vs. post) x 3 (group: EG, TG, CG) repeated measures analyses of variance (rANOVA) revealed neither a significant time, group nor interaction effect for VO2peak, Total Time to Exhaustion and Lamax as well as MCT-1 density. Due to a lack of task-specificity of the underlying training stimuli, we conclude that seven weeks of WB-EMS superimposed to jump exercise twice a week does not relevantly influence aerobic performance or MCT density. Full article
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Article
Mental Recovery and Running-Related Injuries in Recreational Runners: The Moderating Role of Passion for Running
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1044; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17031044 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4179
Abstract
This pilot study investigates the moderating role of passion for running in the relation between mental recovery from running and running-related injuries (RRIs). We predict that the relation between recovery and injuries is dependent on the level of passion. A cross-sectional survey study [...] Read more.
This pilot study investigates the moderating role of passion for running in the relation between mental recovery from running and running-related injuries (RRIs). We predict that the relation between recovery and injuries is dependent on the level of passion. A cross-sectional survey study was conducted among 246 Dutch recreational runners. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that the negative association between mental recovery after running and RRIs is moderated (i.e., strengthened) by harmonious passion. Put differently, runners who are able to mentally recover well after running were less likely to report RRIs in the case of harmonious passion. Additionally, findings demonstrated that obsessively passionate runners were more likely to report RRIs. Passionate runners may benefit from education programs to help them integrate running more harmoniously with other aspects of life, and to prevent injuries. In addition, they should be educated about the crucial role of appropriate mental recovery from running. Considering mental aspects in running such as mental recovery from running and passion for running seems to be worthwhile to gain a better understanding of the incidence and/or prevalence of RRIs. Future (quasi-experimental) studies should investigate the issues raised here more profoundly. Full article
Article
Assessing the Perceived Exertion in Elite Soccer Players during Official Matches According to Situational Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 410; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17020410 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the match perceived exertion (PE) declared by starter and non-starter junior elite soccer players, according to the level of the opponents, and by playing at home or away. Nineteen young soccer players who competed in the Spanish U19 [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the match perceived exertion (PE) declared by starter and non-starter junior elite soccer players, according to the level of the opponents, and by playing at home or away. Nineteen young soccer players who competed in the Spanish U19 League participated in this study. PE was registered during the entire regular season (30 official matches). Players were grouped by match playing time: starters (players who started the game and played at least 45 min) and non-starters (substitute players who participated for less than 45 min). Moreover, the matches were classified according to the opponent level (i.e., high, medium, or low) and the match location (i.e., home or away). Starters who competed against high-level opponents (8.7 ± 0.6) declared higher PE ratings than against medium (8.1 ± 0.7, p < 0.01) and low (8.4 ± 0.7, p < 0.01) level opponents. In addition, starters competing at home declared lower PE ratings than when playing away (8.2 ± 0.8 vs. 8.5 ± 0.6, p < 0.01). However, no significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed for non-starters. Coaches should consider not only tactical–strategic needs, but also these contextual factors when managing the match playing time of the starter players. Full article
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Article
Differences in Psychoneuroendocrine Stress Responses of High-Level Swimmers Depending on Autocratic and Democratic Coaching Style
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5089; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16245089 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2495
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to analyse differences in the psychoneuroendocrine stress responses of high-level, young swimmers depending on whether an autocratic and democratic coaching style was applied. Modifications in cortisol and the motivational climate of 18 young swimmers (15.3 ± [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to analyse differences in the psychoneuroendocrine stress responses of high-level, young swimmers depending on whether an autocratic and democratic coaching style was applied. Modifications in cortisol and the motivational climate of 18 young swimmers (15.3 ± 1.86 years, 10 females and 8 males) were analysed before and after two training sessions with equivalent training loads but directed by two coaches applying different approaches, i.e., autocratic (A) and democratic (D). The basal testosterone levels of the coaches were also assessed. The basal testosterone concentration was higher in coach A than in coach D; the athletes perceived them as autocratic and democratic, respectively. Swimmers under coach A’s instructions showed higher cortisol levels, suggesting higher cortisol production related to coaching style. Furthermore, differences in the motivational climate concerning ego (i.e., athletes comparing their ability with that of other athletes) were observed with coach A, whereas differences in motivational climate concerning the task (i.e., athletes comparing their ability with their own past performance) were observed with coach D. Cognitive variables showed negative perceptions affecting athletes’ training experience and performance when they were screamed at or insulted by coach A. There were no gender or age differences in cortisol production or motivational climate. In conclusion, this study suggests that an autocratic coaching style modulates cortisol release in both genders, affecting young elite swimmers’ motivational climate and training experience. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Review
Applying Heart Rate Variability to Monitor Health and Performance in Tactical Personnel: A Narrative Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18158143 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 740
Abstract
Human performance optimization of tactical personnel requires accurate, meticulous, and effective monitoring of biological adaptations and systemic recovery. Due to an increased understanding of its importance and the commercial availability of assessment tools, the use of heart rate variability (HRV) to address this [...] Read more.
Human performance optimization of tactical personnel requires accurate, meticulous, and effective monitoring of biological adaptations and systemic recovery. Due to an increased understanding of its importance and the commercial availability of assessment tools, the use of heart rate variability (HRV) to address this need is becoming more common in the tactical community. Measuring HRV is a non-invasive, practical method for objectively assessing a performer’s readiness, workload, and recovery status; when combined with additional data sources and practitioner input, it provides an affordable and scalable solution for gaining actionable information to support the facilitation and maintenance of operational performance. This narrative review discusses the non-clinical use of HRV for assessing, monitoring, and interpreting autonomic nervous system resource availability, modulation, effectiveness, and efficiency in tactical populations. Broadly, HRV metrics represent a complex series of interactions resulting from internal and external stimuli; therefore, a general overview of HRV applications in tactical personnel is discussed, including the influence of occupational specific demands, interactions between cognitive and physical domains, and recommendations on implementing HRV for training and recovery insights into critical health and performance outcomes. Full article
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Review
Effects of Plyometric Jump Training in Female Soccer Player’s Physical Fitness: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8911; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238911 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
We aimed to assess the effects of plyometric jump training (PJT) on female soccer player’s physical fitness. To this aim, a systematic review with meta-analysis (SRMA) was conducted. The electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and SCOPUS were used. To qualify for [...] Read more.
We aimed to assess the effects of plyometric jump training (PJT) on female soccer player’s physical fitness. To this aim, a systematic review with meta-analysis (SRMA) was conducted. The electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and SCOPUS were used. To qualify for inclusion, peer-reviewed studies must have included (i) a PJT programme of ≥2 weeks, (ii) healthy athletes, (iii) a control group, and (iv) physical fitness outcomes (e.g., jump; sprint). Studies were excluded if (i) they incorporated injuried female soccer players, (ii) did not involve PJT or an active control group, (iv) lack of baseline and/or follow-up data. Data was meta-analyzed using the inverse variance random-effects model. Ten moderate-to-high quality studies were included in the analyses, comprising 13 training groups (n = 140) and 10 control groups (n = 110). Small to large (ES = 0.60–2.24; p = 0.040 to <0.001) effects were noted for countermovement jump, drop jump, kicking performance, linear sprint, change of direction speed, and endurance. The moderator analyses (i.e., PJT duration, age groups, competitive level, and soccer experience) revealed no significant differences between groups. In conclusion, PJT may improve the physical fitness of female soccer players. Such improvements might be expected after PJT interventions with six or more weeks of duration, and in players with different chronological ages, competitive levels and soccer experience. Full article
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Review
Sex Differences in Swimming Disciplines—Can Women Outperform Men in Swimming?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3651; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103651 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 8727
Abstract
In recent years, the interest of female dominance in long-distance swimming has grown where several newspaper articles have been published speculating about female performance and dominance—especially in open-water ultra-distance swimming. The aim of this narrative review is to review the scientific literature regarding [...] Read more.
In recent years, the interest of female dominance in long-distance swimming has grown where several newspaper articles have been published speculating about female performance and dominance—especially in open-water ultra-distance swimming. The aim of this narrative review is to review the scientific literature regarding the difference between the sexes for all swimming strokes (i.e., butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley), different distances (i.e., from sprint to ultra-distances), extreme conditions (i.e., cold water), different ages and swimming integrated in multi-sports disciplines, such as triathlon, in various age groups and over calendar years. The influence of various physiological, psychological, anthropometrical and biomechanical aspects to potentially explain the female dominance was also discussed. The data bases Scopus and PUBMED were searched by April 2020 for the terms ’sex–difference–swimming’. Long-distance open-water swimmers and pool swimmers of different ages and performance levels were mainly investigated. In open-water long-distance swimming events of the ’Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming’ with the ’Catalina Channel Swim’, the ’English Channel Swim’ and the ’Manhattan Island Marathon Swim’, women were about 0.06 km/h faster than men. In master swimmers (i.e., age groups 25–29 to 90–94 years) competing in the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) World Championships in pool swimming in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, individual medley and in 3000-m open-water swimming, women master swimmers appeared able to achieve similar performances as men in the oldest age groups (i.e., older than 75–80 years). In boys and girls aged 5–18 years—and listed in the all-time top 100 U.S. freestyle swimming performances from 50 m to 1500 m—the five fastest girls were faster than the five fastest boys until the age of ~10 years. After the age of 10 years, and until the age of 17 years, however, boys were increasingly faster than girls. Therefore, women tended to decrease the existing sex differences in specific age groups (i.e., younger than 10 years and older than 75–80 years) and swimming strokes in pool-swimming or even to overperform men in long-distance open-water swimming (distance of ~30 km), especially under extreme weather conditions (water colder than ~20 °C). Two main variables may explain why women can swim faster than men in open-water swimming events: (i) the long distance of around 30 km, (ii) and water colder than ~20 °C. Future studies may investigate more detailed (e.g., anthropometry) the very young (<10 years) and very old (>75–80 years) age groups in swimming Full article

Other

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Case Report
Self-Selected Pacing During a World Record Attempt in 40 Ironman-Distance Triathlons in 40 Days
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2390; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072390 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1049
Abstract
The present case study analyzed performance, pacing, and potential predictors in a self-paced world record attempt of a professional triathlete to finish 40 Ironman-distance triathlons within 40 days. Split times (i.e., swimming, cycling, running) and overall times, body weight, daily highest temperature, wind [...] Read more.
The present case study analyzed performance, pacing, and potential predictors in a self-paced world record attempt of a professional triathlete to finish 40 Ironman-distance triathlons within 40 days. Split times (i.e., swimming, cycling, running) and overall times, body weight, daily highest temperature, wind speed, energy expenditure, mean heart rate, and sleeping time were recorded. Non-linear regressions were applied to investigate changes in split and overall times across days. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to test which variables showed the greatest influence on the dependent variables cycling, running and overall time. The athlete completed the 40×Ironman distances in a total time of 444:22 h:min. He spent 50:26 h:min in swimming, 245:37 h:min in cycling, 137:17 h:min in running and 11:02 h:min in transition times. Swimming and cycling times became slower across days, whereas running times got faster until the 20th day and, thereafter, became slower until the 40th day. Overall times got slower until the 15th day, became faster to 31st, and started then to get slower until the end. Wind speed, previous day’s race time and average heart race during cycling were significant independent variables influencing cycling time. Body weight and average heart rate during running were significant independent variables influencing running performance. Cycling performance, running performance, and body weight were significant independent variables influencing overall time. In summary, running time was influenced by body weight, cycling by wind speed, and overall time by both running and cycling performances. Full article
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