Illness behaviour in elite middle and long distance runners. (1/1619)

OBJECTIVES: To examine the illness attitudes and beliefs known to be associated with abnormal illness behaviour (where symptoms are present in excess of objective signs and pathology) in elite middle and long distance runners, in comparison with non-athlete controls. METHODS: A total of 150 athletes were surveyed using the illness behaviour questionnaire as an instrument to explore the psychological attributes associated with abnormal illness behaviour. Subjects also completed the general health questionnaire as a measure of psychiatric morbidity. A control group of 150 subjects, matched for age, sex, and social class, were surveyed using the same instruments. RESULTS: A multivariate analysis of illness behaviour questionnaire responses showed that the athletes' group differed significantly from the control group (Hotelling's T: Exact F = 2.68; p = 0.01). In particular, athletes were more somatically focused (difference between means -0.27; 95% confidence interval -0.50 to -0.03) and more likely to deny the impact of stresses in their life (difference between means 0.78; 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 1.25). Athletes were also higher scorers on the Whiteley Index of Hypochondriasis (difference between means 0.76; 95% confidence interval 0.04 to 1.48). There were no differences in the levels of psychiatric morbidity between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: The illness attitudes and beliefs of athletes differ from those of a well matched control population. The origin of these psychological attributes is not clear but those who treat athletes need to be aware of them.  (+info)

Risk factors for injuries and other health problems sustained in a marathon. (2/1619)

OBJECTIVES: To identify risk factors for injuries and other health problems occurring during or immediately after participation in a marathon. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was undertaken of participants in the 1993 Auckland Citibank marathon. Demographic data, information on running experience, training and injuries, and information on other lifestyle factors were obtained from participants before the race using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Information on injuries and other health problems sustained during or immediately after the marathon were obtained by a self administered questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were undertaken to identify significant risk factors for health problems. RESULTS: This study, one of only a few controlled epidemiological studies that have been undertaken of running injuries, has identified a number of risk factors for injuries and other health problems sustained in a marathon. Men were at increased risk of hamstring and calf problems, whereas women were at increased risk of hip problems. Participation in a marathon for the first time, participation in other sports, illness in the two weeks before the marathon, current use of medication, and drinking alcohol once a month or more, were associated with increased self reported risks of problems. While increased training seemed to increase the risk of front thigh and hamstring problems, it may decrease the risk of knee problems. There are significant but complex relations between age and risk of injury or health problem. CONCLUSIONS: This study has identified certain high risk subjects and risk factors for injuries and other health problems sustained in a marathon. In particular, subjects who have recently been unwell or are taking medication should weigh up carefully the pros and cons of participating.  (+info)

Changes in haematological parameters and iron metabolism associated with a 1600 kilometre ultramarathon. (3/1619)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate haematological variations and iron related changes in the serum of participants in a 1600 kilometre ultramarathon run. PARTICIPANTS: Seven male and two female participants in a 1600 km foot race. METHODS: Blood samples were obtained from the participants before, after four and 11 days of running, and at the end of the event. Samples were analysed by standard methods for haemoglobin, packed cell volume, total red cell count, mean red cell volume, mean red cell haemoglobin, total white cell count and differential, platelets, reticulocytes, iron, ferritin, total iron binding capacity, percentage transferrin saturation, haptoglobin, and bilirubin and corrected for changes in plasma volume. RESULTS: The following variables decreased during the event (p < 0.05): haemoglobin, packed cell volume, mean red cell volume, percentage lymphocytes, percentage monocytes, serum iron, total iron binding capacity, and percentage transferrin saturation. Increases (p < 0.05) were found in plasma volume, total red cell count (day 4 only), total white cell count, percentage and absolute numbers of neutrophils and reticulocytes, absolute numbers of lymphocytes and monocytes (day 4 only), absolute numbers of eosinophils (day 11 and race end), absolute numbers of basophils (race end only), platelets, ferritin, haptoglobin, and bilirubin (day 4 only). CONCLUSION: Ultramarathon running is associated with a wide range of changes in haematological parameters, many of which are related to the normal acute phase response to injury. These should not be confused with indicators of disease.  (+info)

African runners exhibit greater fatigue resistance, lower lactate accumulation, and higher oxidative enzyme activity. (4/1619)

Nine African and eight Caucasian 10-km runners resident at sea level volunteered. Maximal O2 consumption and peak treadmill velocity (PTV) were measured by using a progressive test, and fatigue resistance [time to fatigue (TTF)] was measured by using a newly developed high-intensity running test: 5 min at 72, 80, and 88% of individual PTV followed by 92% PTV to exhaustion. Skeletal muscle enzyme activities were determined in 12 runners and 12 sedentary control subjects. In a comparison of African and Caucasian runners, mean 10-km race time, maximal O2 consumption, and PTV were similar. In African runners, TTF was 21% longer (P < 0.01), plasma lactate accumulation after 5 min at 88% PTV was 38% lower (P < 0.05), and citrate synthase activity was 50% higher (27.9 +/- 7.5 vs. 18.6 +/- 2.1 micromol. g wet wt-1. min-1, P = 0.02). Africans accumulated lactate at a slower rate with increasing exercise intensity (P < 0.05). Among the entire group of runners, a higher citrate synthase activity was associated with a longer TTF (r = 0.70, P < 0.05), a lower plasma lactate accumulation (r = -0.73, P = 0.01), and a lower respiratory exchange ratio (r = -0.63, P < 0.05). We conclude that the African and Caucasian runners in the present study differed with respect to oxidative enzyme activity, rate of lactate accumulation, and their ability to sustain high-intensity endurance exercise.  (+info)

Amplitude of the human soleus H reflex during walking and running. (5/1619)

1. The objective of the study was to investigate the amplitude and modulation of the human soleus Hoffmann (H) reflex during walking and during running at different speeds. 2. EMGs were recorded with surface electrodes from the soleus, the medial and lateral head of the gastrocnemius, the vastus lateralis and the anterior tibial muscles. The EMGs and the soleus H reflex were recorded while walking on a treadmill at 4.5 km h-1 and during running at 8, 12 and 15 km h-1. 3. The amplitudes of the M wave and the H reflex were normalized to the amplitude of a maximal M wave elicited by a supramaximal stimulus just after the H reflex to compensate for movements of the recording and stimulus electrodes relative to the nerve and muscle fibres. The stimulus intensity was set to produce M waves that had an amplitude near to 25 % of the maximal M wave measured during the movements. As an alternative, the method of averaging of sweeps in sixteen intervals of the gait cycle was applied to the data. In this case the amplitude of the H reflex was expressed relative to the maximal M wave measured whilst in the standing position. 4. The amplitude of the H reflex was modulated during the gait cycle at all speeds. During the stance phase the reflex was facilitated and during the swing and flight phases it was suppressed. The size of the maximal M wave varied during the gait cycle and this variation was consistent for each subject although different among subjects. 5. The peak amplitude of the H reflex increased significantly (P = 0.04) from walking at 4.5 km h-1 to running at 12 and 15 km h-1 when using the method of correcting for variations of the maximal M wave during the gait cycle. The sweep averaging method showed a small but non-significant decrease (P = 0. 3) from walking to running at 8 km h-1 and a small decrease with running speed (P = 0.3). The amplitude of the EMG increased from walking to running and with running speed. 6. The relatively large H reflex recorded during the stance phase in running indicates that the stretch reflex may influence the muscle mechanics during the stance phase by contributing to the motor output and enhancing muscle stiffness.  (+info)

Relationship of lipoprotein(a) levels to physical activity and family history of coronary heart disease. (6/1619)

OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the association of physical activity with serum lipoprotein(a) [La(a)] levels in individuals according to whether they had a family history of coronary heart disease (CHD). METHODS: Lp(a) levels in 332 healthy Spanish men aged 20 to 60 years were measured. Physical activity and family history of CHD were assessed. RESULTS: For men with a family history of CHD, the odds ratio for Lp(a) levels above the median value was 0.13 (95% confidence interval = 0.03, 0.50) in very active men (energy expended in physical activity > 300 kcal/day) compared with active men (energy expended in physical activity < 300 kcal/day). CONCLUSIONS: Regular daily physical activity in individuals with a family history of CHD could be useful for controlling Lp(a) levels.  (+info)

Sub maximal oxygen uptake related to fat free mass and lean leg volume in trained runners. (7/1619)

The sub maximal oxygen uptake (VO2) of 32 trained male middle and long distance runners aged 19.5-36.0 years was determined at five treadmill speeds. There was a significant linear relationship (p less than 0.01) between VO2 at each of the treadmill speeds and Fat-Free Mass (FFM) and Lean Leg Volume (LLV). To explain the relationship other factors are considered, the most important of which may be the mechanical configuration of muscle and mitochondrial function.  (+info)

An echocardiographic study of right and left ventricular adaptation to physical exercise in elite female orienteers. (8/1619)

BACKGROUND: A considerable body of echocardiographic studies has described how athletic training induces morphological adaptation of the left ventricle in male endurance athletes, but only a few studies have described left ventricular adaptation in female endurance athletes. In contrast to changes in the left ventricle far less attention has been directed towards right ventricular changes due to extensive physical exercise. The purpose of this study was to obtain normal values and to determine if there are any differences in right and left ventricular cavity and wall dimensions between female orienteers and females with a mainly sedentary lifestyle. METHODS: Echocardiography was performed in 42 highly trained elite female orienteers and 32 healthy female students with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. The 74 females had no history of cardiac disease, a normal electrocardiogram and showed no echocardiographic abnormalities. M-mode and two-dimensional measurements of the right and left ventricular cavity and wall were obtained in elite orienteers and sedentary females. For the right ventricle and wall, multiple cross-sections were used and measurements were obtained from the right ventricular inflow and outflow tract. RESULTS: The left ventricular end-diastolic cavity dimension and the left ventricular wall thickness were significantly greater in the athletes compared with the sedentary controls. The right ventricular inflow tract measurements were all significantly greater in the orienteers compared with the controls but the right ventricular outflow tract measurements were comparable in the study groups. The right ventricular wall thickness, calculated as the mean of three different wall measurements was an average of 13% greater in the athletes compared with the sedentary controls. CONCLUSION: This study suggests symmetrical cardiac enlargement with a concomitant increase in both the right and left ventricular wall, probably reflecting the increased haemodynamic loading in the female athletes.  (+info)