Special Issue "Health, Exercise and Sports Performance"

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Daniel Almeida Marinho Website E-Mail
1 University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
2 Research Centre in Sports, Health and Human Development, Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: health fitness and exercise; sports biomechanics; exercise physiology; resistance training; strength training; concurrent training; performance assessment; strength and conditioning; physical fitness; exercise evaluation; exercise prescription; swimming; water aerobics; warm-up procedures; recovery procedures
Guest Editor
Dr. Henrique Pereira Neiva Website E-Mail
1 University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
2 Research Centre in Sports, Health and Human Development, Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: health fitness and exercise; sports biomechanics; exercise physiology; resistance training; strength training; concurrent training; performance assessment; strength and conditioning; physical fitness; exercise evaluation; exercise prescription; swimming; water aerobics; warm-up procedures; recovery procedures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the beginning of the century, health fitness and exercise have become emerging topics in research. On a regular basis, sports-related professionals require the support of evidence-based knowledge to satisfactorily respond to an increasingly demanding population. Physical exercise is strongly linked to physiological variables, which are dependent on biomechanical profiles and motor strategies. Improvements, even considered marginal, in these features can lead to a significant final improvement. There is a need to better understand dose–response patterns to exercise challenges and to find strategies to enhance health and human performance (e.g., understand the response to different sports, design exercise programs, warm-ups, recovery techniques). There seems to exist a common ground for different exercise programs, and performance appears as the ultimate purpose for any physical activity participant. Everyone aspires to improve, meeting their final goals and consequently enhancing their performance. So, a deeper look at the dose–response effects in different populations and at how to design effective and efficient exercise programs for health and sports improvement is needed. For this Special Issue, we invite submissions that analyze physical exercise on the basis of physiological and biomechanical motor control and strength and conditioning inputs and describe and predict the human movement and its relationship to health benefits and fitness. Implications for performance enhancement may also be addressed.

Dr. Daniel Almeida Marinho
Dr. Henrique Pereira Neiva
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • fitness
  • performance
  • biomechanics
  • physiology
  • strength

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Importance of Agility Performance in Professional Futsal Players; Reliability and Applicability of Newly Developed Testing Protocols
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183246 - 04 Sep 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard to the differentiation of two performance-levels. Thirty-two professional male futsal players (age = 26.22 ± 5.22 years; body height = 182.13 ± 5.99 cm, body mass = 77.43 ± 8.00 kg) participated in the study. The sample was divided into two groups based on their level of futsal performance: A top-level-group (n = 12) and a team-level-group (n = 20). The variables included body height, mass, body mass index, a sprint over a 10-m distance (S10M), and eight newly developed futsal specific CODS and RAG tests. The CODS and RAG tests were performed by dribbling the balls (CODS_D and RAG_D) and without dribbling (CODS_T and RAG_T), and the performances on the dominant and non-dominant sides were observed separately. All CODS, and RAG tests performed on dominant side and RAG_T tests performed on the non-dominant side had good inter-testing (CV = 5–8%; ICC = 0.76–0.89) and intra-testing (CV = 4–9%; ICC = 0.77–0.91) reliability. However, RAG_D performed on the non-dominant side was not reliable (ICC = 0.60, CV = 10%). The top-level-players outperformed the team-level-players in the CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling (t-test: 4.28 and 2.40, p < 0.05; effect sizes (ES): 0.81 and 1.5, respectively), while the team-level players achieved better results in the CODS_T (t-test: 2.08, p < 0.05; ES: 0.60). The proposed CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling over a 3.2-m distance, especially on the dominant side, appeared to be reliable, as well as valid for distinguishing the performance level in futsal players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Effects of a Speed Training Program on Sprinting Step Kinematics and Performance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173138 - 28 Aug 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of speed training on sprint step kinematics and performance in male sprinters. Two groups of seven elite (best 100-m time: 10.37 ± 0.04 s) and seven sub-elite (best 100-m time: 10.71 ± 0.15 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of speed training on sprint step kinematics and performance in male sprinters. Two groups of seven elite (best 100-m time: 10.37 ± 0.04 s) and seven sub-elite (best 100-m time: 10.71 ± 0.15 s) sprinters were recruited. Sprint performance was assessed in the 20 m (flying start), 40 m (standing start), and 60 m (starting block start). Step kinematics were extracted from the first nine running steps of the 20-m sprint using the Opto-Jump–Microgate system. Explosive power was quantified by performing the CMJ, standing long jump, standing triple jump, and standing five jumps. Significant post-test improvements (p < 0.05) were observed in both groups of sprinters. Performance improved by 0.11 s (elite) and 0.06 s (sub-elite) in the 20-m flying start and by 0.06 s (elite) and 0.08 s (sub-elite) in the 60-m start block start. Strong post-test correlations were observed between 60-m block start performance and standing five jumps (SFJ) in the elite group and between 20-m flying start and 40-m standing start performance and standing long jump (SLJ) and standing triple jump (STJ) in the sub-elite group. Speed training (ST) shows potential in the reduction of step variability and as an effective short-term intervention program in the improvement of sprint performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Training/Match External Load Ratios in Professional Soccer Players: A Full-Season Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3057; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173057 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate the relationship between weekly accumulated training loads and the match demands of the same week. Twenty-seven professional soccer players (24.9 ± 3.5 years old) were monitored daily using a 10-Hz global positioning system with a 100-Hz accelerometer. Total distance (TD), running distance (RD), high-speed running (HSR), sprinting distance (SD), player load (PL), number of high accelerations (ACC), and number of high decelerations (DEC) were recorded during training sessions and matches. An individual training/match ratio (TMr) was calculated for each external load measure. Weeks with five training sessions (5dW) presented meaningfully greater TMr than weeks with four (4dW) or three (3dW) training sessions. Additionally, TDratio (TDr) was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (mean differences dif: 1.23 arbitray units A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.80 A.U.); HSRr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.68 A.U.); and SDr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.77 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.). Correlations between the weekly training loads and the match demands of the same week were small for PL (r = 0.250 [0.13;0.36]), ACC (r = 0.292 [0.17;0.40]) and DEC (r = 0.236 [0.11;0.35]). This study reveals that ratios of above 1 were observed for specific measures (e.g., HSR, SD). It was also observed that training sessions are not adjusted according to weekly variations in match demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Variations of Internal and External Load Variables between Intermittent Small-Sided Soccer Game Training Regimens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2923; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162923 - 15 Aug 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was twofold: (i) analyze the variations of internal and external load between intermittent regimens (6 × 3’ and 3 × 6’) during a small-sided game (SSG); and (ii) analyze the variations of internal and external load within-intermittent regimens [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was twofold: (i) analyze the variations of internal and external load between intermittent regimens (6 × 3’ and 3 × 6’) during a small-sided game (SSG); and (ii) analyze the variations of internal and external load within-intermittent regimens (between sets). Ten male amateur soccer players (age: 21.7 ± 2.1 years) participated in this study. Almost certain large decreases in total distance (−8.6%, [−12.3; −4.8], Effect Size (ES): −1.51, [−2.20; −0.82]) and running distance (−34.0%, [47.0; −17.8], ES: −2.23, [−3.40; −1.05]) were observed when comparing the 3 × 6’ and 6 × 3’. Very likely moderate and large decreases in total accelerations (−24.0%, [−35.1; −10.9]; ES: −1.11, [−1.75; −0.47]) and total of decelerations (−26.7%, [−38.8; −12.1]; ES:−1.49, [−2.36; −0.62]), respectively, were found when comparing the 3 × 6’ and 6 × 3’. Very likely increases in rated of perceived exertion in the set 3 in comparison to the 1st during the 3 × 6’ SSG (34.5%, [12.4; 61.0], ES: 1.35, [0.53; 2.16]) and the 6 × 3’ (29.9%, [11.6; 51.2]; ES: 1.17, [0.49; 1.85]). Longer sets increase the perception of effort and contribute to a large decrease in total and running distances, and total of accelerations and decelerations. Meaningful decreases in time-motion demands occur between sets 2 and 3 while perceived effort increases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Body Image Concern and Eating Disorder Symptoms Among Elite Icelandic Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2728; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152728 - 31 Jul 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyse body image concerns and symptoms of eating disorders in elite Icelandic athletes according to their sex, and sport practiced. The participants were 755 athletes (24.8 ± 3.5 years in age) who compete at the highest [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyse body image concerns and symptoms of eating disorders in elite Icelandic athletes according to their sex, and sport practiced. The participants were 755 athletes (24.8 ± 3.5 years in age) who compete at the highest possible level in Iceland. Representing 20 different sports, they were divided into five sports groups. Three questionnaires were used: the Body Shape Questionnaire to assess body image concerns; the Bulimia Test-Revised to assess the main symptoms of bulimia; and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire to identify disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. A chi-squared test was used to analyse differences in prevalence of body image concern and eating disorders, a t-test for the differences between men and women, and a one-way ANOVA to compare the different sports. The main findings were that 17.9% of the athletes presented severe or moderate body image dissatisfaction, and 18.2% (25.3% of the women) were above the clinical cutoff for body image concern. Women’s scores were higher than men’s (whole sample and ball games) in all variables except restraint. These results seem to point to the existence of a real problem that athlete, coaches, doctors, and institutions need to take into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Age- and Maturity-Related Variations in Morphology, Body Composition, and Motor Fitness among Young Female Tennis Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132412 - 07 Jul 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age and maturity on anthropometric and various fitness characteristics in young competitive female tennis players. Sixty-one players, aged 10.4–13.2 years (11.8 ± 0.8) were measured for standing and sitting heights, body mass, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age and maturity on anthropometric and various fitness characteristics in young competitive female tennis players. Sixty-one players, aged 10.4–13.2 years (11.8 ± 0.8) were measured for standing and sitting heights, body mass, skinfolds, grip strength, and agility, and dichotomized into two age (U12 and U14) and maturity (earliest and latest) groups according to their chronological age and maturity status. The results revealed significant age effects for stature, sitting height, leg length, and hand grip in favor of the older players. Girls contrasting in maturation differed significantly for all anthropometric and physical performance variables except for body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BF%), and hexagon agility test. The earliest maturing group showed significantly higher values for anthropometric measures and better results in the hand grip test than the latest maturing group. After controlling for chronological age, differences were revealed between contrasting maturity groups in stature, sitting height, BF%, and the hand grip test. The findings highlight the age- and maturity-related trends in body size and muscular strength among young female tennis players in the pubertal period. Nevertheless, the differences in the body composition and agility of the contrasting age and maturity groups were negligible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Anthropometric Profile of Soccer Players as a Determinant of Position Specificity and Methodological Issues of Body Composition Estimation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132386 - 05 Jul 2019
Abstract
The aim of the present study was (a) to describe the anthropometric profile of a large group of soccer players based on different age groups and their playing positions on the field, and (b) to examine the variations of body composition among adult [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was (a) to describe the anthropometric profile of a large group of soccer players based on different age groups and their playing positions on the field, and (b) to examine the variations of body composition among adult soccer players using diverse equations based on skinfold thickness. A total of 618 Greek soccer players who were grouped by age (i.e., 12–14, 14–16, 16–18, and 18–37 years) and playing position (i.e., goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and forward) were evaluated for weight, height, and skinfolds. The Pařízková formula was used to estimate the percentage of body fat. Furthermore, for players who were 18 years or older the Reilly and Evans formulas was used to estimate the percentage of body fat. Independent of the age, in this large sample, goalkeepers presented higher values for weight, height and the percentage of body fat estimation as compared with other field positions. An anthropometric pattern was observed in each tactical position, namely, across a specific age of increasing maturation process (14–16 years). With the Pařízková formula, we found a mean (SD) range of variation in the percentage of body fat estimation between 4.87 ± 1.46 and 5.51 ± 1.46 as compared with the Evans formula. The same pattern of differences was found when the Reilly equation was considered. In conclusion, we observed a position specificity of anthropometric characteristics across different age categories. Additionally, the same data supported different validated equations which resulted in large differences in the final outcome estimations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Flèche versus Lunge as the Optimal Footwork Technique in Fencing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132315 - 30 Jun 2019
Abstract
The objective of the study reported in this paper involved identifying the fencing attack (flèche versus lunge) that provides greater effectiveness in a real competition. Two hypotheses are presented in the study. The first hypothesis involves the greater effectiveness of the flèche with [...] Read more.
The objective of the study reported in this paper involved identifying the fencing attack (flèche versus lunge) that provides greater effectiveness in a real competition. Two hypotheses are presented in the study. The first hypothesis involves the greater effectiveness of the flèche with regard to bioelectric muscular tension, and the second hypothesis involves the reduction of movement time of the flèche. Therefore, analyses were conducted by the application of EMG (electromyography) signal, ground reaction forces, and parameters representing sensorimotor responses (RT—reaction time and MT—movement time). This study included six world-leading female épée fencers (mean age: 24.6 ± 6.2 years). Throughout the procedure, the subjects performed flèche and lunge touches at the command of the coach based on visual stimuli. The experimental results indicated the greater effectiveness of the flèche compared with the lunge with regard to increases in EMG values (p = 0.027) in the lateral and medial gastrocnemius muscles and decreases in the duration of the movement phase (p = 0.049) and vertical force of the rear leg (p = 0.028). In conclusion, higher levels of EMG and ground reaction forces were generated during the flèche compared with the lunge, which promotes an improvement in the explosive force and contributes to a reduction in the movement phase of the entire offensive action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
What Frequency of Technical Activity Is Needed to Improve Results? New Approach to Analysis of Match Status in Professional Soccer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122233 - 25 Jun 2019
Abstract
The aim of the research detailed here has been to assess the frequency with which football players engage in technical activity of various different types, in relation to seven phases of a game associated with changes in match status. To this end, 2016–2017 [...] Read more.
The aim of the research detailed here has been to assess the frequency with which football players engage in technical activity of various different types, in relation to seven phases of a game associated with changes in match status. To this end, 2016–2017 domestic-season matches in Germany’s Bundesliga were analyzed, the relevant data being retrieved using an Opta Sportsdata Company system. Technical activity taken into consideration included shots, passes, ball possession, dribbles, and tackles. It was found that there was a large impact of frequency of shots on target (H = 466.999(6); p = 0.001) in relation to the different match-status phases. Furthermore, moderate effect sizes were then obtained for frequency of shots (H = 187.073(6); p = 0.001), frequency of passes (H = 133.547(6); p = 0.001), and percentage of ball possession (H = 123.401(6); p = 0.001). The implication would be that a team trying to change the match score of a game experienced at a given moment in a more favorable direction will need to raise the frequency and accuracy of passes, the percentage of ball possession, and the percentage of tackles ending in success. The maintenance of a winning match status requires a high frequency of occurrence of shots and shots on target as well as greater frequency and effectiveness of dribbling. The main finding from our work is that consideration of the consequences of a game presented in relation to seven potential phases to match status can point to a novel approach to analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Players’ Physical Performance Decreased After Two-Thirds of the Season: Results of 3 Consecutive Seasons in the German First Bundesliga
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16112044 - 10 Jun 2019
Abstract
The study aimed to: (1) investigate physical and technical performance among players during six consecutive phases of a competitive season, (2) determine if levels of match running and technical performance between the 1st and 6th phases of a season can be maintained, (3) [...] Read more.
The study aimed to: (1) investigate physical and technical performance among players during six consecutive phases of a competitive season, (2) determine if levels of match running and technical performance between the 1st and 6th phases of a season can be maintained, (3) and determine which phase features the lowest and highest values for variables assessed. Seventy out of 556 outfield players who played at least 80% of the matches in each phase of the Bundesliga seasons were analysed. Each season was divided into 6 phases: phase 1 (matches 1–6), phase 2 (7–11), phase 3 (12–17), phase 4 (18–23), phase 5 (24–28) and phase 6 (29–34). Thirteen variables were selected to quantify the physical and technical activity of players. Our results showed that by reducing the distances covered at intensities below 11 km·h−1, players were able to cover greater distances at intensities in the range of 11–13.99 and 21–23.99 km·h−1 in subsequent phases of a season. Players’ capacity to maintain match running and technical performance between the first and sixth phases of the season has been demonstrated, though the 4th phase of the season showed a breakthrough point as regards the maintenance of exercise capacity among players participating in the Bundesliga. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Psychomotor Abilities of Professional Handball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111909 - 30 May 2019
Abstract
The main purpose of the paper was to evaluate selected psychomotor abilities of handball players depending on the competition class (league), position on the court, training seniority and the dominant hand. The study covered a group of 40 handball players (age: 24.02 ± [...] Read more.
The main purpose of the paper was to evaluate selected psychomotor abilities of handball players depending on the competition class (league), position on the court, training seniority and the dominant hand. The study covered a group of 40 handball players (age: 24.02 ± 3.99), while 50 non-training men (age: 22.90 ± 1.13) formed the control group. Studies were performed using Test2Drive computer tests. The following four tests were used for measuring psychomotor fitness: simple reaction time test, choice reaction time test, hand-eye coordination test and spatial anticipation test. An analysis revealed that handball players had better reaction times and movement times than the control group. The league, position on the court, training seniority and the dominant upper limb were analysed for their impact on the reaction time and movement time in handball players. An analysis of psychomotor abilities of handball players with regard to the league revealed that in the majority of tests the Superliga players had a shorter reaction time than players in lower leagues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Ballistic Exercise as Pre-Activation for 100 m Sprints
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101850 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
The benefits of warm-up in sports performance has received a special interest in the current literature. However, there is a large gap of knowledge about the tasks to be performed, specifically in the real competitive environment. The purpose of the study was to [...] Read more.
The benefits of warm-up in sports performance has received a special interest in the current literature. However, there is a large gap of knowledge about the tasks to be performed, specifically in the real competitive environment. The purpose of the study was to verify the acute effects of a warm-up including ballistic exercises in 100 m running performance. In addition, a second 100 m trial was assessed to better understand the warm-up effects in training and competition. Eleven men (25.4 ± 6.2 years of age, 1.76 ± 0.08 m of height, 78.2 ± 8.6 kg of body mass) were submitted to three different protocols, in a randomized order: no warm-up (NWU), typical warm-up (WU) and WU complemented with ballistic exercises (PAP). Biomechanical, physiological and psychophysiological variables were assessed. Differences were found between the three conditions assessed in the first 100 m sprint with 7.4% and 7.6% faster performances after the WU and PAP, compared to NWU. Stride length was higher in the second part of the 100 m after PAP compared with WU. These results highlight the positive effects of warm-up for sprinting performance. The inclusion of ballistic exercises, besides being used to improve sprint performance, can increase stride length in the final of the 100 m race. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Predictor Variables for Women and Men in Ultra-Marathon Running—The Wellington Urban Ultramarathon 2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101844 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
Ultra-marathon races are increasing in popularity. Women are now 20% of all finishers, and this number is growing. Predictors of performance have been examined rarely for women in ultra-marathon running. This study aimed to examine the predictors of performance for women and men [...] Read more.
Ultra-marathon races are increasing in popularity. Women are now 20% of all finishers, and this number is growing. Predictors of performance have been examined rarely for women in ultra-marathon running. This study aimed to examine the predictors of performance for women and men in the 62 km Wellington Urban Ultramarathon 2018 (WUU2K) and create an equation to predict ultra-marathon race time. For women, volume of running during training per week (km) and personal best time (PBT) in 5 km, 10 km, and half-marathon (min) were all associated with race time. For men, age, body mass index (BMI), years running, running speed during training (min/km), marathon PBT, and 5 km PBT (min) were all associated with race time. For men, ultra-marathon race time might be predicted by the following equation: (r² = 0.44, adjusted r² = 0.35, SE = 78.15, degrees of freedom (df) = 18) ultra-marathon race time (min) = −30.85 ± 0.2352 × marathon PBT + 25.37 × 5 km PBT + 17.20 × running speed of training (min/km). For women, ultra-marathon race time might be predicted by the following equation: (r² = 0.83, adjusted r2 = 0.75, SE = 42.53, df = 6) ultra-marathon race time (min) = −148.83 + 3.824 × (half-marathon PBT) + 9.76 × (10 km PBT) − 6.899 × (5 km PBT). This study should help women in their preparation for performance in ultra-marathon and adds to the bulk of knowledge for ultra-marathon preparation available to men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Locus of Control, Agents of Socialization and Sport Socialization Situations on the Sports Participation of Women in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101841 - 23 May 2019
Abstract
Compared to men, the sports participation of women is lower, especially in the East. Not many studies have compared the impacts of locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situations on the sports participation of women. Hence, the purpose of this [...] Read more.
Compared to men, the sports participation of women is lower, especially in the East. Not many studies have compared the impacts of locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situations on the sports participation of women. Hence, the purpose of this study is to explore the contributing factors which may promote the sports participation of women in Taiwan. To do this, 450 structured questionnaires were distributed to women in Chiayi, Taiwan, with an 89.3% return rate. The study found that internal locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situation had positive impacts on the sports participation of women. In line with these results, the study suggests the strengthening of the internal locus of control of women, making the best use of socialization agents, and improvement of sport socialization situations, in order to promote sports participation in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
What Motivates Participants to Adhere to Green Exercise?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101832 - 23 May 2019
Abstract
There is a lack of research into green exercise which investigates and compares motivational drivers between the different types of outdoor activities. The current paper addressed this gap by classifying and comparing three types of green exercise: (i) Recreational physical activity, (ii) competitive [...] Read more.
There is a lack of research into green exercise which investigates and compares motivational drivers between the different types of outdoor activities. The current paper addressed this gap by classifying and comparing three types of green exercise: (i) Recreational physical activity, (ii) competitive sport, and (iii) outdoor adventure sport. Using a mixed methodological approach, the present study investigated the motivations for adhering to green exercise and directly compared the differences between these three forms of green exercise. Online questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were used to collect data. The results demonstrated that within all types of green exercise, enjoyment was the greatest motivator. Based on analysis of the qualitative materials, extrinsic motivators such as the environment, family, and friends were highlighted as key factors in beginning and continuing their activity. However, intrinsic motivators were also emphasised as more important in adherence to green exercise. Furthermore, as seen in other research, numerous psychological benefits were reported over time. The results of the study may act as a starting point in understanding how we may increase public engagement in green exercise by prompting participants to select a form of green exercise that best suits them based on their motivational profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance and Pacing of Age Groups in Half-Marathon and Marathon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101777 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to examine the age-related differences in performance and pacing in a half-marathon compared to a marathon. All finishers (n = 9137) in the Ljubljana 2017 half-marathon (n = 7258) and marathon (n = [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to examine the age-related differences in performance and pacing in a half-marathon compared to a marathon. All finishers (n = 9137) in the Ljubljana 2017 half-marathon (n = 7258) and marathon (n = 1853) with available data on split times during the races, were analysed for pacing. Half-marathoners were slower than marathoners among women, (2.77 ± 0.35 versus 2.86 ± 0.39 m·s−1 respectively, p < 0.001), but faster among men (3.14 ± 0.45 versus 3.08 ± 0.46 m·s−1 respectively, p < 0.001). In both race distances, the <25 age group was the fastest and the >54 age group the slowest (p < 0.001). All age groups presented a positive pacing in both race distances and genders, with each segment being slower than the previous one. However, an end spurt was observed in the marathon, but not in the half-marathon. A more even pace in the half-marathon than in the marathon was shown for most age groups. In summary, age-group finishers in the half-marathon decreased running speed across the race, presented a more even pacing than marathoners, and did not show an end spurt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Static Postural Balance in Modern Pentathletes: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101760 - 18 May 2019
Abstract
Postural balance is a key element of shooting effectiveness, which determines the outcome of modern pentathlon competitions. The aim of the study is to examine the postural balance of 27 pentathletes (12 females and 15 males; mean age: 18.0 ± 1.8 years), and [...] Read more.
Postural balance is a key element of shooting effectiveness, which determines the outcome of modern pentathlon competitions. The aim of the study is to examine the postural balance of 27 pentathletes (12 females and 15 males; mean age: 18.0 ± 1.8 years), and 26 physically active, untrained subjects (12 females and 14 males; mean age: 22.5 ± 1.4 years), and to investigate the impact of footwear on the stability of the shooting position in pentathletes. Methods: Static postural balance was examined during quiet stance in four test conditions (standing in footwear with eyes opened, standing in footwear with eyes closed, standing barefoot with eyes opened, and standing barefoot with eyes closed). During each postural balance measurement, the participant remained still on the platform, with their arms in front of their body. Postural balance in the shooting position was only evaluated in the group of pentathletes. The athlete was asked to assume a comfortable shooting position on the platform and to aim at the target. Standard pentathlon targets and pistols were used in the study. Measurements were carried out twice (barefoot and in footwear). Results: In all conditions, pentathletes achieved lower values of posturographic measures than in the control group. In non-visual conditions, measures describing the surface area of the centre of pressure decreased in pentathletes and increased in the control group. Both pentathletes and non-athletes were equally stable barefoot as in footwear. Footwear did not affect postural sway in the shooting position in pentathletes. Conclusions: Pentathletes were found to have significantly better stance stability and were less vision-dependent in postural balance than untrained subjects. Bearing in mind that the shooting position of pentathletes was as stable barefoot as in footwear, the main factors which were most likely responsible for minimising body oscillations in the pentathletes were their high level of concentration and conscious control of body alignment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Jumping and Throwing Performances in Age-Group Athletes Competing in the European Masters Athletics Championships between 1978 and 2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071200 - 03 Apr 2019
Abstract
The results of master athletes have been used previously to examine the age-related differences in aerobic capacity, however, less research has been conducted on the variation of jumping and throwing performances with aging. Therefore, the aim of the present study of elite master [...] Read more.
The results of master athletes have been used previously to examine the age-related differences in aerobic capacity, however, less research has been conducted on the variation of jumping and throwing performances with aging. Therefore, the aim of the present study of elite master athletes was to investigate (a) the age-related differences in throwing (i.e., discus, hammer, javelin, and shot put) and jumping events (i.e., high jump, long jump, pole vault, and triple jump) in 5-year age-group intervals from 35–39 to 95–99 years of elite master athletes, and (b) the trends in performance and sex differences. The top eight female and male finalists for each age group and in each event from 20 European Masters Athletics Championships held between 1978 and 2017 were considered. Overall, 13,673 observations from 4726 master athletes were analyzed. For each event separately, a mixed regression model was performed with sex, age group, calendar year, and interaction terms (sex-age group, sex-year) defined as fixed effects. Performances were improving over time with a linear trend overall for each event. Men had better performances as compared to women, (i.e., in triple jump the estimated difference was 2.58 m, p < 0.001). Performances declined with age for each event (i.e., in triple jump, compared with the age group 45–49 years, performance in the age group 35–39 years was 0.98 m better and performance in the age group 85–89 years was 6.24 m worse). The decline of male performances with age was either slower or faster than the decline of female performances depending on age groups and events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Celebrating 40 Years of Ironman: How the Champions Perform
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061019 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
We aimed to determine which discipline had the greater performance improvements in the history of Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and also which discipline had the greater influence in overall race time. Data from 1983 to 2018 of the top three women and men [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine which discipline had the greater performance improvements in the history of Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and also which discipline had the greater influence in overall race time. Data from 1983 to 2018 of the top three women and men of each year who competed in the Ironman World Championship were included. In addition to exploratory data analyses, linear regressions between split times and years of achievement were performed. Further, a stepwise multiple linear regression was applied using total race time as the dependent variable and split times as the independent variables. Both women and men significantly improved their performances from 1983 to 2018 in the Ironman World Championship. Swimming had the largest difference in improvements between men and women (3.0% versus 12.1%, respectively). A negative and significant decrease in each discipline was identified for both women and men, with cycling being the discipline with the greatest reduction. The results from the stepwise multiple regression indicated that cycling was the discipline with the highest influence on overall race time for both sexes. Based on the findings of this study, cycling seems to be the Ironman triathlon discipline that most improved overall race times and is also the discipline with the greatest influence on the overall race time of elite men and women in the Ironman World Championship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Selected Healthy Behaviors and Quality of Life in People Who Practice Combat Sports and Martial Arts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050875 - 10 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: The quality of life of a society is conditioned by many factors, and depends, among other things, on preferred behavior patterns. Combat sports (CS) and martial arts (MA) have a special educational potential in the area of shaping positive behavior patterns [...] Read more.
Background: The quality of life of a society is conditioned by many factors, and depends, among other things, on preferred behavior patterns. Combat sports (CS) and martial arts (MA) have a special educational potential in the area of shaping positive behavior patterns and transmitting moral values which could help reduce aggression in society. The aim of the work was to determine the relationship between health behaviors and the quality of life of people who practice combat sports and martial arts (CS and MA) recreationally, in addition to practicing other sports, and as competitors at the master level. Methods: The research embraced 543 people who practice combat sports and martial arts. Three groups were selected: recreational (n = 362), people who reconciled practicing various sports (n = 115), and competitors who practiced combat sports or martial arts at the master level (n = 66). The average age of the respondents was 24.49 ± 7.82. The standardized WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire and another questionnaire for a lifestyle survey were applied. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare several independent samples. In the case of determining statistical significance of differences the Mann-Whitney test was employed, and for the qualitative data analyses the trait frequency and the independence chi-square test were used. The effect size was calculated for each test ( E R 2 , rg, Cramér’s V). The value of p ≤ 0.05 was assumed to be statistically significant. Results: The highest quality of life (in the physical, psychological and environmental domains) was characteristic of the competitors, who practiced only combat sports and martial arts. They also displayed the most health-oriented behaviors. The surprising results were: lower quality of life in the assessment of nondrinkers and nonsmokers, and higher among people who were overweight. Conclusions: We have found positive correlations between practicing CS and MA, health behaviours and higher scores in quality of life self-evaluation, particularly where practitioners are exclusively focused on CS and MA and practice these at a competitive level. Our findings thus support the growing evidence that competitive level CS and MA are an effective means of improving people’s quality of life. Future research needs to clarify whether CS and MA can also be recommended to recreational and non-competitive practitioners as a means to improve their subjective quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)

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Open AccessReview
The Effect of Plyometric Training in Volleyball Players: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2960; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162960 - 17 Aug 2019
Abstract
Volleyball is considered a very explosive and fast-paced sport in which plyometric training is widely used. Our purpose was to review the effects of plyometric training on volleyball players’ performance. A systematic search was conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic [...] Read more.
Volleyball is considered a very explosive and fast-paced sport in which plyometric training is widely used. Our purpose was to review the effects of plyometric training on volleyball players’ performance. A systematic search was conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines using PubMed, SciELO, SPORTDiscus, Medline, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL and Web Science for articles published no later than December 2018. Any criteria were imposed for the included sample. The search focus was on interventional studies in which athletes underwent a plyometric program. To the 1831 articles found, another five were added, identified through other sources. Duplicated files were removed, titles and abstracts were screened, which left 21 remaining studies for extensive analysis. Results showed that the vertical jump (15 studies) was the major ability studied in plyometric training interventions, followed by strength (four studies), horizontal jump (four studies), flexibility (four studies) and agility/speed (three studies). In addition, it was observed that young (under 18 years old) female athletes were the most studied. The included studies indicated that plyometric training seems to increase vertical jump performance, strength, horizontal jump performance, flexibility and agility/speed in volleyball players. However, more studies are needed to better understand the benefits of plyometric training in volleyball players’ performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Self-Selected Pacing during a 24 h Track Cycling World Record
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162943 - 16 Aug 2019
Abstract
The present case study analyzed the pacing in a self-paced world record attempt during a 24 h track cycling event by the current world record holder. The cyclist completed 3767 laps on a 250 m long cycling track and covered a total distance [...] Read more.
The present case study analyzed the pacing in a self-paced world record attempt during a 24 h track cycling event by the current world record holder. The cyclist completed 3767 laps on a 250 m long cycling track and covered a total distance of 941.873 km, breaking the existing world record by 37.99 km. The average cycling speed was 39.2 ± 1.9 km/h (range 35.5–42.8 km/h) and the power output measured was 214.5 ± 23.7 W (range 190.0–266.0 W) during the 24 h of cycling. We found a positive pacing result with negative correlations between cycling speed (r = −0.73, p < 0.001), power output (r = −0.66, p < 0.001), and laps per hour (r = −0.73, p < 0.001) and the covered distance. During the 24 h, we could identify four different phases: the first phase lasting from the start till the fourth hour with a relatively stable speed; the second phase from the fourth till the ninth hour, characterized by the largest decrease in cycling speed; the third phase from the ninth hour till the 22nd hour, showing relatively small changes in cycling speed; and the last phase from the 22nd hour till the end, presenting a final end spurt. The performance in the 24 h track cycling was 45.577 km better than in the 24 h road cycling, where the same athlete cycled slower but with higher power output. In summary, the current world-best ultracyclist covered more kilometers with less power output during the world record 24 h track cycling than during his world record 24 h road cycling. This was most probably due to the more favorable environmental conditions in the velodrome, which has no wind and stable temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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