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Sports, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 17 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Combat sports are increasingly popular. Women’s participation seems to contrast socially constructed gender norms, which hold females as vulnerable and physically weak individuals that do not engage in combat. Furthermore, considering the mixed-sex training, tight clothing, and having females as a minority in a male-dominated culture, there may be room for inappropriate behavior, such as sexual harassment. This cross-sectional study is the first to study the motivations of women to engage in combat sports in addition to their experiences of sexual harassment, also including information on health behavior and consequences from participating in a sport with weight categories. Our findings point toward a need for increased competence in sports nutrition and weight-regulating behavior, as well as to implement measures against frequent episodes of sexual harassment. View this paper
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Article
An Examination of Relative Age and Athlete Dropout in Female Developmental Soccer
Sports 2022, 10(5), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050079 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Sport dropout rates among children and youth are a concern for researchers and policy makers. The impact of relative age effects (RAEs) on dropout trends has not been adequately examined in female samples. The purpose of this study was to longitudinally examine dropout [...] Read more.
Sport dropout rates among children and youth are a concern for researchers and policy makers. The impact of relative age effects (RAEs) on dropout trends has not been adequately examined in female samples. The purpose of this study was to longitudinally examine dropout in a female soccer cohort in Ontario, Canada. Registration entries for a one-year cohort were examined across a seven-year period (n = 9908; age 10–16 years). A chi-square analysis established the presence of RAEs in the initial year of registration. Survival analyses assessed the impact of relative age, competition level, and community size on athlete dropout. A median survival rate of four years was observed for players born in the first quartile, while all remaining quartiles had a median survival of three years. Community size did not predict dropout in this analysis; however, competition level was a significant predictor, with competitive players being more likely to remain engaged vs. recreational players (55.9% vs. 20.7%). The observed trends are likely to have a significant impact from both a healthy development and systems perspective (e.g., economic/market loss). Intervention is needed to mitigate current dropout trends in female athletes. Practical applications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
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Article
Change in BMI and Fitness among Primary School Children in Austria: A 24-Month Follow-Up Study of 303 Children Measured before and during the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
Sports 2022, 10(5), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050078 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 524
Abstract
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic not only impacted the health of school children directly through SARS-CoV-2 infections, but the associated closures of schools and sports facilities also resulted in long-term negative side effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of [...] Read more.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic not only impacted the health of school children directly through SARS-CoV-2 infections, but the associated closures of schools and sports facilities also resulted in long-term negative side effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria. A total of 303 primary school children participated in the longitudinal study. Data on height, weight, and fitness were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic (September 2019) and at one-year intervals (September 2020 and September 2021) during the course of the pandemic. In the first year, from September 2019 to September 2020, there were alarming increases in body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores (SDSs) (from 0.32 to 0.49) and dramatic decreases in both cardiorespiratory endurance (CRE) (from 0.49 to −0.43) and action speed (from −0.31 to −0.64). In the second year (September 2020 to September 2021), the BMI scores stabilized, and improvements in CRE were observed, especially in the subgroup of children who were members of sports clubs. In the future, more initiatives and projects, in addition to sports club activities, should be started and expanded, particularly in schools, to specifically counteract the observed health damage and, thus, have a positive effect on the development of all children, especially those without sports club membership. Full article
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Article
The Acute Effects of Heavy Sled Towing on Acceleration Performance and Sprint Mechanical and Kinematic Characteristics
Sports 2022, 10(5), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050077 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 1098
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of heavy sled towing using a load corresponding to a 50% reduction of the individual theoretical maximal velocity (ranged 57–73% body mass) on subsequent 30 m sprint performance, velocity, mechanical variables (theoretical maximal [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of heavy sled towing using a load corresponding to a 50% reduction of the individual theoretical maximal velocity (ranged 57–73% body mass) on subsequent 30 m sprint performance, velocity, mechanical variables (theoretical maximal horizontal force, theoretical maximal horizontal velocity, maximal mechanical power output, slope of the linear force–velocity relationship, maximal ratio of horizontal to total force and decrease in the ratio of horizontal to total force) and kinematics (step length and rate, contact and flight time). Twelve (n = 5 males and n = 7 females) junior running sprinters performed an exercise under two intervention conditions in random order. The experimental condition (EXP) consisted of two repetitions of 20 m resisted sprints, while in the control condition (CON), an active recovery was performed. Before (baseline) and after (post) the interventions, the 30 m sprint tests were analyzed. Participants showed faster 30 m sprint times following sled towing (p = 0.005). Running velocity was significantly higher in EXP at 5–10 m (p = 0.032), 10–15 m (p = 0.006), 15–20 m (p = 0.004), 20–25 m (p = 0.015) and 25–30 m (p = 0.014). No significant changes in sprint mechanical variables and kinematics were observed. Heavy sled towing appeared to be an effective post-activation potentiation stimulus to acutely enhance sprint acceleration performance with no effect on the athlete’s running technique. Full article
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Article
Changes in the Mental Health Indicators and Training Opportunities for Estonian Elite Athletes Compared to the COVID-19 Isolation Period
Sports 2022, 10(5), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050076 - 11 May 2022
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Background: In spring 2020, two-thirds of Estonian elite athletes had symptoms of emotional distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mental health indicators and training opportunities for elite Estonian athletes a year after the complete COVID-19 isolation period compared [...] Read more.
Background: In spring 2020, two-thirds of Estonian elite athletes had symptoms of emotional distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mental health indicators and training opportunities for elite Estonian athletes a year after the complete COVID-19 isolation period compared to June 2020. Methods: In both cross-sectional studies, athletes completed self-reported questionnaires, including the Emotional State Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and Chi2 tests were applied to compare the study groups (p < 0.05). Results: A total of 172 out of approximately 600 elite Estonian athletes participated in the survey (102 in 2020 and 70 in 2021). More than a year after the COVID-19 lockdown period, the mental health problems of elite athletes (particularly the symptoms of depression and fatigue) are even greater concern than in June 2020, despite the recovery in training conditions and competition. Of all of the subjects, 80% had high levels of distress in 2021 compared to 36% in 2020. According to the athletes, the availability of health care services was good (78.6%), but there was a lack of close cooperation with the coach. However, the athletes considered their coaches to be their main supporters, along with their family members and partners. Only 4.3% of the respondents considered a sports psychologist to be their main supporter (n = 6). Conclusions: More than a year after the COVID-19 lockdown period, the mental health indicators of Estonian elite athletes were worrisome. Most of subjects had high levels of distress even though their training conditions had returned to normal (i.e., to as they had been before COVID-19). Full article
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Article
Concurrent Training Programming: The Acute Effects of Sprint Interval Exercise on the Subsequent Strength Training
Sports 2022, 10(5), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050075 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Exercise modality has been proposed to reduce the interferences between aerobic and resistance sessions during concurrent training. The aim of the study was to examine the acute effects of cycling or running sprint interval exercise on subsequent resistance training sessions. Twenty-five competitive male [...] Read more.
Exercise modality has been proposed to reduce the interferences between aerobic and resistance sessions during concurrent training. The aim of the study was to examine the acute effects of cycling or running sprint interval exercise on subsequent resistance training sessions. Twenty-five competitive male rugby union players were recruited. Players were tested during three conditions: CONTROL (resistance training session only), CYCLE and RUN (corresponding to a concurrent training scheme with cycling or running sprint interval exercise conducted on the morning, followed by a resistance training session). Four hours rest was proposed between the aerobic and resistance training session. Muscle performance (bar velocity during bench press and box squat, counter movement jump height) and subjective ratings (rate of perceived exertion, wellbeing) were assessed during and after aerobic or resistance training sessions. No significant difference was observed for muscle performance (vertical jump height and bar velocity). However, significant higher perceived exertion and low-value scaled subjective wellbeing were observed in RUN (7.7 ± 1.1 and 17.9 ± 4.1, respectively) as compared with the two other conditions (6.7 ± 1.5 and 21.1 ± 3.6 for CONTROL and 7.4 ± 1.1 and 20.1 ± 3.9 for CYCLE). It was concluded that the exercise modality (running or cycling) during the aerobic exercise using a sprint interval exercise did not impact the quality of the resistance session. However, subjective ratings were affected the following days. Cycling exercises might be more adequate when performing a sprint interval training session during concurrent training programs. Full article
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Article
Kinematic and Kinetic Characteristics of Repetitive Countermovement Jumps with Accentuated Eccentric Loading
Sports 2022, 10(5), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050074 - 06 May 2022
Viewed by 855
Abstract
Two methods for challenging the musculoskeletal and nervous systems to better exploit the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) mechanism during plyometric training are reactive strength exercises and accentuated eccentric loading (AEL). Combining repetitive, reactive jumping with AEL poses a novel approach, in which the effects [...] Read more.
Two methods for challenging the musculoskeletal and nervous systems to better exploit the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) mechanism during plyometric training are reactive strength exercises and accentuated eccentric loading (AEL). Combining repetitive, reactive jumping with AEL poses a novel approach, in which the effects of both methods may be combined to elicit a unique stimulus. This study compared kinematic, kinetic, and electromyographic variables between a control (CON1) and two AEL conditions (AEL2 and AEL3). Additionally, non-reactive and reactive jumps performed within these sets were compared. Participants performed two sets of six countermovement jumps (CMJ) under each loading condition. AEL3 had moderate to large positive effects (es) on peak and mean eccentric force (es = 1.1, 0.8, respectively; both p < 0.01), and eccentric loading rate (es = 0.8, p < 0.01), but no effect on concentric variables or muscle activation intensity. The effects of AEL2 were similar but smaller. With or without AEL, there were moderate to large positive effects associated with reactive CMJ (second jump in a set, compared to the first) on peak and mean eccentric velocity (es = 1.7, 0.8, respectively; both p < 0.01), peak and mean eccentric force (es = 1.3, 1.2, p < 0.01), eccentric loading rate (es = 1.3, p < 0.01) and muscle activity (es = 1.8–1.9, p < 0.01). Concentric variables did not differ. Thus, the flight phase and act of landing during reactive jumps elicited greater increases in eccentric forces, loading rates, and muscle activity than AEL. Nonetheless, kinetic variables were greatest when AEL was combined with reactive jumping. Considering the limitations or complexity associated with most AEL protocols, sets of repetitive (reactive) CMJ may be more pragmatic for augmenting eccentric kinetic variables and neuromuscular stimuli during training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Biomechanics for Sports)
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Article
PGC-1α Methylation, miR-23a, and miR-30e Expression as Biomarkers for Exercise- and Diet-Induced Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Capillary Blood from Healthy Individuals: A Single-Arm Intervention
Sports 2022, 10(5), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050073 - 06 May 2022
Viewed by 693
Abstract
Healthy mitochondria and their epigenetic control are essential to maintaining health, extending life expectancy, and improving cardiovascular performance. Strategies to maintain functional mitochondria during aging include training; cardiovascular exercise has been suggested as the best method, but strength training has also been identified [...] Read more.
Healthy mitochondria and their epigenetic control are essential to maintaining health, extending life expectancy, and improving cardiovascular performance. Strategies to maintain functional mitochondria during aging include training; cardiovascular exercise has been suggested as the best method, but strength training has also been identified as essential to health and healthy aging. We therefore investigated the effects of concurrent exercise training and dietary habits on epigenetic mechanisms involved in mitochondrial (mt) functions and biogenesis. We analyzed epigenetic biomarkers that directly target the key regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, PGC-1α, and mtDNA content. Thirty-six healthy, sedentary participants completed a 12-week concurrent training program. Before and after the intervention, dried blood spot samples and data on eating habits, lifestyle, and body composition were collected. MiR-23a, miR-30e expression, and mtDNA content were analyzed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. PGC-1α methylation was analyzed using bisulfite pyrosequencing. MiR-23a, miR-30e expression, and PGC-1α methylation decreased after the intervention (p < 0.05). PGC-1α methylation increased with the consumption of red and processed meat, and mtDNA content increased with the ingestion of cruciferous vegetables (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that concurrent training could improve mitochondrial biogenesis and functions by altering the epigenetic regulation. These alterations can also be detected outside of the skeletal muscle and could potentially affect athletic performance. Full article
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Article
Comparative Analysis of Performance Factors between Ladies Professional Golf Association and Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association Golfers
Sports 2022, 10(5), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050072 - 03 May 2022
Viewed by 603
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the performance factors of both Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) players and suggest which performance factors they should improve to play in world-level games. Data from 180 LPGA and KLPGA players [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the performance factors of both Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) players and suggest which performance factors they should improve to play in world-level games. Data from 180 LPGA and KLPGA players who ranked within the top 60 in prize money rankings from 2018 to 2020 were analyzed. Then, the data from LPGA and KLPGA golfers were compared using the seemingly unrelated estimation method. As a result of analyzing 178 data, excluding two players who had missing values, this study found that among LPGA player data, putting average (PA), sand save (SS), green in regulation (GIR), and birdies (BIR) had a significant impact in 2018. Additionally, scoring average (SA) and top-10 finish (T10) had a significant impact in 2019. However, there were no factors influencing performance in 2020.From the results of analyzing 180 players who ranked within the top 60 in KLPGA prize money rankings, there were no performance factors that significantly affected their performance in 2018. However, driver distance (DD) in 2019 and DD and T10 in 2020 affected performance. In conclusion, short games were the most important factor on the LPGA Tour, and driving distance was the most important trend on the KLPGA Tour. Therefore, KLPGA golfers should train in abilities such as putting and ironshots. Full article
Article
Changes in Athletic Performance in Children Attending a Secondary School with a Physical Activity Profile
Sports 2022, 10(5), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050071 - 02 May 2022
Viewed by 672
Abstract
The longitudinal and multidisciplinary research project Malmö Youth Sport Study measured the sports results achieved by two cohorts of pupils using a variable named ACHIEVE, dividing the pupils into three categories (an elite group competing at the national or international level, a group [...] Read more.
The longitudinal and multidisciplinary research project Malmö Youth Sport Study measured the sports results achieved by two cohorts of pupils using a variable named ACHIEVE, dividing the pupils into three categories (an elite group competing at the national or international level, a group competing at the district level, and a third group either not competing at all or below district level). This was assessed three and six years after baseline at age 13. An additional hypothetical measure, based on information from the athletes’ trainers, predicted the category the pupils were expected to belong to after twelve years (age 25). Social variables related to the ACHIEVE variable are sex, socio-economic position of the parents, ethnicity, completed secondary sports school, sports capital, and quartile of birth. After three years, 28% of the pupils belonged to the elite group and after six years, 26%. Thirty-two and 48%, respectively, had abandoned their elite efforts. The elite group remained fairly stable over time but fewer girls than boys advanced to the elite group. The pupils at the school have a homogenous middle-class background. We found little evidence that socio-economic factors affected ACHIEVE. Nearly all parents had been engaged in sports, either competing or as coaches. On admission to the school, there was a pronounced relative age effect (RAE). This remained after three years as the age was significantly different between the three groups but was reduced after six years. According to the prognosis made by the coaches, the elite group would be considerably smaller when the subjects reached the age of 25. The RAE was again significant in the prognosis. A further follow-up when the subjects are 25 years old will reveal not only what proportion of subjects are actively competing, but also if they are engaged in recreational sports, to what extent the RAE is present, and how accurately coaches can predict success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
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Article
Eight Weeks of Exercising on Sand Has Positive Effects on Biomechanics of Walking and Muscle Activities in Individuals with Pronated Feet: A Randomized Double-Blinded Controlled Trial
Sports 2022, 10(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050070 - 02 May 2022
Viewed by 704
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effects of eight weeks of barefoot running exercise on sand versus control on measures of walking kinetics and muscle activities in individuals with diagnosed pronated feet. Sixty physically active male adults with pronated feet were randomly allocated [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of eight weeks of barefoot running exercise on sand versus control on measures of walking kinetics and muscle activities in individuals with diagnosed pronated feet. Sixty physically active male adults with pronated feet were randomly allocated into an intervention or a waiting control group. The intervention group conducted an 8-weeks progressive barefoot running exercise program on sand (e.g., short sprints) with three weekly sessions. Pre and post intervention, participants walked at a constant speed of 1.3 m/s ± 5% on a 18 m walkway with a force plate embedded in the middle of the walkway. Results showed significant group-by-time interactions for peak impact vertical and lateral ground reaction forces. Training but not control resulted in significantly lower peak impact vertical and lateral ground reaction forces. Significant group-by-time interactions were observed for vastus lateralis activity during the loading phase. Training-induced increases were found for the vastus lateralis in the intervention but not in the control group. This study revealed that the applied exercise program is a suitable means to absorb ground reaction forces (e.g., lower impact vertical and lateral peaks) and increase activities of selected lower limb muscles (e.g., vastus lateralis) when walking on stable ground. Full article
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Article
Heat Acclimation with or without Normobaric Hypoxia Exposure Leads to Similar Improvements in Endurance Performance in the Heat
Sports 2022, 10(5), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050069 - 30 Apr 2022
Viewed by 695
Abstract
Background: Combining the key adaptation of plasma volume (PV) expansion with synergistic physiological effects of other acclimation interventions to maximise endurance performance in the heat has potential. The current study investigated the effects of heat acclimation alone (H), combined with normobaric hypoxia exposure [...] Read more.
Background: Combining the key adaptation of plasma volume (PV) expansion with synergistic physiological effects of other acclimation interventions to maximise endurance performance in the heat has potential. The current study investigated the effects of heat acclimation alone (H), combined with normobaric hypoxia exposure (H+NH), on endurance athletic performance. Methods: Well-trained participants completed a heat-stress trial (30 °C, 80% relative humidity (RH), 20.8% fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2)) of a 75 min steady-state cycling (fixed workload) and a subsequent 15 min cycling time trial for distance before and after intervention. Participants completed 12 consecutive indoor training days with either heat acclimation (H; 60 min·day−1, 30 °C, 80% RH; 20.8% FiO2) or heat acclimation and overnight hypoxic environment (H+NH; ~12 h, 60% RH; 16% FiO2 simulating altitude of ~2500 m). Control (CON) group trained outdoors with average maximum daily temperature of 16.5 °C and 60% RH. Results: Both H and H+NH significantly improved time trial cycling distance by ~5.5% compared to CON, with no difference between environmental exposures. PV increased (+3.8%) and decreased (−4.1%) following H and H+NH, respectively, whereas haemoglobin concentration decreased (−2%) and increased (+3%) in H and H+NH, respectively. Conclusion: Our results show that despite contrasting physiological adaptations to different environmental acclimation protocols, heat acclimation with or without hypoxic exposure demonstrated similar improvements in short-duration exercise performance in a hot environment. Full article
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Article
Empowered, Yet Vulnerable: Motives for Sport Participation, Health Correlates, and Experience of Sexual Harassment in Female Combat-Sport Athletes
Sports 2022, 10(5), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050068 - 29 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1020
Abstract
Background: To explore motives for combat sport participation, weight regulation practices, symptoms of low energy availability (LEA), disordered eating (DE) or eating disorders (ED), and any experiences with sexual harassment (SH) among female combat-sport athletes. Methods: In total, 29 athletes were recruited by [...] Read more.
Background: To explore motives for combat sport participation, weight regulation practices, symptoms of low energy availability (LEA), disordered eating (DE) or eating disorders (ED), and any experiences with sexual harassment (SH) among female combat-sport athletes. Methods: In total, 29 athletes were recruited by social media and in clubs. Participants responded to a questionnaire on health behavior and mental health and completed diet registration and a DXA-scan. Results: Most athletes started combat sports to feel empowered and experienced an inclusive milieu, but the frequency of health issues was high. A total of 21–67% had symptoms of ED, suffered from injuries, had low site-specific BMD, and/or symptoms of LEA. Athletes had insufficient intake of energy and nutrients, and <50% received any dietary information or guidance from their clubs. Most athletes complied with favorable weight-loss strategies; still, >20% used unfavorable methods and rapid weight-loss periods. A total of 70% of the athletes had experienced SH, of which 41% experienced SH within the combat-sport context. Conclusion: Combat sport offers an inclusive milieu, which may increase women’s health and confidence; still, our results indicates a need for actions to safeguard female combat-sport athletes’ mental and physical health, implying a cultural change within the community of combat sport and a need for increased health and nutrition literacy. Full article
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Article
Evaluating Changes in Mental Workload in Indoor and Outdoor Ultra-Distance Cycling
Sports 2022, 10(5), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050067 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Whilst increasing mental workload has been shown to have a detrimental effect on cycling performance and more generally to increase the risk of harm, no studies have measured how mental workload changes as a function of ultra-distance cycling, indoors or outdoors. Our objective [...] Read more.
Whilst increasing mental workload has been shown to have a detrimental effect on cycling performance and more generally to increase the risk of harm, no studies have measured how mental workload changes as a function of ultra-distance cycling, indoors or outdoors. Our objective was to measure the difference in mental workload, as indicated by changes in EEG theta power, components of HRV and psychomotor vigilance and as reported using the ‘NASA Task Load Index questionnaire’, before and after a 5 h indoor ride and outdoor ride completed at 65% of functional threshold power. Results of the NASA-TLX indicated the mental demand of outdoor cycling to be significantly less than that of indoor cycling. There were significant differences in the PVT results between the pre and the post outdoor ride average and median response times. The slowest 10% PVT responses were significantly slower pre than post the indoor ride. There were significant differences in HRV between pre and post outdoor and indoor rides, specifically, in the average RR intervals, RMSSD (ms2), LFPower (ms2), NN50. There were modest changes in indicators of mental workload during an ultra-distance cycle ride. As such, mental workload during ultra-distance cycling is unlikely to be a contributory factor to decreases in performance or to an increased likelihood of accident and injury. Full article
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Article
Regional Bioelectrical Phase Angle Is More Informative than Whole-Body Phase Angle for Monitoring Neuromuscular Performance: A Pilot Study in Elite Young Soccer Players
Sports 2022, 10(5), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050066 - 22 Apr 2022
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the association between regional and total phase angle (PhA) with lower-body neuromuscular performance in young elite soccer players. Methods: Sixteen elite male soccer players (14.3 ± 1.0 years) participated in this study. Lower (LPhA)- [...] Read more.
Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the association between regional and total phase angle (PhA) with lower-body neuromuscular performance in young elite soccer players. Methods: Sixteen elite male soccer players (14.3 ± 1.0 years) participated in this study. Lower (LPhA)- and upper (UPhA)-hemisome PhA together with whole-body PhA (WBPhA) were measured by a bioelectrical-impedance analysis (BIA), while appendicular arm and leg lean soft tissue (ALST and LLST, respectively) were estimated. Urine osmolarity (UOsm) and urine-specific gravity (USG) were also considered. Sprints over 10 m and 20 m and countermovement jump (CMJ) tests were employed to evaluate neuromuscular performance. Results: LPhA (p = 0.003) and UOsm (p = 0.012) explained 62% of the variance in the 10 m sprint. UOsm (p = 0.001) and both LPhA (p < 0.001) and WBPhA (p = 0.024) explained 81% of the total variance in the 20 m sprint. The CMJ height was affected by LPhA (p < 0.001) and UOsm (p = 0.024), which overall explained 68% of its variance (p < 0.05), while 93% of the CMJ power variance was explained by LPhA (p < 0.001), ALST (p < 0.001), and WBPhA (p = 0.011). Conclusions: Regional PhA is a relevant and non-invasive tool to monitor lower-body neuromuscular performance in elite youth soccer. Specifically, LPhA may be favored over WBPhA as more informative. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Effects of Six Weeks of Resistance Training on the Fecal Microbiome of Older Adult Males: Secondary Analysis of a Peanut Protein Supplemented Randomized Controlled Trial
Sports 2022, 10(5), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050065 - 22 Apr 2022
Viewed by 878
Abstract
The bacteria inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract contribute to numerous host functions and can be altered by lifestyle factors. We aimed to determine whether a 6-week training intervention altered fecal microbiome diversity and/or function in older males. Fecal samples were collected prior to and [...] Read more.
The bacteria inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract contribute to numerous host functions and can be altered by lifestyle factors. We aimed to determine whether a 6-week training intervention altered fecal microbiome diversity and/or function in older males. Fecal samples were collected prior to and following a 6-week twice-weekly supervised resistance training intervention in 14 older Caucasian males (65 ± 10 years, 28.5 ± 3.2 kg/m2) with minimal prior training experience. Participants were randomized to receive a daily defatted peanut powder supplement providing 30 g protein (n = 8) or no supplement (n = 6) during the intervention. Bacterial DNA was isolated from pre-and post-training fecal samples, and taxa were identified using sequencing to amplify the variable region 4 (V4) of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Training significantly increased whole-body and lower-body lean mass (determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) as well as leg extensor strength (p < 0.05) with no differences between intervention groups. Overall composition of the microbiome and a priori selected taxa were not significantly altered with training. However, MetaCYC pathway analysis indicated that metabolic capacity of the microbiome to produce mucin increased (p = 0.047); the tight junction protein, zonulin, was measured in serum and non-significantly decreased after training (p = 0.062). Our data suggest that resistance training may improve intestinal barrier integrity in older Caucasian males; further investigation is warranted. Full article
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Review
Psychological Adaptations to High-Intensity Interval Training in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Topical Review
Sports 2022, 10(5), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050064 - 22 Apr 2022
Viewed by 827
Abstract
Regular exercise has been reported as a fundamental piece of the management and treatment puzzle of obesity, playing a vital role in numerous psychological indicators. However, it is unclear whether high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can improve critical psychological health markers such as adherence, [...] Read more.
Regular exercise has been reported as a fundamental piece of the management and treatment puzzle of obesity, playing a vital role in numerous psychological indicators. However, it is unclear whether high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can improve critical psychological health markers such as adherence, exercise enjoyment, affective responses, health-related quality of life, anxiety, and depression in overweight and obese adults. The purpose of this topical review was to catalogue studies investigating the psychological responses to HIIT in order to identify what psychological outcomes have been assessed, the research methods used, and the results. The inclusion/exclusion criteria were met by 25 published articles investigating either a traditional, single-component (84%) or a hybrid-type, multi-component (16%) HIIT protocol and involving 930 participants with overweight/obesity. The present topical review on HIIT-induced psychological adaptations shows that this popular exercise mode, but also demanding for the masses, can meaningfully increase the vast majority of the selected mental health-related indices. These improvements seem to be equal if not greater than those observed for moderate-intensity continuous training in overweight and obese adults. However, further research is needed in this area, focusing on the potential mechanisms behind positive alterations in various psychological health parameters through larger samples and high-quality randomized controlled trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2nd Edition: Physical Activity and Mental Health)
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Article
Olympic Cycle Comparison of the Nutritional and Cardiovascular Health Status of an Elite-Level Female Swimmer: Case Study Report from Slovenia
Sports 2022, 10(5), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10050063 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Monitoring the many aspects that are crucial to an athlete’s performance progress is vital for further training planning and for the development of performance and the sport. We evaluated a four-year change (2018 vs. 2022) in the current nutritional and cardiovascular health status [...] Read more.
Monitoring the many aspects that are crucial to an athlete’s performance progress is vital for further training planning and for the development of performance and the sport. We evaluated a four-year change (2018 vs. 2022) in the current nutritional and cardiovascular health status of the most successful elite-level female swimmer in Slovenia. Body composition and dietary intake were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and a standardized food questionnaire. The concentration of blood lipids, blood pressure, and serum micronutrients (B12, 25(OH)D), potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron) were measured. The four-year comparison showed an improved body composition status (i.e., increased body mass and decreased body fat (percentage and mass), increased lean soft tissue and total bone mineral density (BMD) (i.e., significantly decreased BMD of a left femoral neck and increased BMD of a spine and head)). We also measured an improvement in the cardiovascular health status of some markers (i.e., decreased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure but increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), most likely due to the differences in assessed dietary intake (i.e., lower carbohydrate intake, higher total and saturated fat intake, and lower sodium intake). Notably, nutrient intakes that are generally of concern (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin B12 and D, calcium, iron, and zinc (except for fiber intake)) were all within recommended ranges. However, the athlete’s vitamin K and potassium intake were not adequate. Furthermore, in 2018, the athlete did not consume dietary supplements, while she now regularly uses several dietary supplements, including EPA and DHA omega-3, vitamin D, multivitamins, carbohydrate powder, and sports drink. Moreover, from the micronutrient serum, only iron levels deviated from the reference values (37 μmol/L vs. 10.7–28.6 μmol/L). The presented screening example using valid, sensitive, and affordable methods and with rapid organizational implementation may be a viable format for regular monitoring. Full article
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