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Abstract

By now, there is no doubt that regular physical exercise has an overall beneficial effect on each organ of the body. However, the effects of highly competitive sports (HCS) are more complex, as they exert greater demands on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems, among others. Strength, athletic, and aesthetic sport types each has a different exercise intensity and nutritional loading, as well as a different prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases at a later age. HCS athletes experience hypertension and mental stress during competitions and high nutritional loads between them. The post-career effects of this behaviour on the heart, arteries, cellular metabolism, and risk of obesity, are not well known and are not often the focus of research. In this review, we aimed to summarize the post-career effects of HCS. Based on data in the literature, we propose that athletes involved in highly competitive strength sports progressively develop metabolic syndrome and sustained elevated blood pressure.

Open access

Abstract

As there are few data available, we aimed to assess the development of the cardiorespiratory system of young female athletes following a two-year training program (2y-TP) and explore the game position-specific changes.

Methods

Before and after the 2y-TP body compositions of young elite female handball players (age: 14.2 ± 0.5 years, n = 33) were investigated by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The morphological changes of the heart were assessed by echocardiography, and cardiorespiratory values were investigated by spiroergometry.

Results

Compared to initial values, after the 2y-TP, significant increases were found in body mass (by 8.8%), skeletal muscle mass (by 7.7%), and body fat (by 11.3%), power (by 7.8%), VO2 (by 10.6%), VCO2 (by 8.3%), oxygen pulse (by 13.8%), ventilation (by 13.4%), tidal volume (by 13.7%), left ventricular mass (by 24.8%), stroke volume (by 21.2%), and stroke volume normalized to the body surface (by 16.4%). Heart rate decreased (by 2.9%), whereas respiratory frequency, load time, relative power, and relative VO2 did not change. During the test, the goalkeepers run for a shorter time than the wing players at the initial time point and after the 2y-TP. Also, the maximum heart rate did not change in goalkeepers, whereas it decreased in wing players after the 2y-TP. Thus, the goalkeepers had a higher initial VO2 value at VO2peak than wing players, and differences, which were maintained after the 2y-TP, as well. In contrast, in goalkeepers, the relative VO2 at the VO2peak was initially lower than in wing players, which remained lower after the 2y-TP, as well.

Conclusions

In adolescent female handball players, the 2y-TP significantly improved skeletal muscle mass, which corresponded to significant improvements of cardiorespiratory function, which were more accentuated in wing players, compared to goalkeepers, likely due to the different loads during trainings and matches.

Open access
Physiology International
Authors:
M. Michalis
,
K.J. Finn
,
R. Podstawski
,
S. Gabnai
,
Á. Koller
,
A. Cziráki
,
M. Szántó
,
Z. Alföldi
, and
F. Ihász

Abstract

Within recent years the popularity of sportive activities amongst older people, particularly competitive activities within certain age groups has increased. The purpose of this study was to assess the differences in the cardiorespiratory output at anaerobic threshold and at maximal power, output during an incremental exercise, among senior and young athletes. Ten elderly male subjects [mean (SD) age: 68.45 ± 9.32 years] and eight young male subjects [mean (SD) age: 25.87 ± 5.87 years] performed an incremental exercise test on a treadmill ergometer. No significant differences in body size were evident; however, the differences between the groups for peak power (451.62 ± 49 vs. 172.4 ± 32.2 W), aerobic capacity (57.97 ± 7.5 vs. 40.36 ± 8.6 mL kg−1 min−1), maximal heart rate (190.87 ± 9.2 vs. 158.5 ± 9.1 beats min−1), peak blood lactate (11 ± 1.7 vs. 7.3 ± 1.4 mmol L−1), and % VO2max at ventilatory thresholds (93.18 ± 4.3 vs. 79.29 ± 9.9%) were significantly lower in the senior athletes. The power output at anaerobic threshold was also higher (392 ± 48 vs. 151 ± 23 W) in the young athletes, explaining the significant difference in terms of performance between these groups. We have observed an evident deterioration in some of the cardiovascular parameters; however, the submaximal exercise economy seems to be preserved with aging. Exercise economy (i.e. metabolic cost of sustained submaximal exercise) was not different considerably with age in endurance-trained adults.

Open access