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Special Issue "Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Sport and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2023 | Viewed by 3364

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Athos Trecroci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università Degli Studi di Milano, 20129 Milano, Italy
Interests: physical literacy; training and testing; cognitive performance; team sports; motor competence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Alessio Rossi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, University of Pisa, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Interests: heart rate variability; sleep quality; anxiety status; stressful events; physical activity; autonomic nervous system; predictive models
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Luca Cavaggioni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, 20122 Milan, Italy
Interests: paralympics; breathing; disability; respiration; posture; motor control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sports performance, health, and fitness development and maintenance are interconnected aspects underpinning physical exercise.

In sports performance, practitioners should establish what the best interventions or strategies are to improve athletes (whether they are advanced or novices, adults or young, with or without disability) in the following domains:

  • Technical–tactical: Analyzing the different gestures and movements intimately correlated with sport-specific performance in individual and team sport athletes, also in the transition from youth to adult context.
  • Physical: Increasing the range of choices to refine practitioners’ decision-making ability on the use of the most suitable and appropriate interventions in order to bring improvements in biomotor qualities (e.g., muscle strength and power, speed, aerobic power and capacity, and flexibility) and body composition, and to reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Cognitive: Providing additional information on the influence of cognitive function on physical performance during competitive events with the aim of helping athletes to maximize their outcomes when immersed in a highly stimulated (open skill sports) or poorly stimulated (closed skill sports) environment.

Being healthy and fit is vital to combat the adverse effects of urbanization and stress. As a matter of fact, a regular participation in physical exercise is associated with health-related benefits, particularly preventing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and conditions affecting the cardiovascular system for all age groups. Of note, a disease could include an impairment. A disability (physical or intellectual) is an alteration in normal body structures or function. Thus, for an individual with disability, it is important to explore health-related physical exercise solutions that can increase health, fitness, and cognitive wellbeing. In this sense, investigating the dose–response to physical exercise is required to better develop health and fitness of individuals with and without disabilities. This would also assist professionals in prescribing safe and effective physical exercise programs toward a better quality of life.

Therefore, the scope of the current Special Issue is to advance knowledge on the development of performance, health, and fitness with special emphasis on novel practical implications that could be exploited within a wide range of people.

Dr. Athos Trecroci
Dr. Alessio Rossi
Dr. Luca Cavaggioni
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 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

  • sport performance
  • paralympic
  • cognitive function
  • actual motor competence
  • training and testing

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Article
Women’s Respiratory Movements during Spontaneous Breathing and Physical Fitness: A Cross-Sectional, Correlational Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12007; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912007 - 22 Sep 2022
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Abstract
Background: Abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing exercises are popular worldwide and have been proven to be beneficial for physical performance. Is abdominal motion (AM) during spontaneous breathing correlated with physical fitness? The present study aimed to answer this question. Methods: 434 women (aged 20–59) were enrolled [...] Read more.
Background: Abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing exercises are popular worldwide and have been proven to be beneficial for physical performance. Is abdominal motion (AM) during spontaneous breathing correlated with physical fitness? The present study aimed to answer this question. Methods: 434 women (aged 20–59) were enrolled and participated in respiration tests using two respiration belts (one was tied at the height of the xiphoid and another at the navel) to detect AM and thoracic motion (TM). They also performed physical fitness tests to measure body size, muscular strength, muscular power, muscular endurance, balance, flexibility, reaction time, and cardiorespiratory endurance. Results: All the correlation coefficients between respiratory movements (AM, TM, AM + TM, AM/(AM + TM)) and physical fitness outcomes were less than 0.4/−0.4. Only AM and muscular power (countermovement jump height) had a weak correlation, with a correlation coefficient close to 0.4 in the 20−29-year age group (rs = 0.398, p = 0.011, n = 40). Conclusions: Women’s respiratory movements during spontaneous breathing were not correlated with physical fitness. Future studies may focus on the relationship between AM and countermovement jump height in young women with a larger sample size and using ultrasound to directly test the excursion of the diaphragm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness)
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Article
The Influence on Post-Activation Potentiation Exerted by Different Degrees of Blood Flow Restriction and Multi-Levels of Activation Intensity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10597; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710597 - 25 Aug 2022
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Abstract
(1) Background: To explore the influence on post-activation potentiation (PAP) when combining different degrees of blood flow restriction (BFR) with multi-levels of resistance training intensity of activation. (2) Purpose: To provide competitive athletes with a more efficient and feasible warm-up program. (3) Study [...] Read more.
(1) Background: To explore the influence on post-activation potentiation (PAP) when combining different degrees of blood flow restriction (BFR) with multi-levels of resistance training intensity of activation. (2) Purpose: To provide competitive athletes with a more efficient and feasible warm-up program. (3) Study Design: The same batch of subjects performed the vertical jump test of the warm-up procedure under different conditions, one traditional and six BFR procedures. (4) Methods: Participants performed seven counter movement jump (CMJ) tests in random order, including 90% one repetition maximum (1RM) without BFR (CON), and three levels of BFR (30%, 50%, 70%) combined with (30% and 50% 1RM) (BFR-30-30, BFR-30-50, BFR-50-30, BFR-50-50, BFR-70-30 and BFR-70-50). Jump height (H), mean power output (P), peak vertical ground reaction force (vGRF), and the mean rate of force development (RFD) were recorded and measured. (5) Results: Significantly increasing results were observed in: jump height: CON (8 min), BFR-30-30 (0, 4 min), BFR-30-50 (4, 8 min), BFR-50-30 (8 min), BFR-50-50 (4, 8 min), BFR-70-30 (8 min), (p < 0.05); and power output: CON (8 min), BFR-30-30 (0, 4 min), BFR-30-50 (4 min), BFR-50-30 (8 min), BFR-50-50 (4, 8 min) (p < 0.05); vGRF: CON (8 min), BFR-30-30 (0, 4 min), BFR-30-50 (4, 8 min), BFR-50-30 (4 min), BFR-50-50 (4, 8 min) (p < 0.05); RFD: CON (8 min), BFR-30-30 (0, 4 min), BFR-30-50 (4 min), BFR-50-30 (4 min), BFR-50-50 (4 min) (p < 0.05). (5) Conclusions: low to moderate degrees of BFR procedures produced a similar PAP to traditional activation. Additionally, BFR-30-30, BFR-30-50, and BFR-50-50 were longer at PAP duration in comparison with CON. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness)
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Article
Children’s Involvement in Different Sport Types Differentiates Their Motor Competence but Not Their Executive Functions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095646 - 06 May 2022
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Sports provide a context where important aspects of children’s health, such as motor skills and cognitive functions, can be enhanced. However, it is unknown which type of sport may be better for the development of motor competence (MC) and executive functions (EFs). This [...] Read more.
Sports provide a context where important aspects of children’s health, such as motor skills and cognitive functions, can be enhanced. However, it is unknown which type of sport may be better for the development of motor competence (MC) and executive functions (EFs). This study investigated potential differences in MC and EFs in boys and girls, being involved in different types of sports (team, individual open skill, individual closed skill). A total of 115 children (49 boys), 8–12 years old (10.30 ± 1.19 years), participated in the study. Their MC was assessed with the Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 Short Form, whereas for EFs, the Attention Network Test, the digits backwards test, and the how many–what number test were utilized. Significant MC differences among participants in different types of sports were revealed, favoring those from closed-skill sports; nevertheless, their EFs were at similar levels. Furthermore, no significant gender MC and EFs differences were detected. It seems that children’s participation in specific types of sports differentiates their motor skills but not their EFs, whereas boys and girls, when provided with the same opportunities, present similar levels of MC and EFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness)
Article
Association of Anthropometrics and Body Composition with Maximal and Relative Force and Power of Kayak Stroke in Competitive Kayak Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2977; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052977 - 03 Mar 2022
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Abstract
This study determined to what degree anthropometrics and body composition are associated with force and power outputs of a single-stroke kayak test (SSKT). Body height (BH), sitting height, biacromial distance, arm span, stroke length, body mass index (BMI), percent of skeletal muscle mass [...] Read more.
This study determined to what degree anthropometrics and body composition are associated with force and power outputs of a single-stroke kayak test (SSKT). Body height (BH), sitting height, biacromial distance, arm span, stroke length, body mass index (BMI), percent of skeletal muscle mass (PSMM), skeletal muscle mass index (SMMI), percent body fat (PBF) and maximal and relative force (SSKTFmax and SSKTFrel) and power (SSKTPmax and SSKTPrel) of the SSKT were assessed in 21 male kayak competitors, including sprint specialists and long-distance specialists. Correlation analysis established the association (p < 0.05) between SSKTFmax and BM (r = 0.511), BMI (r = 0.495) and SMMI (r = 0.530). A significant correlation (p < 0.05) also occurred between SSKTPmax and BMI (r = 0.471) and SMMI (r = 0.489). Regression analysis determined a significant association of the anthropometrics–body composition model of kayakers with SSKTFmax (R2 = 0.790), SSKTFRel (R2 = 0.748), SSKTPmax (R2 = 0.676) and SSKTPrel (R2 = 0.625). A longer and wider upper body supported by higher amounts of skeletal muscle mass per square of body size provides higher force outcomes in a complex single-handed SSKT, while the PSMM provides higher outcomes in SSKTPmax. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness)
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Case Report
Changes in Upper-Body Muscular Strength and Power in Paralympic Swimmers: Effects of Training Confinement during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095382 - 28 Apr 2022
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Abstract
The aim of this case series was to evaluate the effectiveness of a dry-land home-training program conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic period in Paralympic swimmers. Previous evidence showed the importance of muscular strength and power training for Paralympic swimmers due to the positive [...] Read more.
The aim of this case series was to evaluate the effectiveness of a dry-land home-training program conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic period in Paralympic swimmers. Previous evidence showed the importance of muscular strength and power training for Paralympic swimmers due to the positive relationship between severity of impairment, swimming technique and biomechanics parameters. Specifically, we aimed to analyze: (i) the effects of a customized training regime conducted pre, during and post restrictions on upper-body muscular strength and power (one repetition maximum, mean propulsive velocity, and mean relative propulsive power) compared to a regular gym-based program; (ii) the associations between mean propulsive velocity and load during two upper body exercises in order to estimate the one repetition maximum. Four elite Paralympic swimmers were retrospectively analyzed in upper-body muscular strength, mean propulsive velocity and mean relative propulsive power in bench press and lat pull-down exercises at three time points: T0 (prior the Lockdown period), T1 (immediately after the Lockdown confinement), T2 (sixteen weeks after returning to gym training). Our findings suggest a very likely decrement in one repetition maximum, mean propulsive velocity, and mean relative propulsive power during the Lockdown period compared with the T0 period with a subsequent very likely increment in one repetition maximum after returning to gym training (T2) compared with the lockdown period (T0). Conversely, mean relative propulsive power showed an unclear improvement in all athletes in T2 compared with T1. These results were also corroborated by the Friedman’s test followed by the Dunn’s pairwise comparison that mainly showed a decrement from T0 to T1 (p < 0.05). At the same time, it appears that muscle strength and power could be rapidly restored close to the pre-lockdown levels following an adequate training program in the gym, albeit without significance (p > 0.05). Finally, the close relationship between mean propulsive velocity and load in bench press and lat pull-down exercises was also confirmed in para swimming, making a possible estimation of one repetition maximum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Sport Performance, Health, and Fitness)
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