In this overview, we summarize the findings of the literature with regards to physiology and pathophysiology of ultra-marathon running. The number of ultra-marathon races and the number of official finishers considerably increased in the last decades especially due to the increased number of female and age-group runners. A typical ultra-marathoner is male, married, well-educated, and ~45 years old. Female ultra-marathoners account for ~20% of the total number of finishers. Ultra-marathoners are older and have a larger weekly training volume, but run more slowly during training compared to marathoners. Previous experience (e.g., number of finishes in ultra-marathon races and personal best marathon time) is the most important predictor variable for a successful ultra-marathon performance followed by specific anthropometric (e.g., low body mass index, BMI, and low body fat) and training (e.g., high volume and running speed during training) characteristics. Women are slower than men, but the sex difference in performance decreased in recent years to ~10–20% depending upon the length of the ultra-marathon. The fastest ultra-marathon race times are generally achieved at the age of 35–45 years or older for both women and men, and the age of peak performance increases with increasing race distance or duration. An ultra-marathon leads to an energy deficit resulting in a reduction of both body fat and skeletal muscle mass. An ultra-marathon in combination with other risk factors, such as extreme weather conditions (either heat or cold) or the country where the race is held, can lead to exercise-associated hyponatremia. An ultra-marathon can also lead to changes in biomarkers indicating a pathological process in specific organs or organ systems such as skeletal muscles, heart, liver, kidney, immune and endocrine system. These changes are usually temporary, depending on intensity and duration of the performance, and usually normalize after the race. In longer ultra-marathons, ~50–60% of the participants experience musculoskeletal problems. The most common injuries in ultra-marathoners involve the lower limb, such as the ankle and the knee. An ultra-marathon can lead to an increase in creatine-kinase to values of 100,000–200,000 U/l depending upon the fitness level of the athlete and the length of the race. Furthermore, an ultra-marathon can lead to changes in the heart as shown by changes in cardiac biomarkers, electro- and echocardiography. Ultra-marathoners often suffer from digestive problems and gastrointestinal bleeding after an ultra-marathon is not uncommon. Liver enzymes can also considerably increase during an ultra-marathon. An ultra-marathon often leads to a temporary reduction in renal function. Ultra-marathoners often suffer from upper respiratory infections after an ultra-marathon. Considering the increased number of participants in ultra-marathons, the findings of the present review would have practical applications for a large number of sports scientists and sports medicine practitioners working in this field.
Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a strong negative impact on economic and social life worldwide. It has also negatively influenced people’s general health and quality of life. The aim of the present study was to study the impact of social distancing on physical activity level, and the association between mood state (depression and anxiety level) or sex with actual physical activity levels, the change in physical activity caused by social distancing period, the adhesion level to social distancing, the adoption time of social distancing, family income and age. Methods A self-administered questionnaire with personal, quarantine, physical activity, and mood state disorders information’s was answered by 2140 Brazilians of both sex who were recruited through online advertising. Results The physical activity level adopted during the period of social distancing (2.9 ± 1.1) was lower than that adopted prior to the pandemic period (3.5 ± 0.8, p < 0.001). Thirty percent of the participants presented symptoms of moderate/severe depression and 23.3% displayed moderate/severe anxiety symptoms. A greater presence of symptoms related to anxiety and depression were associated with low physical activity levels, low family monthly income, and younger age. A higher percentage of men who had no mood disorders was observed among those who were very active than among those less active. Conclusion The COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on physical activity. Those who reduced their level of physical activity had the highest levels of mood disorders. Therefore, physical activity programs should be encouraged, while respecting the necessary social distancing to prevent the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.
Objective Our objective was to explore the training-related knowledge, beliefs, and practices of athletes and the influence of lockdowns in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods Athletes (n = 12,526, comprising 13% world class, 21% international, 36% national, 24% state, and 6% recreational) completed an online survey that was available from 17 May to 5 July 2020 and explored their training behaviors (training knowledge, beliefs/attitudes, and practices), including specific questions on their training intensity, frequency, and session duration before and during lockdown (March–June 2020). Results Overall, 85% of athletes wanted to “maintain training,” and 79% disagreed with the statement that it is “okay to not train during lockdown,” with a greater prevalence for both in higher-level athletes. In total, 60% of athletes considered “coaching by correspondence (remote coaching)” to be sufficient (highest amongst world-class athletes). During lockdown, < 40% were able to maintain sport-specific training (e.g., long endurance [39%], interval training [35%], weightlifting [33%], plyometric exercise [30%]) at pre-lockdown levels (higher among world-class, international, and national athletes), with most (83%) training for “general fitness and health maintenance” during lockdown. Athletes trained alone (80%) and focused on bodyweight (65%) and cardiovascular (59%) exercise/training during lockdown. Compared with before lockdown, most athletes reported reduced training frequency (from between five and seven sessions per week to four or fewer), shorter training sessions (from ≥ 60 to < 60 min), and lower sport-specific intensity (~ 38% reduction), irrespective of athlete classification. Conclusions COVID-19-related lockdowns saw marked reductions in athletic training specificity, intensity, frequency, and duration, with notable within-sample differences (by athlete classification). Higher classification athletes had the strongest desire to “maintain” training and the greatest opposition to “not training” during lockdowns. These higher classification athletes retained training specificity to a greater degree than others, probably because of preferential access to limited training resources. More higher classification athletes considered “coaching by correspondence” as sufficient than did lower classification athletes. These lockdown-mediated changes in training were not conducive to maintenance or progression of athletes’ physical capacities and were also likely detrimental to athletes’ mental health. These data can be used by policy makers, athletes, and their multidisciplinary teams to modulate their practice, with a degree of individualization, in the current and continued pandemic-related scenario. Furthermore, the data may drive training-related educational resources for athletes and their multidisciplinary teams. Such upskilling would provide athletes with evidence to inform their training modifications in response to germane situations (e.g., COVID related, injury, and illness).
The purpose of this study was to analyze the day-to-day variance of a typical weekly external training workload of two professional soccer teams from different countries. Twenty-nine players from two professional teams from Portugal and the Netherlands participated in this study. The players’ external load was monitored for 7 weeks, by means of portable GPS devices (10 Hz, JOHAN, Noordwijk, Netherlands). Results revealed that match day -1 (MD-1), i.e. the training day before a match, had significantly (p = 0.001) less training volume (4584.50 m) than the other days. MD-5 (training five days before a match), MD-4 (four days before a match) and MD-3 (three days before a match) were the most intense (390.83, 176.90 and 247.32 m of sprinting distance, respectively) and with large volume (7062.66, 6077.30 and 6919.49 m, respectively). Interestingly, significant differences were found between clubs of different countries (p < 0.05) with the Portuguese team showing significantly higher intensity (sprinting distance) and volume (total distance) in all days with exception of MD-1 than the Dutch team. The results of this study possibly allow for the identification of different training workloads and tapering strategies between countries in relation to volume and intensity. It should be noted, however, that both clubs used a significant tapering phase in the last two days before the competition in an attempt to reduce residual fatigue accumulation.
Physical activity is associated with health. The aim of this study was (a) to access if Portuguese university students meet the public health recommendations for physical activity and (b) the effect of gender and day of the week on daily PA levels of university students. This observational cross-sectional study involved 126 (73 women) healthy Portuguese university students aged 18–23 years old. Participants wore the ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometer for seven consecutive days. Number of steps, time spent sedentary and in light, moderate and vigorous physical activity were recorded. The two-way MANOVA revealed that gender (p-value = 0.001; η2 = 0.038; minimum effect) and day of the week (p-value = 0.001; η2 = 0.174; minimum effect) had significant main effects on the physical activity variables. It was shown that during weekdays, male students walked more steps (65.14%), spent less time sedentary (6.77%) and in light activities (3.11%) and spent more time in moderate (136.67%) and vigorous activity (171.29%) in comparison with weekend days (p < 0.05). The descriptive analysis revealed that female students walked more steps (51.18%) and spent more time in moderate (125.70%) and vigorous (124.16%) activities during weekdays than in weekend days (p < 0.05). Women students did not achieve the recommended 10,000 steps/day on average during weekdays and weekend days. Only male students achieved this recommendation during weekdays. In summary, this study showed a high incidence of sedentary time in university students, mainly on weekend days. New strategies must be adopted to promote physical activity in this population, focusing on the change of sedentary behaviour.
Purpose: Although the contribution of physique and body composition in soccer performance was recognized, these parameters of physical fitness were not well-studied in adolescent players. Aim of this study was to investigate physique and body composition across adolescence. Conclusions: During adolescence, soccer players presented significant differences in terms of body composition and physique. Thus, these findings could be employed by coaches and fitness trainers engaged in soccer training in the context of physical fitness assessment and talent identification.
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